Image of Jam Tent
SpotLights       Jam Tent       Children's Program       Visual Artists       DeaFestival Home
Visual Artists Information
Artist Studio Splash Image

Visual Artists Bios

Cookie WilliamsCookie Williams Art Gallery

Melody Bock-Freeman

Melody Bock-Freeman

Melody Bock-Freeman graduated with a Master’s degree in Art Education and Secondary Education (MAEd) in 2006 and with graduate certification in Teaching the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in 2007 from Eastern Kentucky University. She is a certified Art Educator and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education for all grade levels with the Kentucky Professional Standards Board. She was born with severe to profound hearing loss and has a strong oral background. She served as a Service Provider Representative for KCDHH from June 30, 2007 until June 30, 2010. She is an active artist in her community as well as for the state of Kentucky.

“Not only do I love painting, I also take great joy in creating pottery pieces. I love getting into the mud and turning it into a functional piece of art that can be used to eat or drink from. I make each piece very unique, from coffee cups with indentations for holding or an extra large handle, to plates for hors d'oeuvres with cups for dip in the middle or to one side. I've even crafted dipping cups with cheese spreader handles attached, and my latest designs have been flower vases. I love to include embellishments such as turtles, lizards, butterflies, flowers and ferns. The more pieces I create the greater the level of craftmanship. I work in white cflay, red clay, and sandstone, and by using a variety of glazes, and methods of firing I've created some very colorfulpieces.”

She is mentoring with the Kentucky Artist Roster for VSA arts and a member of the Lexington Art League. Ms. Bock-Freeman is currently teaching undergraduate Elementary Art Education courses at Eastern Kentucky University. Ms. Bock-Freeman currently resides in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, Bruce Freeman.

Jack Cochran and Bernice Woods

Jack Cochran
Bernice Wood

Jack Cochran

Jack Cochran’s art takes many forms, primarily oil painting, but also includes drawing, watercolor, print making and screen-print, woodcut and monotype. Jack is a late-deafened person; therefore, the language of art is his communication mode. It is his belief that there is no barrier to understanding a beautifulpiece of art, whether it be a tonal study, vibrant floral work, portrait or landscape. At the age of 69, he recently graduated magna cum laude with a degree in art from the University of Kentucky.


Bernice Wood

Oil painting had always been her medium of use until 1990. All this changed when she enrolled in watercolor classes taught by Robert James Foose at the University of Kentucky. These informative classes continued for several years and added to her experience. She continued learning by participating in many workshops taught by prominent watercolor artists.

She currently instructs a University of Kentucky sponsored watercolor Osher Lifelong Learning Class. She also teaches a weekly Thursday evening class at Artists’ Attic and a yearly watercolor workshop for The Winchester Art Guild.

Her studio is located in Artists’ Attic in Victorian Square where she is a juried member and serves as president of the artist organization of twenty artists members.

Her watercolor paintings are on exhibit in her studio and can be seen daily during open hours. She welcomes and encourages visits to all Gallery Hops and scheduled member exhibits at Artists’ Attic. Her paintings can be seen at

Her art is now being shown at Artists Attic along with other gallery members. Recent art exhibits featuring her work were in August 2007 and 2008 Member Shows, Annual Plein Air Shows in October of 2007 and 2008; also in Christmas Shows held in November and December of 2007 and 2008 as well as previous years.

Keith Graden

Keith Graden goes under the art alias “Keifer” and is an abstract artist, signing all his work under his art name, Keifer. Born in Indianapolis, IN and raised in Bloomington, IL Keith has been surrounded by corn fields and corn stalks all his life. Also bombarded with cliques with an exclusive mentality, it was hard to fit in with other people. Being hard of hearing caused feelings of isolation, being neither fully hearing nor fully deaf. All of these experiences provoked Keith Graden into making artwork different from his Central Illinois culture, and created very contemporary art that stood out.

Jen Hacker

I was born and raised in a small town in southeastern Kentucky. I have been hard of hearing since birth. I became interested in acrylic painting on canvas at an early age. Growing up in an area rich in natural beauty and wildlife stirred my interest in using things in nature for a canvas. I started painting on wild turkey feathers. Wood carving is another hobby. I took a class last summer in Northern California to learn the technique of high relief carving to create impressive displays of dimensional sculpture and proper tools to use for carving.

I earned an Associate's degree in Science and Arts at Hazard Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management at Eastern Kentucky University.

