My name is Raven Burnes Kushner. My art reflects my love for the classical and the semi-surreal. I have a heart for racial harmony and positive depictions of African-American beauty. I primarily use oil paint on canvas, figurative subject matter, and earth colors. This reveals my respect for the Timeless. However, my depictions of racial harmony, underrepresented beauty, and abstracted backgrounds demonstrate my commitment to a dream world – a world of love, beauty, and equality. A world in which anything is possible.
Growing up, I was an unusual, philosophical child. Unlike most little kids, I loved going to religious services. I enjoyed listening to adults talk about life and philosophy. I had a vibrant fantasy life as well. Long before the movie Toy Story came out, I thought inanimate objects had feelings. I imagined that the other spoons felt bad when one of them was chosen, and the rest were left behind. I thought the moon followed me.
My artistic life began as a preteen. I had dreams of poems, which I would then wake up and write down. I kept a notebook of drawings, colored illustrations, and poems.
As I grew up, the artistic urge continued. However, I found no outlets at school. It was clear that a career in art was not considered a viable path. I chose to major in English at UCLA, mainly because it was an excuse to read all the time. After graduation, I fell into office work. But I still longed for creative expression. I kept having bizarre urges to buy children’s coloring books and Lego sets. I fought this urge for a long time, thinking it was silly or bizarre.
In pursuit of creative expression and freedom, I explored many different entrepreneurial ventures. One summer, on a lark, I took two art courses at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Once I completed my first painting assignment, I knew I had found what I was looking for. It was like suddenly finding your soulmate.
I went on to graduate from El Camino College with an Associate’s degree in Studio Art. I then continued my studies at New Masters Academy. I also hired a private Art Coach, Francis Vallejo – an accomplished fine artist, illustrator, and art professor.
I no longer have feelings of emptiness or yearning. Painting, drawing, and meditation are my core disciplines. I use Art to express my spiritual and philosophical nature. Despite the ups and downs of life, I have achieved a level of peace, joy, and optimism that I wish for everyone.
It is never too late to follow your bliss. As long as you’re alive, I believe you have a joyful obligation to discover why you’re here. If I can do it, so can you. Thank you for being here.