Linda Rowe Thomas is an award winning fashion designer, author, philanthropist, and motivational speaker who uses her own adversities to inspire others. After suffering from severe burns sustained in a house fire as a child, Linda has made it her mission to empower others to love themselves unconditionally. She founded her couture fashion brand Romás by Linda Rowe Thomas and later founded the Designing Hope Foundation, a 501c3 organization benefiting burn survivors and those with disabilities.
In addition to showing at over 10 Fashion Weeks around the world, Linda is the first and only burn survivor to showcase on the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Platform. Celebrity Clientele includes: Erica Ash, actress from the hit STARZ series, Survivor’s Remorse as well as other notable actresses, singers, and professional athletes.
Oluwatobi Adewumi is a Contemporary Artist who focuses on the sociocultural aspect of the subject through his multimedia drawings. He was born in Ibadan, Capital city of Oyo State, Nigeria where he also earned a degree in computer science. His love of art and self-training began in childhood with comics and paper crafts. He works in a variety of traditional art media and contemporary mixed media. Adewumi’s art explores his personal journey of having been born in Nigeria then assimilating into American culture in conservative Arkansas. He has participated in numerous exhibitions and competitions including Drawing Exhibition: Dialogue with the Faces, Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, AR, where he emerged the Grand Prize winner, 33 Chelsea Fine Art Competition/Exhibition, Agora Gallery, NY and many others.
Kentrell Curry was born in Memphis, TN in 1990. While his first love may be considered music, he has always had an eye and curiosity for design. Kentrell spent his youth playing saxophone but was constantly questioning why something was designed the way it was. Why were these colors used? Why was this line added? Why was this more square than circular? Through this questioning, he became interested in doing design and taught himself to use the Adobe design tool, Photoshop, at the age of thirteen as a way to explore that. Photography would soon become another interest as he started to travel playing saxophone with Jr. High and High School bands. He developed an eye for photographs and also a love for design in new ways as he explores the medium.
Kentrell attended the University of Arkansas where he began as a student in architecture, but would finish in art history. Curry has been featured on the SFMOMA blog for his photography as well as highlighted on the Visual Supply Company’s (VSCO) website for his photography.
For close to three decades Carl Karni-Bain has been exhibiting across the United States especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Carolina and New York. His work has been commissioned by authors, playwrights and corporations and featured on the hit CBS series Limitless, and the new hit series STAR, on FOX. As part of the Spence Gallery roster for the last five years, the mixed media artist has gained an international audience through features at over 25 international art fairs. In 2013 Thelma Golden, director of The Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC selected him as one of the top ten artists in Harlem. In the same year he was selected as one of the top 50 artists working and living in Manhattan. Karni-Bain attended City College of San Francisco and California College of Arts and Crafts. Public collections include University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Roanoke, VA. Karni-Bain’s work can be found in a multitude of private collections all over the world.
Sharon Killian lives on the edge of a hill on the White River just east of Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the skyscape and landscape views fuel her work. She was born in Jamaica, immigrated to Harlem, NY where she grew up, lived in DC and Northern Virginia before moving to Fayetteville with her husband in 2005. Killian earned degrees in art history and in painting from the University of Rochester where she originally enrolled as a pre-med student, knowing inside she was destined for art. She has taught Art Education at U Arkansas, Fayetteville and studio art in Washington, DC. Killian is president of Northwest Arkansas African American Heritage Association, a 501c3 cultural organization, and Art Ventures Gallery, also a 501c3 cultural and educational organization, and is a cattle farmer. Killian’s work can be found in private and corporate collections including Tyson Foods, the University of Arkansas, and Northwest Arkansas Community College.
Cory Perry has been a resident of Fayetteville his entire life. He studies video, sculpture, and painting at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His inspiration comes from the memories of struggles we all go through, individually and/or collectively. Whether it pertains to culture, the individual, family, health, or relationships of any sort, he finds a conceptual base through them. He also finds a conceptual base through the dilemma of remembering and the chaotic event of forgetting. In Spring 2019 Cory is studying sculpture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Africa.
Joëlle Storet was born in Brussels, Belgium and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Storet is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a background in Cultural Anthropology, Semiotics, Linguistics and Art History. She has had exhibitions in Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas, USA, Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany.
Storet says, “Personal rebirths occur for many reasons for all people.” In the case of the work of this artist, the most recent renaissance is the most personal. She dives deeply into a part of herself that she used to feel a little shy exposing. Storet’s work can be found in many private collections, the commercial products of several companies, as public art, on the walls of local businesses, and on exhibition in various galleries throughout Arkansas.
Mireille is from Cameroon in Central Africa where she was a journalist and TV weather anchor with the national television, CRTV. She immigrated to Arkansas with her husband and decided to develop the visual artistic side she knew existed since she was a girl. Mireille is inspired by her mother who manufactures jewelry and Cameroonian women in particular as well as African cultures in general. She says she drew on her roots, her culture to carry her through her transition to living in the US, “I thought very strongly about those women in my country who, without having real financial means, manage to feed whole families with the fruit of their hands and the smiles would continuously spread love and happiness around them. Yes, they’re true role models to me and eventually the reason I slowly but surely started to create.”
Eric is originally from the small underrepresented town of Helena, AR. Growing up, he didn’t have the glamorous lifestyles that one would hope for. Being raised in a harsh environment motivated him to escape what surrounded him and discover the true potentials of life. Seeing his late mother (Gloria) consistently working and sacrificing, but yet still barely making it through, inspired him to venture off into his journey as a young entrepreneur immediately upon graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in December of 2016. Eric’s mother also passed weeks before he would graduate from college; she was his number one source of support and inspiration. Everything that LFLS accomplishes, he dedicates it all to her because without her, there would definitely not be a LFLS Shoes today.