My Journey into Tech, AI, and ML!

Although most of my blog posts are centered around my art, I wanted to take the time to talk about my journey into web development. My journey into web development and software engineering began a few years ago when my daughter asked for my help with programming on Roblox. I remember following a tutorial on adding points and coins to a game, but I was just copying what the developer was doing without really knowing what I was doing. However, I had so much fun creating this game, that I decided to see how I could use my skills as an artist to create other programs.

Growing up, computers were always a mystery to me. I didn’t have much exposure to them, and I didn’t really use one until I was in my late teens. In fact, I got into trouble at school once for accidentally sending a message to the entire network instead of just my class. It wasn’t until later that I realized how important that moment was to my journey.

As a first-generation American and a caregiver to my son who has Autism while homeschooling my daughter, I needed a flexible career that I could pursue from home. I knew my artistic background would come in handy for CSS and UX/UI, but my interest and scope went beyond that as I found out later on.

I started with popular resources like, W3Sschools, Khan Academy, and The Coding Train on YouTube. I also began building simple projects with JS using tutorials and reading through the official documentation for whatever language or library I was working with. I even joined a small bootcamp, but they asked me to pay $10,000 to finish the program, which wasn’t right for me. Instead, I found a veteran’s program that allowed me to attain a certificate in Web Design and then applied for an online school, Vets Who Code, a school dedicated to teaching veterans and their spouses how to code for free. At Vets Who Code, I was surrounded by some of the best developers and people I’ve ever met.

After completing the program, I landed my first job as a remote web designer using WordPress after applying to many jobs, where I discovered that I was good at not only designing websites, but also finding solutions for customers. I also discovered I could be very outspoken about ideas and concepts when working on a team. These are skills that I continue to develop today.

My interest in science and math also led me to explore the world of AI and machine learning. I’m now working with TensorFlow and Keras and developing personal projects. My hope is to continue on this path and put my knowledge to good use.

My story is proof that determination and a willingness to learn something new can take you far. It is easy to feel discouraged and give up, but persistence, as with anything, is key. Another key factor to my success was surrounding myself with people who supported my journey.

Despite facing obstacles and difficult circumstances, I continued to pursued my interests in web development and software engineering. As I continue on my journey, I look forward to creating impactful projects in the world of AI and web development. I will be posting some recent projects I have been working on and writing more about what I am learning in future posts. My next post will be on tips on how to focus your talents and skills so that you are able to succeed.

You can also view my work on GitHub and CodePen.


Interactive Web Design: Art + Code

As an artist, I love experimenting with different mediums and tools. I view the world as an open canvas with many possibilities. One of my favorite subjects to paint is light, in fact light has been the focus in the majority of my artwork since the very beginning of my artistic journey. I often paint from life using one direct light source on the subject or object I am painting.

Grisaille Study From 2020:

In many ways, I feel like my interest stems from wanting to learn more about the properties of light both in art and the physical world. I was recently inspired by a project developed on Code Pen which used a hovering affect, and I used that to build on my own project. I added various animation frames with CSS and created the text animation with JavaScript:

Would love feedback on this interactive project: Click Here

Instructions: click on Hello World, Play Music, and click and move mouse within the circle to watch the lights move.

Grand Opening of the Blacks in Classics Museum, Alexandria, VA

This past Juneteenth we celebrated the grand opening of the Blacks in Classics Museum located in Alexandria, VA, a show curated by Dr. Anika Prather, Lecturer at Howard University. The show is dedicated to showcasing Black people throughout the world that have either contributed to the Western canon or are somehow connected to it via study of the Classics. When we think of Classics we think of works by Aristotle, Homer, and Plato, but there were so many Black people that have contributed to high works of culture and literature including Frederick Douglas, Terrence the Playwright , and Phyllis Wheatley, just to name a few. This ongoing project featuring my artwork will continue to expand in the coming years and will feature more contemporary Black figures, like James Baldwin and Barack Obama.

Here are some images of the grand opening:

Intern Museum Coordinator: Alexandra Zeppeiro
Dr. Anika Prather and V.W.(artist)

Why Design Matters and art update!

