According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), only 29% of books about African/African American people were by Black authors/illustrators. Tracy Ann Simmonds looks to add to those statistics with the release of her coloring book The Vision Project. She is the C.E.O. of Innovative Arts Photography, an enthusiastic Wedding, Portrait and Event Photographer in South Florida. Her artistic background spreads the gamut from Professional Dance and Performing Arts Educator to Jewelry Designer and Painter while also authoring Miami Culture Maven, a cultural fashion and lifestyle blog highlighting talented people & organizations who are following their dreams.
The coloring pages are drawings of Black girls and women with mandalas included as well as African symbolism to activate pride in the culture of the African Diaspora. The book’s goals include instilling self-esteem and self-efficacy in Black girls and women. Custom portraits are available on a commission basis by Tracy Ann.
“I believe an undoubtedly important aspect, with regards to healing women of color, is to provide vivid visuals by designing iconic images that embrace natural Afrocentric beauty,” state Tracy Ann.
Her love and appreciation for fine art mediums as well as visual communication lead her to think outside of the box when it comes to creating products.
The writing (introduction, acknowledgments, foreword) in this coloring book came from her constant search inward and continuous desire to justify her creative process.
Tracy Ann is a tactile writer, and so daily journaling helps her to iron out her thoughts. The drawings in this book were created over 2 years, and each page contains not only a drawing of a Black woman and mandala designs but also the woman’s vision for the betterment of themselves or the world around them.
In 2004 while working on her B.A. in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, she discovered that spending 10 hours at a time in dark rooms became her therapy and telling visual stories brought an invigorating breath of fresh air into her life. She hopes that readers/coloring enthusiasts will be able to create a mindfulness practice and become better women as we support those around us and uphold our families and hectic lifestyles.
Quality is her number one priority, and she lives by the philosophy that art and photography live in print. Her goal is to enrich clients living environments with images that inspire them to maintain sanity while engaging in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Tracy Ann began a mixed media portrait series called The Vision Project in 2011, which was inspired by her dance students. The Vision Project is a growing body of work that examines the aesthetic physical beauty as well as the minds of Black women between the ages of one and sixty-eight with portraits being added regularly. Original works from The Vision Project have been sold in partnership with The Tom Joyner Foundation to help keep young artists in attendance at historically Black colleges and universities across the country. Tracy Ann is a proud apprentice and adopted Granddaughter of renown artist Frank Frazier of Dallas Texas, whose tutelage she has been under since 2004. She also studied under renown Photographer Dawoud Bey & graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2006. She has fine art photography work in the school’s permanent collection.
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