Description Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith, better known as Bricktop (August 14, 1894 February 1, 1984) was an American dancer, singer, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the nightclub Chez Bricktop in Paris from 1924 to 1961, as well as clubs in Mexico City and Rome. She has been called '...one of the most legendary and enduring figures of twentieth-century American cultural history
Chelle Brantley, Vacaville, CA Member Since November 2006 Artist Statement Michelle “Chelle” Brantley is a portrait artist, artistic painter, and illustrator. A native of the East Bay Area, Oakland, CA, Chelle began to draw at the early age of three years old. Chelle was not quite a child prodigy, but she always had a great fondness for the arts; probably more so than other children her age. She spent most of her time drawing and tracing pictures, reading books, listening to different types of music and watching old films. Chelle’s love of music theatre and film contributes greatly to the subjects she chooses to translate onto canvas.
Chelle began painting in her early twenty’s right after the death of her father. What began initially as a form of therapy for her loss became a new found career, and she has been painting ever since. Chelle has not received any formal artistic training. Her ability to paint had become natural to her through perseverance and a lot of practice. Ms. Brantley’s paintings have been exhibited in several galleries including: The Grand Oak Art Gallery (Oakland, CA), 57th Street Gallery (Oakland,CA), The Brick House Gallery (Sacramento, CA), and 40 Acres Gallery (Sacramento, CA). Ms. Brantley’s paintings have also been featured in several online galleries.
As an artist, Chelle works mostly in acrylic paint. She also works in pencil and charcoal. Chelle’s favorite subjects are portraits of Jazz artists and other celebrities. Ms. Brantley also enjoys painting genre scenes from various decades, such as the 1940’s-1970’s, just to name a few, and she has found her niche in painting children’s portraits. Chelle considers herself an amateur movie, fashion, and music historian, as well as a keen observer of facial expressions and human behavior. This is Chelle’s way of being able to capture the true essence of her subjects when she paints or illustrates them.
Ms. Brantley believes that to be a great artist is to be open-minded, to not be over-critical of your surroundings, to see every day as a Blessing from God, to always take the opportunity to learn something new, and to know that your favorite work of art has not yet been created.