Barbie and Jennifer Harris

Barbie & Jennifer

Barbie Harris, Kentucky Deaf Visual Artist and one of the former “Three Stained Glass Artists (Barbie, Betty, and Beulah) since Deafestival 1996, is a retiree with a 38-year teaching experience specializing in Deaf Education. She worked as an Art Teacher/Performer/ASL Teacher at KSD. She is exploring the new “DeVia” pictures of expressions.

Jennifer Harris, Kentucky Deaf Visual Artist, graduated from KSD in 2006. She is the 2011 graduate at Gallaudet University with a BA degree in Art History. She is currently the student at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design studying Architecture. Several of her expertises are in portrait sketching and horse drawing. This year she created a new medium “DeVia 3D in Topography Form”.

Daniel Katz-Hernandez

Daniel Katz-Hernandez was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He drew for first time when he was a five year old boy watching a TV show about drawings; his first inspiration. He enjoyed drawing portraits when he was in a high school. Katz-Hernandez’s main inspirations originated from from a graphic novel called “Understanding Comics,” by Scott McCloud. This was a pivotal moment for Katz-Hernandez when he started to learn how to tell stories through visual pictures by using comics and cinema language. He drew political illustrations for Gallaudet University’s Buff & Blue issues and comic for Convo’s daily blog. Then, he was encouraged to making films due to his creative storytelling. He started his rich experiences as a studio crewmember, video editor and director at BisonTV. Throughout years of Gallaudet University, Katz-Hernandez is also graphic design freelancer where he designed eye-catching flyers and posters. His largest art project was a mural painting in Gallaudet’s café building. Recently, He enjoyed learning how to coding an interactive project such as winning-award Winkball. His current goal is obtaining his own studio room for his own Filmmaking, Art and Design production.

Elaine Laird

Elaine Laird

Elaine is a graphic artist. The first time she showcased her greeting cards was at Deafestival 1996. At this time, Elaine displayed her work only and nothing was for sale. She did this to find out the kind of artwork potential customers liked. She was told that because she is hearing impaired and knows sign language, she should design artwork connected to deaf culture and language. She thought that was a great idea and decided that her goal should be to design artwork in American Sign Language.

She currently has a home based business which specializes in greeting cards. She sells her cards to family members, friends and acquaintances, as well as at local and regional events. She is happy to create unique artwork that deaf and hearing people would like to give to those they love.

She has an Associate’s degree in Commercial Art from the Jefferson Community and Technical College (formerly known as Jefferson Community College); and a Bachelor’s degree in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design from the University of Louisville.

Kellie Martin

Kellie Martin

A recent Gallaudet Alumni with two majors in Theatre Production and Studio Arts. I did two large murals as a student; one mural in the Gallaudet University Cafeteria and the Giants store in Washington, DC. I’ve done a few Scenic designs for Gallaudet University Theatre productions. My photography specialty is productions, head-shots, portraits, nudity, and events.

Tony McGregor

Tony Landon McGregor

A lifelong Texan, Tony Landon McGregor was born in Garland on November 18, 1958. He became deaf when he was approximately 18 months old, from hereditary causes.

Strongly inspired by Southwestern Indian designs, especially the Mimbres drawings, Tony McGregor uses wood burning tools to etch the designs onto the gourd’s surface. His Southwestern Native American-styled gourds have been shown at many festivals in Texas and New Mexico. And many galleries in those two states, and in some on the Eastern Seaboard, carry Tony’s fine gourd artworks. Each is a unique, exquisitely handcrafted work of art.

“I am always involved in many things with my hands; I am constantly experimenting with art. My favorite medium is mixed media. For the last 20 years, I have traveled to West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, and those areas have greatly influenced my way of thinking. The most prominent artists who influenced me significantly are Georgia O’Keefe of New Mexico and, of course, Francisco de Goya of Spain. In addition, I have been surrounded by Native American friends living in the Southwest area and their culture and folklore are fascinating to me. I have been exploring juxtaposition as a concept in many of my artworks. To me, it means a unique blending of two cultures: the Native American culture and Deaf culture. This concept creates a new frontier called Southwestern De'VIA art. The works of art I have composed are extensions or dimensions of my artistic personality.”

Warren Miller

Warren Miller

Warren Miller was born in Cleveland and attended Rochester Institute of Technology. He began pursuing an art career after leaving the corporate graphic design world. His acrylic paintings are influenced by Bauhaus, Pop Art and his graphic design background. His art has been exhibited throughout the US and appeared on “Switched at Birth.” He currently lives in Indianapolis.

