Artists Jamal Collins and Patricia Battles will share their career journeys and insights on pursuing a creative path that combines social impact and art.
Growing up in the inner city of East Cleveland, Ohio, Jamal was considered an at-risk youth and faced challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. He was always a creative kid with a big imagination, but something was missing. He yearned for help from a mentor or an advisor to encourage his creative tenacity.
Jamal graduated from Akron University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1997. For 9 years he worked as a graphic designer in the corporate field though he always felt incomplete. There he was, pursuing a career in the field of graphic design, but there was no passion!
In 2014, Jamal started working for The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland as an Art Instructor, which changed his life. His second day at work, his car was stolen by a kid from the club, but he didn’t lose hope. He wanted to reach out to the kids who were maybe living in single-parent homes, or living in an environment of drug, or alcohol abuse, poverty, and most of all, education disparity. Many kids in our society need more than a mother, and father; they need a community. Jamal is a part of that community.
After 7 months as an art instructor, Jamal introduced the kids to graphic design classes, and began traveling to various club locations as a consultant. Teaching young people has become his ultimate passion and he wants to help them realize their ability to transform the world through design and to imagine new possibilities.
Patricia is a freelance artist who specializes in Animation and Illustration. With over a decade of experience within the field of the arts, Patricia’s artistic career began between her junior to senior year of high school where she participated in after school programs outside of school. Patricia took a traditional 2D animation workshops after school and was a volunteer illustrator for a teen publication. Patricia’s published illustrations eventually caught the eye of many
companies and organizations requesting to hire her to produce illustrations for their projects.
Patricia is a verified Giphy artist with over 750K views on her animated gifs and has participated in community projects with Giphy including Into Action Lab, which is a movement of designers, illustrators, animators and artists building cultural momentum around civic engagement and the issues affecting our country and world.
Patricia is also a member and freelance animator for Black Women Animate; a media company that supports women of color and non-binary artist of color to obtain access and visibility within the animation industry as well as empower them through the visual arts by tell their own narratives.
In May of 2019, Patricia graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and majored in Animation. While attending University, Patricia was nominated for the Student Leadership Award for Distinguished Contribution, which recognizes the distinctive mark that students have made through their positive contributions throughout campus. Patricia engaged with her peers through her leadership both inside and outside of her major.
During her spare time, Patricia enjoys traveling the world, photography, doodling, swimming, voice acting, singing, performing music and playing multiple musical instruments like electric guitar.
Check out Patricia’s work here!