AS220 has partnered with RISD to host a speaker series titled “REAL TALK: ARTISTS IN INDUSTRY”

“REAL TALK: ARTISTS IN INDUSTRY” is an AS220/RISD speaker series featuring artists of color who are shaking up the industry and creating new, innovative work that respond to our highly diverse young generation of makers, artists, and audiences. These creative professionals who are active and successful in their respective industries, visit AS220 Youth and RISD to share their practical experience in the field with our young artists in preparation for their entry into careers in creative industries as artists/designers. This speaker series is curated by AS220 Artistic Director, Shey Rivera. 

First Speaker: Animation Director LeSean Thomas

On October 2016, AS220 hosted LeSean Thomas for artist talks at Hasbro, RISD’s Illustration Dept, and AS220 Youth.
LeSean Thomas served as Character Supervisor/Co-Director for Adult Swim’s acclaimed animated sitcom The Boondocks, Production and Storyboard Artist on Book 1 of Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra, Produer/Supervising Director of the blaxploitation action comedy Black Dynamite: The Animated Series also on Adult Swim. Thomas has embarked on a creative path abroad to fulfill his own independent productions: Cannon Busters, an original anime project with japanese studio Satelight (Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online, Macross Frontier) and Children of Ether, his upcoming original anime with SVOD leader Crunchyroll set to release in 2017.”
AS220 is excited to see the fruition of his new animated series this year!



Stay hungry, stay positive and surround yourself with like-minded individuals that are going to help you get to your path.” – LeSean Thomas

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Next Speaker: Illustrator and Designer, Ronald Wimberly

On Friday, February 24th, we host our second speaker, illustrator and designer Ronald Wimberly. Wimberly visits AS220 Youth to present on his work and career in the illustration and comic book industry. From process and aesthetic to story development, Wimberly will share his unique perspective on developing innovative content that is on the edge and radical, while also meeting industry demands. His insight will help prepare young artists for entry into careers as artists/designers while maintaining their artistic identity.

Wimberly is an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist, having designed several graphic novels as well as shorter works for The New Yorker, DC/Vertigo, Nike, Marvel, Hill and Wang, and Darkhorse. His last work was the critically acclaimed Prince of Cats for DC/Vertigo. He’s exhibited in New York, Tokyo, and Paris.

“A lot of the gains recently made in rights for women and LGBTQ are at stake. Also the anti-Muslim rhetoric is alarming. But anti-blackness is a constant, the intensity ebbs and flows. So if it means anything to how I’ll deal with race in my art, maybe I will give more bandwidth to black women and to those who are both black and queer or Muslim. For some people it may seem like now we’ve crossed some major threshold in the conversation of race here in this country, but if you are black you have witnessed a constant onslaught on black bodies since you were born. ” – Ronald Wimberly

Wimberly will speak at RISD’s Benson Illustration Gallery and AS220 Youth. And he was recently featured in VICE MAGAZINE!