Artists Curtis Cureton, Diarra Imani featured at art show

No one becomes an artist in their adult years.

Sure, possibly by the time the person is an adult, they could be profiting off their creations. Or be part of art shows. Or travel around the country showcasing their works.

You may have never heard of said artist until that artist is in their 20s, 30s, or even 40s.

Don’t get it twisted—that artist has always been an artist, from the time they could walk.

That’s the story of Pittsburgh artists Curtis Cureton, Diarra Imani and pretty much every other artist that ever lived.

For Imani, now in her mid-20s, she told the New Pittsburgh Courier how she used to love painting as a youngster in school. For Cureton, now at the seasoned age of 59, he told the Courier he’s been “doing this since I was 5 years old.”

On Nov. 24, at the Natural Healing and Wellness Center, 2336 E. Carson St., South Side, Cureton and Imani showcased their unique views on the world via art. Cureton has a specialty in creating wood sculptures, such as former Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen on a living room table. Imani is able to make moves with the paintbrush, but considers her artistry as a “multi-disciplinary creative.” She said her artistry first came in the form of spoken word, then through singing, songwriting, and ultimately, visual art.

But that’s not all for Imani. She views art as another creative expression—working with kids, as her Star Seed company provides curricula to local schools on how kids can best express themselves through art.

“I tell all students that they are artists. They start off as artists,” Imani said, as she painted with youngster Kai Bailey at the art show. “I just allow them to be themselves, no ridicule, no punishment, just allow them to express.”

Imani, who’s also the Yoga instructor at the Natural Healing and Wellness Center, graduated from Urban Pathways Charter School in 2014, then graduated with a bachelor’s in her own major—Women’s Entrepreneurship in Institutional Culture—from Chatham University.

As for Cureton, he’s a Schenley High School alum, and attended the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. He’s been involved in countless art shows over the years, and admits he’s taken some breaks here and there to focus on family, health, and, well, life. But he knows his patented process of producing his creations (wood burning, engraving, etc.) is one-of-a-kind. It takes a while for each of his productions to make it onto wood for good.

“It’s a process. You have to wait until one part of it is dry before you can create the second layer of it,” Cureton told the Courier. “It’s a seven-step process, but it’s a fun process, it’s something I enjoy doing.”

Some artists are extroverts; others seldom utter a word. Some focus on the African American genre; others are more mainstream. They all, however, see things that the non-artist doesn’t notice, and are able to turn it into a creation that oftentimes is cherished forever.

“It’s what your mind’s eye sees,” Cureton explained of how he comes up with what his next creation would be. “You’re just duplicating what your mind’s eye sees. I don’t know if it’s that simple, but for me, it is.”

CURTIS CURETON AND DIARRA IMANI, with their artwork at the Natural Healing and Wellness Center on E. Carson Street, Nov. 24. (Photo by Marlon Martin) (Feature Photo)

by Rob Taylor Jr., Courier Staff Writer

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