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Kwaku Debrah

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Eclectic Artists

Creative Guys Around Town

Painter Describes His Art as ‘Movies on a Canvas’ 

As a young man, Kwaku Debrah knew that creating art was going to be a large part of his life. Born in Ghana, he studied technical drawing in high school and later, upon moving to the United States, he attended college in Michigan, where he pursued software design. “I always liked to draw, going back to when I was a toddler,” he says.

It was the summer of 2022 when Debrah received a “calling” to start painting. “I knew that my life’s path was leading me to become a visual artist,” he says. “This is what I was destined to do.” He studied the work of his favorite artists––Henry Taylor, Edgar Degas, and Cecily Brown—and learned about art from ancient cultures.

Debrah, who paints mostly in acrylics, describes his art as “movies on a canvas.” “Art is not a reproduction of something we already see. It makes you think about things in a way that you never thought before.” His 6-year-old son, Prince, is an artist as well.  “He’s getting pretty good at drawing,” Debrah says. “He’s my major inspiration.”

Website: www.kwakudebrah.com/home

Photographer Gives Weddings a ‘Performance Quality’

Casey Fatchett wanted to be an actor so he moved to New York City in the late 1990s to pursue his goal. On the way, however, he got sidetracked. “I started taking headshots of actors and bands, then friends from college who were getting married,” he says. “I enlarged them and presented them to couples as an extra wedding gift.”

People liked his work more than the hired professionals, so Fatchett started shooting more portraits, weddings, and engagements. “I fell in love with it,” he says. “There was performance quality to it.”

He also runs a podcast, The Nerdy Photographer (nerdyphotograper.com), which features interviews with working photographers and offers tips on how to run a photography business.

Fatchett, who has photographed more than 800 weddings, knows that it is important to set himself apart in an extremely competitive industry. “I don’t take staged photos or those that look like someone just slapped on an Instagram filter,” he says. “It’s also important to really get to know people on an emotional level and make them comfortable about having their photo taken,” he says.  

Website: fatchett.com

Local Dentist’s Musical Talent Makes His Patients Smile

 Jared Eisen, DMD, FAGD, does not only enhance smiles, he brings smiles to the faces of his patients through his music. 

A practicing dentist for 23 years, with offices in West Orange and New York City, Dr. Eisen has been playing music since he was 6 when he first took lessons for violin and drums. Since then, he taught himself to play the guitar, bass, piano, and soprano saxophone.

A studio musician, he currently plays in three bands, including one consisting of physicians from his West Orange office building. “It not unusual for me to play bass guitar in one band and drums in another,” he says. He composes and records his music in his home recording studio.

Dr. Eisen performs mostly classic rock and roll. “The musicians who have inspired me the most are Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn,” he says. He also likes modern artists such as Goose, an indie band, and Marcus King, known for southern rock and blues.

“I love music and play it all day long, even while I am working,” he says. “My patients love it, too. In fact, many of them are musicians.”

Music website: www.dreisen.com/music/

Artist Recycles Discarded Clothing into Works of Art

Artist Arshad Aziz works with fabric to create colorful and whimsical jackets, dresses, caftans, and jewelry. While no two creations are alike, they all have one thing in common: All are made from recycled materials, which otherwise would end up in a landfill. 

Some of his creations are currently on display in the West Orange Arts Center gift shop, run by Liana Torrice Volpe.

In America, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste, equivalent to 85% of all textiles, end up in landfills every year (Earth.org). “I want to make clothing that was not only stylish, but sustainable,” he says. He adds that production of many clothing items, such as jeans, use valuable resources and generate pollution. “It takes 200 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans,” he says.

Born in India, Aziz studied to be a financial analyst but discovered his true calling was fabric arts and teaching others, particularly young people, how to make their own creations. He frequently holds workshops, showing people how to restyle clothing that they would otherwise discard. 

“Each piece I create embodies a bit of history, culture, tradition, art, and diversity of human society coming together,” he says. 

Instagram@Threadedplanet

 

"Art is not a reproduction of something we already see..."

“Each piece I create embodies a bit of history, culture, tradition, art, and diversity of human society coming together,”

  • Kwaku Debrah
  • Casey Fatchett
  • West Orange Arts Center gift shop, run by Liana Torrice Volpe.
  • Dr. Jared Eisen
  • Arshad Aziz