BIO Ricardo Osmondo Francis was born September 8, 1976 in Houston, Texas. He attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD, and received a BFA in 1998 in painting. His mixed media paintings and drawings are best described as lush surrealistic narratives that often depict the social constructs of racial identity, masculinity, economics, and the complexity of human existence through mesmerizing contemplative portraits, still life, and abstract compositions. He is a founding member of BLAFTCO, an alternative visual art group where Francis first began conceptualizing and developing large scaled art projects and art exhibits. Since 1992, he has created a wide variety of community based, innovative multi-media projects and exhibitions such as The New Museum (1994), Public Opinion (1996), and All Sizes/Real People (1997). In 2000 Mr. Francis developed his own visual arts company, called Apanamae Productions. At that time the artist produced solo exhibits for his own work such as “Exhibit A” (2002) and “New sKIN” (2003). Also as a writer and director, he has produced a number of major multi-media performance projects, some of which include “Que Hora Es?” (2002) And “The Anonymous Life” (2005). At the present time Francis is the Gallery Director of LeonidesArts NY, an artist run multi-media visual arts organization dedicated to presenting contemporary art exhibitions and/or public art projects that reflects a variety of distinct artistic styles, themes, disciplines, and cultural experiences outside of the conventional art gallery tenet. From 2011 to last year Francis previously developed and served as Curator in Residence for the 32 Jones Gallery at the Hudson Pride Connections Center in Jersey City, NJ. Some selected exhibitions the artist has created during his tenure at HPCC include “Do Ask Do Tell” (2011), “Becoming Who We Are” (2011), MAN/kind” (2012), “Sight and Sound” (2012), and HERE’S TO LIFE” (2012). Francis also premiered “You Are Here” (2012) at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center in Brooklyn, NY where he now serves as the Curator in Residence for their community outreach programming in the visual arts. Awards received by Mr. Francis include a Level 1 Scholarship in Painting from both Musicfest and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, as well as the coveted Presidential Scholarship in the Arts on behalf of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. His work is in various private and corporate art collections around the US, and has been featured in publications such as Vibe and Swerv magazines, Callaloo: A Literary Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, and Liberty, an expatriate magazine in Dubai, U.A.E.