LA native and current resident, Kohshin Finley (b. 1989), earned his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design.

Finley’s work depicts defiant people of color as they navigate through spaces that try to continuously break them down. The subjects of his paintings use these tribulations as armor for their journey through everyday life. These visual moments facilitate conversations on the struggles people of color have to endure to survive and to thrive.

Being born and raised in the contentious racial and social climate of South Central Los Angeles, Finley now taps into his own Black-Mexican heritage and experiences to create each painting. His friends and family are the subjects of these paintings, captured while they have visceral conversations about navigating the world as people of color.

Prior to each painting, Finley writes poems stemming from these conversations and interlaces them with his own history to tell a personal story that takes on a new life on the canvas. By telling stories that are honest to both his subjects and himself, Finley’s paintings establish genuine trust with the viewer, allowing sincere conversation to begin. Finley creates paintings in this way to honor his own vulnerabilities, as well as those of his subjects, giving the viewer permission to discover something about themselves (in the precarious present).