She is both a local painter who resides in Fairmount and who’s murals can be spotted around town, but is ALSO a nationally recognized artist who’s pieces have been shown and sold all around the world. From Japan to Greece to Thailand (and many other incredible places!!), she has created and impacted on a global scale, so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to come check out her incredible work!
She is opening her incredible retail shop, BRōōHa, in our brand-new space, which will feature not only her artwork and prints, but will also have her one of a kind, hand-embroidered colorful handbags and purses, candles and more!
meet our first artist in residence at 76107 collective!
“CHOKE” is a self taught artist who started creating her art as early as 5 years old.
Her parents recall her drawing on the walls with anything she could get her hands on.
By 12 years old, “CHOKE” had realized that art was to be her path in life, so she promptly began taking her art to the streets of Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. and tagging her name on any surface she could find. She was rebellious both in and out of the classroom, and would doodle on tests and exams rather than actually taking them. Instead of attending all of her classes during her years in school, “CHOKE” chose to attend only her art and writing classes and skipped the rest, spending the rest of her time during the days painting, watching live jazz sets in DC, or illegally working at the hair salon that had hired her despite her too-young age and paid her under the table.
“CHOKE” once took out a small cash loan from her Father and used it to purchase not only bulk candy to sell out of her locker, but also local bus passes, thanks to her DC Metro bus driver friend named “Lucky”. Using the money she earned from this venture, she bought paints and began creating on the shoes, hats, jeans and jean-jackets of her classmates.
Quickly, her sixth grade teacher Mrs. Gray recognized her burgeoning talents and encouraged her to create a portfolio of her work, something that many sixth graders may not consider. In addition, Mrs. Gray pushed “CHOKE” to compete for a yearlong scholarship at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. While she ended up winning this scholarship and attending that school, once her scholarship ran out, her parents couldn’t afford to keep her at the arts school, and she ended up going back to T.C. Williams.
Within the first few months at that school she felt she was out of place and ready for the world, and wound up getting her GED and beginning her journey as “CHOKE”. Eager to get herself out there, but also being a bit introverted, she quickly found herself at DC nightclubs and jazz lounges. Being underage didn’t stop her… she’d bring her camera, along with her paints and easel, and would pretend to be an event “photographer.” The bouncers wouldn’t question it, and they would wave her in, but from there, instead of snapping photos, she’d begin to paint near the stage. Often, this led to her eventually ending up on stage and even being invited back for more gigs, having charmed the audience and won over the owners with her creativity and energy.
Influenced both by the gigs she’d snuck into in her youth and by her love of 70’s jazz, funk, salsa, hip-hop, disco and house music of her childhood, her art pieces colorfully reflect the energetic bounce of the music she holds so dear. She also pays homage to her Taino (Puerto Rican) and Aztec (Mexican) Heritage by integrating familiar indigenous patterns, imagery and shapes into her art. But, there’s another rather large piece to “Choke” influence and its her very strong connection to the Creator, which guides her art and healthy lifestyle.
“I go into the “zone” and the art just flows out, the answers are all there… I am the sum of my ancestors, it’s quite magical to capture”.
Since her humble beginnings, “CHOKE” has been across the USA a few times over and has had art shows and collectors from all around the globe. From Greece and Turkey to Japan and Thailand (not to mention both North and South America), “CHOKE” has shown and sold art all over the world. She’s lived in DC, Baltimore, Miami, Oakland, Tucson, Oregon and now resides right here in Fort Worth, Texas.
She has lived more lives than many, and these days, she feels a strong responsibility to give back to the youth, especially the black and brown youth in America by teaching and guiding in any capacity. She recognizes the power that was given to her as Mrs. Gray believed in her work, and vows to pay it forward. She been involved with many community outreach programs, teaching at battered women’s shelters, organized art camps, fundraisers, holds meditation sessions, shares knowledge with healthy cooking + lifestyle classes. In addition, she currently teaches on and off at the South Dallas Culture Center.
She credits her 6th grade art teacher Mrs. Gray for pushing her art, her 8th grade science teacher, Mrs. Miksis for allowing “CHOKE” to move into her home and providing a safe space to create, Juanita “Busy Bee” Britton for believing in her art as a teen and carrying her art in her galleries for years and her mentor Frank Frazier for pushing her to do more in the community as well as nationally. She is usually traveling with Frank to various art events and shows, most recently the Harlem Fine Arts Show and Art Basel where they both showed and sold their art.
“CHOKE” chooses not to show her face for many reasons, one being that the art should speak for itself and not be influenced by who is painting it.