Whaley exhibit opens at Black Heritage Gallery

An exhibit featuring colorful paintings of the female figure by Houston artist and Lake Charles native John Whaley will open with a free reception Friday 6-9 p.m. at the Black Heritage Gallery, 809 Kirby St.

Dewayne Williams, author of “Infidelity: The Roots of a Broken Man,” will also hold a book signing at the event, and singer Jarvis Jacob will perform.

Meanwhile, Whaley will be composing a live painting, with all profits from the sale going to Rise Above — a charity that provides financial literacy resources to single mothers. 

Whaley, 29, said art has always come second nature to him. He dabbled in it as a teen, he said, but didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until about three years ago, when he came home from serving in Afghanistan.

“I needed an escape, dealing with stress and things like that,” Whaley said. “The more comfort I found in painting, the more serious I took it.” 

Whaley now serves in the Navy Reserves and paints full time. He’s inspired by bold colors and powerful figures, he said, which is why he chose women for this exhibit. 

“Women are very powerful. They’re very unique beings. In the media they’re often portrayed in a negative light, so anytime I paint women I make sure to paint them in a very strong, positive light.” 

He said he also paints musicians that inspire him, like B.B. King. “Anytime I paint, I have different people like that in mind because I know that’s the level that I want to reach.”

But success for him isn’t just measured in dollars and crowd appeal. It’s measured in the impact he has on people’s lives through donations to charity.

“I want to give back, to really leave my mark,” Whaley said. “Giving back to charities and different organizations — that’s how you leave a legacy. That’s how you live beyond the painting.”

The free exhibit will run June 2 through July 25 Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday by appointment. 

Whaley is on Instagram at @whaleyfineart and Facebook at Whaley Fine Art.

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Art by John Whaley

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Artist John Whaley, 29, serves in the Navy Reserve and paints full time (Special to the American Press)

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