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Leon Kennedy, Visionary Folk Artist

Leon is rated one of the top 100 self-taught artists in the country. His works are coveted by prominent Folk Art collectors everywhere-foreign, as well as domestic. Serious collectors take huge store in the fact that Mr. Kennedy’s works appear in the Smithsonian Institute; which in itself adds extreme value to the ownership of a Kennedy original.

A native of Houston, Texas; Mr. Kennedy has lived and worked in Oakland, California for over 25 years. If you are out, about, and alert, you may just run into him on an Oakland street – where he is busy capturing the people and scenes of bay area life-on canvas. Kennedy paints on “everything”. Some of his most impressive works have been captured on bed sheets he has found on the streets. Yes, they are huge. And the precision and multiplicity of detail is astonishing. Works on wood, tables and chairs, glass, and metal (even hubcaps) have been known to grace a thorough Kennedy collection. Many of the materials he works with come from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland. He creates his artworks with markers, paints, crayons, beads, glitter, cotton, yarn and rope.

Also see: Smithsonian Artist Leon Kennedy on YouTube

Not only has his art been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, but also at the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lowell Revolving Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, African American Museum in Dallas, Redux Gallery, Asian Cultural Center, King’s Gallery of the San Francisco Unitarian Universalist Church, and the National Museum of American Art through the Rosenak Collection.

Leon Kennedy is inspired by the Spirit. In fact, his trademark is the hand. “Hands symbolize my personal testimony. God is the door… Prayer is the key… Hands stand for the power of the imagination and for divine testimony. God sees my heart. He has the master plan; I am his obedient servant. Faith leads. I follow Him.”

Leon has created art for 50 years to show hope, love and blessings in our lives. He believes that with God, all things are possible.

Street Spirit has a fabulous article about Leon in their April 6, 2014 edition:

For more information about Leon’s art, contact:
Susan Werner, Art Facilitator at St. Mary’s Center
510.923.9600 ext.231