Spend Earth Day with Frank D. Robinson

Beloved Memphis Artist Frankd Robinson will be leading workshops this Saturday, Earth Day, April 22, at the West Tennessee Spring Conference of the Tennessee Art Education Association. It’s an all day event that takes place at the Memphis Museum of Science and History (MOSH), or the Pink Palace, as it was formerly named. You can find out more about Mr. Robinson on this post, or google his name for more information.

The conference is part of the River Arts Fest and will be from 8:30 a.m. til 3:45 (Conference starts at 9, but there will be coffee and snacks at 8:30). Workshops will include:

Turning Recyclables into Classroom Jewels for Artmaking with Frank D. Robinson:  Bring your bag of trash, trinkets and whatnots that you want to turn into jewels for your Portrait/Collage ArtWork.

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Digging Deep Observational Drawing in the Science Museum – The Natural History Galleries in the Museum are full of delights! Captivating collections of native animals and insects abound, as well as full scale replicas of dinosaurs! During this workshop, we will immerse ourselves in drawing from our choice of stunning Still-Lifes in the galleries. Bring your favorite drawing tools – paper and boards will be provided!”

All the details can be found here at the TAEA website. There is a very reasonable fee and an option for a food truck lunch or to bring your own brown bag lunch.

I contacted them and they are still taking registrations, though they are filling up fast. When you register, you’re required to give the name of a school and district. I put in Murray Art School and Midtown Adult District. It took my registration then, so try it. There are email contacts listed if you have problems with registration and they were very quick in responding with information.

It seems like it’ll be a great way to celebrate Earth Day, creative recycling, and art. I hope to see you there.

Trust Your Struggle by Frankd Robinson


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An Homage to Frankd Robinson

I’ve loved Frankd Robinson’s art for probably 2 decades now.  He is a Memphis artist who uses paint, collage, found objects and his own unique style to create vibrant art.  His work honors the reality of urban life, the struggles of Black people and Black women in particular.   He has a way of taking mundane items and the things we discard and turning them into works of art.

I remember when I first saw his work thinking it’s like he’s taken all the trash I see at the bus stop and turned into something dynamic and glorious.  His work made me see how you can create with whatever is at hand, how to integrate words into vivid color.

Here’s a video of him from about 9 years ago, talking about his art:


Lately, Robinson has had to deal with diabetes and difficult health transitions.  Although I don’t know him that well, I follow him on Facebook and Instagram.  He posts pictures of his everyday life, of his dialysis, of his physical therapy after amputations, of his friends and family, his barber, his fraternity brothers.   Still telling a story, still knowing his life has value.

He’s made these cool, dramatic necklaces/amulets:



When I saw this photo:


I was so taken by the tree tattoo, that I decided I had to do a sort of portrait based on him.

I looked at a lot of pictures of him, a lot of his art.  I read his encouragements to everyone, the way he posts positive things about life, while remaining very real about our struggles.

I worked on it for a over a month, and finished a few days ago.  I call it “How Does Your Garden Grow?”

How Does Your Garden Grow? for Frankd Robinson by Joy Murray


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Despair accompanies illness and disability, but so does learning and resilience.  And love.  You learn to love yourself enough to survive.  You learn who really loves you, who helps you when you are thrown a curve and your whole life changes; who loves you when they know you’ll never be the same physically.  You learn your limits, but also your strengths.

When I am low, I remember it’s my job to love my damned self.  And when I do that, all these other bits of beauty bloom in my life.

I’m so fortunate to have art in my life, and to have found the art of Frankd Robinson.


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