SANTA MONICA—The new artist-in-residence through the Camera Obscura Art Lab program is Zeal Harris who will be hosting workshops and creating a series of narrative paintings that will explore the impact of police violence on interpersonal relationships from August 10 through November 12, according to a press release from the city of Santa Monica.

Harris works with difficult realities with a colorful style and panache. She is known for her critical, caricaturesque, narrative artworks that have a whimsical, bold and urban-vernacular flavor.

“My work is about revealing characters on journeys,” said Harris. “Whether the journey is brief or epic, tells a linear or non-linear story, or is recognizable or obscure, my paintings serve to complexify grand narratives of Black lives and prompt fresh dialogue about sociocultural issues. Making visual art can be an isolated activity, so being here in downtown Santa Monica next to the Pier and seeing diverse people making good memories is inspiring. Another social break is dancing, and that’s something I want to share while I’m here. For me, dancing grounds and enables me to be in a place where I am able to make art about love and danger and other tough subjects.”

Public events will be held with Harris such as drawing and painting workshops and salsa lessons. While in residence Harris plans to research the history of the “Inkwell” section at Santa Monica Beach for future beach-inspired paintings. Her main focus while in residence is to complete several planned works for shows along the coast.

Harris was picked out of a number of candidates for the 14-week residency through the Camera Obscura Art Lab program after applying for the residency and having a panel process choose her, Naomi Okuyama, Cultural Affairs Supervisor for the city of Santa Monica, told Canyon News in an email.

“The Camera Obscura Art Lab program is inspired by the vision of creating a cultural outpost open to all adults here in the midst of the plethora of shopping and amusement options by the Pier and Downtown,” Okuyama told Canyon News. “The Studio Residency program was instituted as a way to benefit both artists with rare studio space and the public with an intimate view onto the creative process and opportunities to learn from a variety of artists in an extremely accessible way.  The Residency connects the public with artists and artisans working within and between the worlds of fine art and craft. Artists-in-residence share their work with the public informally through studio visits and through scheduled workshops and master classes.”

The following workshops will be taught by Harris during her residency:

– Blind Contour Drawing with Zeal Harris: Saturdays 8/13, 8/27, 11/5 & 11/12, 11:00am-2:00pm – $5

– DIY Watercolor Paintbox with Zeal Harris: Saturday 9/3, 11:00am-1:00pm – $5

– Painting on Yupo with Sumi brushes with Zeal Harris: Saturdays 9/10 & 9/17, 11:00am-2:00pm – $5

– Cuban Salsa Dance Lesson & Social with Ludis Benitez: Saturday 9/24, 12:00-3:00pm – $5

– Acrylic Painting Basics with Zeal Harris: Saturday 10/1, 11:00am-2:00pm – $5

– Acrylic Painting on Nontraditional Surfaces with Zeal Harris: Saturday 10/8, 11:00am-2:00pm – $5

– Developing Story through drawing and painting with Zeal Harris: Saturdays 10/15 & 10/22, 11:00am-2:00pm – $5

– Cuban Salsa Dance Lesson & Social with Kati Hernandez: Saturday 10/29, 12:00-3:00pm – $5

– Studio Artist-in-Residence Zeal Harris Final Presentation: Saturday 11/19, 2:00-5:00pm – Free and open to all

To register for the workshops to be taught by Harris visit and search for the keyword “Zeal.” Artists who are interested in future opportunities like this can signup for the Artist Opportunity email list at or check out this page,