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Mixed media on panel, 30″ x 38″, unframed

Bracero Portrait

This portrait was taken around 1943 when the first contingent of Mexican laborers came to St. Helen under toe “Bracero “program. The photographer was Bill Hart, who was a St. Helena photo buff. Bill took many photos of St. Helena events and contributed many to the St. Helena Star. Bill was born in Oakland in 1912 and graduated from St. Helena High School. He married Ina McCormick and lived on Spring Mountain. Bill’s photographs of the Mexican men were an artist’s record of the Bracero Program in Napa Valley.

Leigh Ann Culver

I was born was born in 1987 in Lawrenceville Georgia, then moved to Oviedo Florida where I spent the better part of my childhood. I started to draw as soon as I could hold a crayon. Art has been, and always will be, this ‘thing’ I do without much thought. I am completely self-taught and have cycled through various mediums and subject matters throughout my art career. I focused on portraiture early on, doing small charcoal drawings which led to oil paintings. For over a decade I painted pop-culture inspired portraits and custom commissions, selling these works nation-wide. Throughout this time, I worked with multiple methods and mediums, ranging from pencil and paper, oil on canvas, and digitally rendered compositions.

In 2015 I decided to bring new life into my art. I started drawing a larger-than-life scale portrait of Cornel West with charcoal and white chalk, and along the way fell madly in love with portraiture all over again. This discovery allowed me to bring more meaning to my work through my subjects, which are now primarily focused on the human form, and the subsequent human emotion it captures.  This work brings me intimately close to the people that I’m drawing. For me, capturing my subjects in such vivid detail, at such a large scale, generates a lasting connection that transcends time and place by capturing a specific moment of human existence while embodying the individual’s entire journey up to that moment in his or her life.