Prominent artist Jenny Pickens — portraitist, dollmaker, and high-profile local muralist — favors acrylics when she paints. Bold statements in rich hues are a theme she carries from project to project, and this energy has a way of making even nostalgia feel thoroughly of the moment. “As a young girl,” recalls the Asheville native, “I remember my grandmother always had a Black History calendar.” The calendars were sold by local Black businesses such as funeral homes, and each month featured a portrait of a Black leader; the image was accompanied by a biographical description. “I don’t see the calendars anymore, but was always fascinated by the art created by Black artists,” says Pickens. So she came up with her own themed calendar, “Everything Black,” that includes 12 framable prints of her paintings. The project is a year-round way “to honor those who contributed their art to educate us. At that time, our schools didn’t teach Black history.”
Jenny Pickens, Asheville. The artist will vend at The Big Crafty on Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5, 12-6pm, at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville (87 Haywood St.). For more info, see thebigcrafty.com. To buy a 2022 “Everything Black” calendar from Pickens directly, e-mail email@example.com.