Dick Moore

Dick Moore

Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Dick graduated from Kentucky School for the Deaf in 1968. He then attended Gallaudet University for a few years, until he decided to become a printer and was hired at the Washington Post in D.C. Dick is married and has four grown children and two grandchildren. He retired a few years ago from the Washington Post and now enjoys traveling with his wife in their recreational vehicle. He also enjoys sailing, riding his Harley, and of course pursuing photography.

Dick has always been interested in cameras. He purchased his first Nikon when he was in college. He started by selling his photography as key chain viewers at deaf sports events such as AAAD. He is a professional freelance photographer doing a wide range of work from weddings and sports events to portraits, groups and he also works with the Deaflympics. His work has been published in various newsletters, the Washington Post newspaper, and many magazines. He is now exploring a different venue of photo work, by selling his photographs to the public.

Mindy Moore

Mindy Moore

Mindy Moore is a multi-talented entertainer who truly leaves a mark on the stage and on her art, batik tie-dye. She hand crafts beautifuldresses, scarves and shirts for children, adults and even your dog…you only have to ask her…

Mindy is extremely versatile, excelling as an actress, storyteller, poet, mime and visual artist. She currently teaches Art, Drama and Deaf Studies at the Texas School for the Deaf. She also directs school plays, gives workshops and is a full time mother to her two children. She works on stage performances and markets DVDs depicting ASL Stories and Deaf Culture.

Nate Qualls

My name is Nathan Qualls, everyone calls me Nate. I am a painter/illustrator from Detroit, MI who has an affinity for painting and illustrating architecture, cars, and abandoned buildings. I have penchant for detail, lines, and color blending, using fine line markers and fine colored markers to make images look funky and set a mood for the viewer. My father and my grandma were artists too, that’s where I got my talent from.

I started drawing when I was 2 or 3 years old. I was three years old when my family found out that I was deaf. They decided to put me in an oral program where I didn’t excel very well. It was then that I started drawing pictures to get ideas out of my head because of the lack of communication. I had a wild imagination and no one to communicate with. My family did not know ASL yet. I started to draw with color markers and ink. Art remains a very deep part of my personality. It has inspired me to push myself more into the art world.

I attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and obtained a Graphic Design degree in 2010. I occasionally do freelance graphic design work for various clients. I am often contacted to do tattoo designs, skylines, classic cars, and other various forms of fine art.

I’m just an artist, who happens to be deaf.

To learn more about me and see some of my work, check out this interview with

Jeremy Quiroga

Jeremy Quiroga

I believe, whole-heartedly, there is no answer for why something is considered to be a ruin, a relic, a fragment or a token. I am drawn to the remains - the piece from the past that carries its own story; from a culture - living or dead; from a machine; from nature. As an artist, I gather these things to create a story. This approach to storytelling allows me to visually communicate without barriers to a broader audience.

Here, on this plane, I have gathered remains I believe carry a spiritual purpose. Every second of every day, something dies, is ruined or thrown away... and, as well, is born, built, and recycled. I am amazed by the complexity - the many layers and dimensions that we as human beings materialize. These marks in space are my harvest - a harvest I intend to give back.

Planes touching other planes. Amazing.

Sharon Roberts

Born and raised in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Sharon learned to express herself through art at a young age because not many people could communicate with her. She primarily does pencil and charcoal drawings, mostly black and whites but some color. She prefers to draw wildlife such as deer, raccoons and pheasants as they are all around her mountain home, but loves to sketch landscapes as well. This is Sharon’s first time as a visual artist at DeaFestival and she’s anxious to meet and talk with other visual artists so she can learn from them and expand her knowledge on how to market her artwork.

Cynthia Weitzel

Cynthia Weitzel

As a Deaf artist, my point of view bears striking resemblance to those artists identifying themselves as belonging to an ethnic, minority, or diasporan group whose culture has experienced a history of oppression in the most fundamental of ways. I see the language and process of art as my opportunity to document and reflect the history, life and perspective of our language and culture; also serving as a catalyst for thought and change towards greater understanding and acceptance. My studio is at the Anderson Center where I'm a permanent resident artist in Red Wing, MN. My most recent collaboration with the Anderson Center led to successfully receiving support from the National Endowment for the Arts to host the first Deaf Artists Residency Program in the U.S. in 2014.

Return to DeaFestival Home