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 progress through spaces that continuously try to break them down. The subjects of his paintings use their victories over oppression as armor for their journey through everyday life. His friends and family are the subjects of his paintings, captured while they have visceral conversations about their life in America. These visual moments facilitate conversations on the struggles people of color have to endure to survive and to thrive.
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).