When my grandmother first held me, she noticed my large hands and predicted that I would do something great with them one day. Five years later, my kindergarten teacher told my parents, “Jeffery needs to finish coloring.” In elementary school, I doodled a lot, often in class. My mother begged me to stop doodling and to listen to the homework assignments. Around sixth grade, my mother decided that my doodles showed promise. She enrolled me in cartooning and figure drawing classes outside of school. I also took private studio art classes in high school.
When I was a teen, some of my artwork was published. An editorial cartoon that I drew during a summer journalism workshop appeared in a special tabloid newspaper. And, my pen-and-ink drawing was used as an advertisement for my school’s art show. In high school, I also contributed video game reviews to the Greensboro News & Record’s teen page. After high school graduation, I visited Paris where I toured the Louvre and saw artists sketching on the streets. There, I became interested in fine art.
In 2007, I entered Winston-Salem State University as a Chancellor’s Scholar on full scholarship. A computer graphics and animation major, I was in the Honors College, made the Dean’s List every semester, and was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success. While in college, I was a member of the Art Club, worked part-time at the Winston-Salem Urban League, and interned with a children’s book illustrator. I also had an editorial cartoon published for the presidential inauguration. In 2011, I graduated with honors.
Since graduation, I have landed a contract to illustrate a children’s book about the Tuskegee Airmen and have produced graphic T-shirts. My paintings have been shown in a group exhibition at the African-American Atelier in Greensboro and in a solo exhibit at The Sanctuary in Charlotte’s NoDa arts district. In August 2011, I was the youngest-ever artist profiled in Go Triad newspaper.