Dayton artist’s paintings spotted with Vice President Kamala Harris

Ja-Mae Abney is a 2009 Stivers School for the Arts graduate

A Dayton artist never expected the vice president of the United States would call attention to her work.

Last week Ja-Mae Abney was inundated with messages from friends sharing a news photograph of Vice President Kamala Harris at a Cincinnati coffee house.

The photos capture Harris surrounded by two of Abney’s oil paintings, portraits of Kanye West and Tyler the Creator.

“I opened the message and I’m looking at the image and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is Vice President Kamala Harris next to my art piece,’” Abney said. “After that I kept getting messages back to back. I couldn’t believe it.”

The vice president was in Cincinnati Friday, April 30 for a roundtable discussion on public transit. On her way out of town — accompanied by news photographers — she stopped at BlaCk Coffee Lounge, 824 Elm St, where Abney’s work is on display.

Harris reportedly ordered a Wakanda specialty blend coffee and chatted with the manager of the coffee house as she was photographed framed by Abney’s paintings.

Abney is a 2009 Stivers School for the Arts graduate and the owner of Jam Ocean Blue House of Art, a business that specializes in portraits done in oil paint.

Abney hung the paintings, and another of singer Erykah Badu, at the coffee house last month. She describes her portrait style as realism mixed with a little fantasy.

The visit was an unexpected pick-me-up for Abney who said the art profession has its highs and lows.

“I wasn’t feeling inspired and out of nowhere that post comes up with the vice president standing next to my picture and it re-motivated me,” Abney said. “It was a little reminder to keep going, you’re doing something right here.”

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