Hanging in The Russian Museum is an inspiring painting that Georgia Perimeter College student Cedric Brown said mirrors his life, hopes and accomplishments.
In November, Brown’s painting, “As The Twig Bends, So The Tree Inclines,” became a permanent display in the museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. A print of the work is also displayed at the United States Consul General in St. Petersburg.
“The work’s title describes my life and how I am pursuing art as a career,” Brown said. “In the painting, I put a twig from a tree in a neighborhood where I have a lot of childhood memories. I used different colors to represent brush strokes on the tree and twig. As the tree inclines, one can see red, blue, yellow, green, and purple all over the branches of the tree. Each color represents me continuing to seek opportunities, increase artistic skills, develop my confidence, grow spiritually and gain wisdom and knowledge.”
After graduating from high school, Brown originally planned to attend Savannah College of Art and Design but found the tuition too costly. Instead, he chose Georgia Perimeter to continue his art education. Brown said he found that GPC offered more toward his artistic growth than he had anticipated.
“At Georgia Perimeter I’ve learned new techniques in drawing and painting, such as cross-hatching,” Brown said. “I was introduced to different mediums, such as oils. I also learned how to better accept criticism on my artwork from the numerous critiques. Most of all, I learned how to represent my artwork better and explain it better as well. I understand what type of art sells, and what makes a composition strong.”
Lorraine Brennan, foundation instructor for fine arts at GPC, said Brown’s drive is a key to his success.
“He’s really very open to learning and growing,” Brennan said. “He is a very serious and self-motivated student. He absorbs instruction but is very independent. He’s has been a wonderful student.”
Brown’s talent was brought to the attention of The Russian Museum when C. Linden Longino, international program director at the Youth Art Connection in Atlanta, showed the work to the director of the Youth Art Center of the Russian Museum. Longino said the director liked the painting and wanted to add it to the museum’s permanent collection.
International recognition was not the only good news Brown got in 2010. In September, Brown traveled to Washington D.C where he was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus’ Visual Arts Scholarship. In Washington, Brown shared the stage with other great artists including Alice Walker and Robert Townsend. The scholarship gives Brown $3,000 to use toward his continued art education.
Along with his GPC instructors, Brown credits his mentors with aiding his growth.
“I have five mentors, who share wisdom and knowledge through personal stories and sharing literature,” Brown said. “They helped me make my community college decision. Two of my mentors are famous African-American artists. The Olympic artist Steve Allen gives me great tips on business, confidence in my work and fundamental techniques of drawing and painting.”
Another mentor, Gilbert Young, “preaches against complacency, saying always try to create something better and be competitive in my field,” Brown said.
Brown also helps others. He volunteers with Mentoring Atlanta which helps middle school students stay on course.
“I try to give them good advice and help them think about their future careers,” Brown said. “With all I have learned over the years, the twig has bent, and I, the tree, will continue to incline. I was destined to be an international artist, and I will continue to grow in my artwork and gain accolades.”