Arts&Culture Features

Moving Stories by Steph Rodriguez

For December, I wrote about the incredibly talented Bobby Briscoe, who has traveled the world and danced in some of the most respected ballet institutions, including the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C., and Chicago’s prestigious Joffrey Ballet. Briscoe returns to the Sacramento Ballet for its rendition of “The Nutcracker,” which debuts this Saturday at SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center.

A Force of Nature by Steph Rodriguez

I had the pleasure of interviewing actress Danielle Moné Truitt, who stars as Sgt. Ayanna Bell in the new NBC drama series Law & Order: Organized Crime, opposite Christopher Meloni and Dylan McDermott. Did you know she’s from Sacramento? Not only is Truitt from the River City, but she gives credit to the B Street Theatre for her professional theater start. Since splitting her time between New York and Los Angeles, Truitt has accomplished some amazing career breakthroughs, including working with the iconic John Singleton in the BET television series Rebel and she even provided the live-action references for Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. Law & Order: Organized Crime is currently in production filming season 2, slated to premiere this fall. Truitt says she will always have love for the city and the artistic community that raised her, and of course, Jimboy’s Tacos. This feature published in Sacramento Magazine’s August 2021 Issue.

Beauty in the Darkness by Steph Rodriguez

Artist Lin Fei Fei recalls touching her nose and studying the shapes of eyes as a little girl before drawing them on paper. At just 7 years old, Fei knew she wanted to be a professional artist. She would later graduate from the prestigious Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Northeast China. As a student, she traveled the world and learned centuries-old tempera painting techniques in Italy using stone powder, egg whites and tree oil. Through her studies, she developed a respect for art history, mixing her rugged elegance with classical approaches.

“For me, oil painting is a very graceful, elegant material,” Fei says. “Acrylics are cool, and other materials are cool, too, but oil can maintain history.”

With a wanderer’s heart, Fei turned down an opportunity to teach at Luxun Academy and moved to the United States in 2015. Besides her partner at the time, Fei says she didn’t know anyone so she began selling art on the street before linking up with Blue Line Arts Gallery in Roseville and eventually branching out into Sacramento’s tight-knit art community. Her first mural was for the Wide Open Walls mural festival in 2018, where she painted two ethereal skeleton figures surrounding Holy Diver, a predominantly hard rock and metal music venue in Midtown, Sacramento. Now, Fei has painted more than 30 murals from Mexico City to New York and Denver. Full story here.

Thread by thread by Steph Rodriguez

Working with fiber and textiles is what connects Esther Marie Hall to her cultural identities. It’s the thread she traces back to her childhood, growing up with a Southern grandmother steeped in traditional American crafts, while also learning about the artistry and customs of her Filipino roots.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Hall continues to explore her biracial identity through paint, textiles and mixed media, drawing correlations between the stitches that bind her grandmother’s quilts and the native Filipino-weaving techniques of maternal elders. She’s proud of the work she’s created for Planned Parenthood, when Hall exhibited in 2019 at the nonprofit’s The Art of Caring exhibit in San Francisco, which featured as guest speaker Kamala Harris. She was also Facebook’s artist in residence that same year, where she painted a picturesque, cartoonish mountain range inside the social media giant’s offices in Fremont, Calif. Full story here.