Once again, I know I have not been posting as often as I want to, but soon that will change as I will finally have more time on my hands in the next few months. I am still painting in conjunction with pursuing my interest in web design. One of the fundamental reasons for this pursuit is to incorporate my artistic skill in a unique way and explore new ways of integrating art and technology. I’ve always been fascinated by human interaction and perceptions of beauty. One of the best things about being an artist is watching how people react to my art.

Key to this pursuit is answering the question, what is a good design? Principles, such as The Golden Ratio implemented by the Ancient Greeks, are rooted in the human psyche. We, for instance, are built to seek patterns and expect certain types of interactions. For example, when we enter a mall, we expect the mall to have a certain layout and color, we might expect to have escalators at the center of the facility for easy access, and we expect the bathroom to be near the food court. This example also applies to colors. Certain colors make us feel certain ways for certain reasons. Why is this important? Simply put, good design is there to aid and improve human interaction. Good design creates an experience that is useful and impactful. It is no wonder that marketers place a great deal of emphasis in understanding human psychology. As an artist, I have learn quite a bit from these principles.

Would like to hear your thoughts about design! What do you think of when you think of a good design?

I am also happy to announce that my art will be permanently housed in the future Blacks in Classics Museum in VA. My Scarborough painting is already at the location. This ongoing project will feature select key Black figures that have influenced Classical thought in the United States. The Grand Opening will be on Juneteenth this year.

Portrait of William Scarborough, Oil 16″ x 12″ Panel, by artist V.W., 2021

The second painting I am working on is of Anna Julia Cooper:

Portrait of Anna Julia Cooper, Oil on 16″ x 12″ Panel

Other key figures that will be painted are Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois.

I am also excited to be one of the featured artist for the Beaches Fine Art Series’ 50th Anniversary Celebration in Jacksonville, FL. My art will be featured alongside The GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer in March 2023. I will provide more details on that event as well as two other solo shows this year.

View my upcoming art shows here. I will be updating this information this coming week!

Lemons Delight: Oil on 11″ x 14″ Canvas

I’ve been busy these past few months with home-life and other projects, but I am excited to announce some new upcoming shows and an exciting commissioned partnership, but I will post more about these over time! This painting, along with 10 others will be featured in Jacksonville’s “A Vision for Art” show next month.

Those who know my work know that I love painting still life, especially lemons! They make me think of cheerful bright summers. For this painting, I wanted to capture the delicate light and textures of the lemon. What do lemons make you think of?

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Apples Study: Oil on 11″ x 14″ Panel

Apples Study: Oil on 11″ x 14″ Panel by Artist V.W., 2021

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays! As the year is coming to a close, I wanted to reflect on the blessings experienced this year despite all of the negative things happening throughout the world. I am grateful for my health, family, and home. I also am thankful for all of the opportunities granted to me this year and the coming year. I think it is important to remind ourselves daily that many of the things we have are blessings and luxuries instead of focusing on what we don’t have and need. Having something as simple as clean water and food is a blessing.

This will be my last painting for the year and will be taking a break until next week or so. I painted this from life in alla prima (wet-on-wet). I will be posting a full demo of my still life in the near future. I wish everyone a safe and blessed Happy New Year!

Keeping Watch Through the Storm: Oil on 12″ x 16″ Panel

Keeping Watch Through the Storm: Oil on 12″ x 16″ Panel by artist V.W., 2021

This is a painting I began a couple of years ago. I did exhibit this at a few locations and decided to put it away in my personal collection. I liked how the textures came out as well as the movement of the water–there is so much going on! I was thinking of adding a boat or a ship in the distance and may still decide to this in the future. I have a couple of shows next year, so may decide to put this in one of them.

I wanted to challenge myself to paint more abstractly, but still remain representational. I also wanted to contrast beauty and chaos. In times like these, especially, I think it is always important to remember that things are constantly moving and shifting around us and not to get lost in the negative aspects of life or get caught up in the wave of politics and ideologies. There is beauty in accepting the impermanence of nature and our state of being, and there is freedom in letting go of our negative past, feelings, and thoughts. Although impermanence seems like a scary word, there is permanence and objectivity in ideas like beauty, which means that there is always a permanent light that can be found even in the midst of a storm.

I am currently in the process of painting another storm on canvas. This one will be slightly different. Will post the finished piece once completed.

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