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Conversations with the Inspiring Kathleen Wilson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Wilson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kathleen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in the state of Michigan, raised by two creative parents with architectural, building and fashion design avocations. When I graduated from high school, I received a fine art scholarship to Pepperdine College when it was located at 79th Street and Vermont Ave. I then attended The Otis Art Institute on Wilshire Blvd. taking life drawing classes under the incomparable direction of Mr. Charles White. I further studied Interior Design, receiving an AA Degree from The Beverly Hills Interior Designers Guild. All the while, I was a protege of Mr. Richard Lee Atkins, Land Developer, and Construction Engineer. I learned the business by hands-on experience, building commercial and residential properties throughout Los Angeles County. In 1984, the Summer Olympics gave me the opportunity to display my art at a cultural village which hosted African, Carribean, and Third World visitors to the games. Under the mastermind of Mr. Atkins, the purpose of the village was to show the rich heritage of the African Diaspora in the local community of Los Angeles. We aimed to reconnect cultural, spiritual and commerce activism on a global level with our brothers and sisters all over the world. During that time, I established my fine art business, Kathleen A. Wilson & Associates, creator, publisher, distributor, promotors of artworks by Kathleen A. Wilson. My gallery premiered and was housed in the African American Cultural Village located on 63rd and Crenshaw Blvd. It was as though an open portal to the lucrative marketplace for art, allowed us to flourish on a grand scale in the 1980s and 1990s. Technology allowed for the printing of limited edition lithographs from the original works. We distributed to wholesale and retail outlets while building a national collector base. This year marks my 35th year in the business and creation of art.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I was a pioneer in the field of this new and fast-growing multi-million dollar industry. As a self-publishing artist, everything was a struggle, in the beginning, figuring out how to operate, maintain a consistent flow of quality creative works, and meet the goal of uplifting the consciousness of the community by providing profound artworks to collect. The African American community embraced our positive imagery to the point of selling out of several limited editions lithographs over the years. The operating infrastructure of the business needed to be set and it is set to this day. Finding reliable resources to print products was also a challenge until we found the right fit for our business. This is a costly business which crosses over several industries: printing, inventory housing, framing, shipping, sales, marketing and advertising, show fees, and administrative assistance to name a few, the costs have to be accounted for. As time progressed, more and more images came to the marketplace. The internet allowed for greater exposure, while social media has become a vehicle for advertising and announcements. This paradigm shift occurred which opened up the art to be seen and available for sale in a global market. Converting that market to tangible revenue is the most challenging of all now. We maintain a presence through constant online showing, advertising, and physical art shows. You can earn a good living, even exceed your expectations as a professional artist today. My advice for young women just starting out is to show there work wherever you can find the opportunity, invest in yourself by developing your own graphics to promote your work, observe and ask for business tips, create a “free” website design with and have them host it for $$ monthly, continue to improve your work through education, workshops, studying the history of art, visiting museums and galleries to give your works elevation, build a foundation to build upon and grow. Journal and keep yourself open to the impulse of your spirit to bring beauty and understanding through your artworks to the light in this dark world.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
“Art of the Spirit” is a collective of painted spiritual experiences that have changed my life. It is artistic expressions of community, mainly figurative, which confirm the essence of who I am. If given breath, any painting would speak, continuing the conversation with me about the importance of living out my purpose. I employ the technique of the silhouette to reflect the essence of humanity then wrap them in luminescent colors and African inspired textiles.

Interpreting nature with spiritual sight, smelling the sweet fragrance in the air, reaching out to touch someone, hearing through silence and tasting good things is how I use my senses to invite the Spirit who inspires me. I look for ways to express the abstract reality of the “Fruits of the Spirit”; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My building blocks for inspiration are dreams, current and ancient memories, sacred literature and revelations.

Collectively, images of Genesis, the beginning of things, Life, the joy of mesmerizing moments, Humanity, the nuances of relationships and Worship, the highest praise, are the themes and subjects I continue to add to my body of work. I illustrate children’s literature and create art for spiritual institutions. My art is featured on movie sets, conference covers and as educational resources. I won the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Award and the African Studies Association CABA (Children’s Africana Book Awards) Award. I created the image for a 10 story faceted glass front for a church in Charlotte, NC. What sets me apart from anyone is the viewer’s perception of what I create. It is unique through me and if it resonates with them on a deeper level, then my purpose is completed.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
The biggest barriers today for female leadership is limiting beliefs. We hear three voices in our heads, our own, the critic and the Good Spirit. To be successful, we must become aware of who is talking, what they are saying and the motive behind the words. When you hear your own voice, listen to the thoughts planted by people in your life, both positive and negative, then gravitate to the truth within you. When you hear the critic, listen, but be wary of his constant motive and prodding. He can’t paint or write or dance or engage any creative venture. When you hear the Good Spirit, listen, follow intuitive instructions. You will never be led in the wrong direction, The plan is to give you a future and a hope. Gather your team of trusted advisors, associates, and supporters, then seek collective cooperation to meet your goals. Dream and dream big. Your vision should be so big that it scares you. Make up in your mind, what you want to be, what you want to do and what you want to have, then give it all you’ve got to make it happen. If you want to be an artist who is satisfied, joyful, a catalyst for change, contributing to the world and giving back more than you receive, then you can overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers to make it happen. You will be able to lead others with a steadfast, competent leadership style, in any industry.


  • Limited Edition Lithograph Prints $100 – $500
  • Serigraphs and Giclee Editions $475 – $3,000
  • Originals $500 – $25,000
  • Sculptures $450 – $3,000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rob Peques

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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