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After a hiatus of over 15 years from fine art, Creative Director Keisha Whatley slowly began painting again. She would pull out a college assignment started in 1997 and paint live at community festivals and events.
Over time the painting morphed into something new, fresh and interesting! While painting, she would think about Erykah, what her music meant to her (she was in high school at the time) and the various styles the singer emits through her music. Symbols, colors, and symbolic objects began appearing through the painting and the 'Culture Portrait' Style was born; the term coined because cultures tell stories and the 'Culture Portrait' style tells stories through symbolism, color, objects and positioning. The 'Culture Portrait' literally tells a layered story within the bounds of a canvas providing the viewer with multiple experiences with each view. It has become Custom Arts Studio's signature style and has been applied to illustrations, murals and paintings throughout the years.