Photo of Rosie
Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1951, Rose has spent most of her adult life in the bay area. She discovered her passion for art in 1996 and has been painting on mostly ceramics ever since. Rose received national recognition in fall of 1999 after appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and later her work was featured in "O" Magazine. Rose stumbled across her artistic interest and talent over 20 years ago when she and her younger sister Maxine Jones a former member of the female R&B recording group EnVogue started an ethnic line of bath and skin care products in California. Rose has long collected retro African American artifacts and inspired by her collection, began sketching designs for her won label, she soon found herself hooked on painting the nostalgic images. Soon after opening their retail shops in Novato and San Rafael, CA., a reporter wrote about some of her ceramic pieces and the other items sold in their store. It wasn't long before Gayle King, well known as Oprah Winfrey's best friend, commissioned Rose to paint a set of plates for Oprah. Rose is well aware that the images she paints can be painful reminders of oppression and abuse, however she insists although this imagery is controversial it is still a part of our culture. Lisa Woolfork, Assistant Professor of English at UVA says "In terms literary and cultural study, there's a tradition of black women artists trying to reclaim things that could be considered racist, it's a commendable strategy to seize the reins of interpretation" says Woolfork, "to put racist on notice that they don't get to control the terms of conversation or inquiry of debate." Rose agrees that her art can only be created by a black person, African Americans will never trust whites to do this imagery. Rose has recently returned to the bay area after spending years in Charlottesville, VA., where she became a resident artist at the Mc Guffy Art Center. During her time in Virginia Rose and fellow artist friend Lindsay Michie Eades created and art program for inmates that were incarcerated in the Central Virginia Penal system. They taught art in the local regional jail and in three different prisons to both male and female inmates, the art program was hugely successful and is the work she is most proud of.
While I am keenly aware that Black face and similar art forms evoke painful memories and emotions for some. I fully respect their feelings, past experiences, and perspectives and I am sensitive to their pain. That being said, my love for this artform is natural and organic. I refuse to apologize for that love as it is something that I can control no more than I can control being born Black. It just is….
This amazing art form, like many other elements of our culture were stolen from us and then weaponized to dehumanize and oppress us. I see it as only natural that we reclaim what was rightfully ours. This imagery appeals to people for many different reasons as is evident by the reality that it has never really left us. One would be foolish to assume that all love of this artform is rooted from a place of hate or to glorify oppression and savagery. My goal is to defuse the negative power that we have unknowingly given this art. Instead, we have the amazing opportunity to learn and understand the history and progression of this artwork and to challenge the age-old stereotypes and stigmas that are often incorrectly linked to the history and inception of these works.
What’s next for me?
My team and I are busy planning my upcoming series of virtual paint and party classes. Paint and Party with Rose Hill. We will also be partnering with companies, civic organizations, and nonprofits to assist in their fundraising efforts.
I am also extremely excited to be the featured guest on the upcoming talk show, Exploring DEI Inroads with Brian Martin. Brian is a D&I practitioner, consultant, and trainer. Brian is a DEI Liaison for the Human Rights Campaign and he sits on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council for the Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas.
Brian is a long-time close family friend. We will spend time unpacking the history, stigmas and misconceptions that are associated with Black face and other satirical black art forms in a series of discussions that will include fellow artists who appreciate this artwork and other DEI thought leaders.