Co-Founders Overview • Amber Art & Design 

Amber Art & Design consists of 5 international artists based in Philadelphia. The Amber team has been working in the public art sphere for the past 10 years primarily within marginalized communities with little or no access to art. Formed in 2011 with a common goal to create meaningful public art that is transcendent, Ernel Martinez, Keir Johnston, Charles BarbinWillis “Nomo” Humphries and Linda Fernandez joined to create a platform for social practice within communities.  

WE OFTEN CREATE COMPLIMENTARY ART + EXHIBITION WORKS WHICH HELP COMMENTATE ON OUR ACTIVE PUBLIC AND SOCIAL ART PROJECTS.


Artists & Faculty


Keir Johnston, Amber Artist

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Keir studied fine art at California State University at Northridge, and painted his first mural at the age of 18. He found the immense standing of the social impact and the profound community involvement an ideal way to express creative ideals to a broader reaching audience. Becoming an advocate on many social issues and community groups, he has worked collaboratively in the production of murals with life inmates at state penitentiaries, elderly, college students, youth in detention centers, elementary and high school students, mentally and physically disabled and the general public through teaching workshops. 

CONNECTING OUR ART WITH CULTURALLY RELEVANT SUBJECTS AND COMMENTARIES ALLOWS US TO EXPAND UPON A TOPIC. IT HELPS US TO REACH NEWS AND MEDIA INFLUENCERS, EDUCATIONAL AND ACADEMIC INFLUENCERS, AND NATIONAL AND LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS—ACTIVATING CHANGE THROUGH GREATER AWARENESS AND COVERAGE.

-Keir Johnston, Co-Founder, Amber Art

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LINDA FERNANDEZ, AMBER ARTIST

Linda Fernandez received her bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Temple University's Tyler School of Art in 2006 and since then has been creating visual art with a focus on community engagement and improving access to arts programs through education and advocacy. Linda's work examines the ways in which everyday materials can be transformed into objects with a renewed purpose. She uses found objects and refuse materials to crochet bags, create jewelry, and textiles. She teaches these techniques to people of all ages and abilities; giving new life to the detritus of the street and raising awareness of the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Recently, Linda's been spearheading the development of "Hecho en" which is the craft market created by people from the neighborhoods where the markets take place. 


Ernel Martinez, Amber Artist

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Ernel was born in the small country Belize. He was raised in south central Los Angeles and Detroit. His introduction to art was through the underground world of graffiti. He Studied art at Pratt Institute and attainted his BFA from the Kutztown University. In 2004 he received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2004,Ernel has been employed by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. In 2004, Ernel began Making public art working with troubled populations. In his work he explores creative new methods of making public art. 


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Charles Barbin, Amber Artist

Charles painted his first barrel at age 16. The rest is history. From small surf shop to flagships, Charle's work has painted big, bold, and bright colors across Philadelphia(and beyond) for over a decade.         

Leading off his career working for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Charles made a name for himself. His talents and love for art and natural-born leadership skills helped him establish an electrifying body of work. Once a student at Tyler School of Art, Charle's work has been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Barnes Foundation among others. In 2014 The Painted Bride exhibited a retrospective of his personal work and paintings. And while the gala went off beautifully for Charles, it's stillnot as cool as riding and painting that very first barrel. 


Willis Nomo, Amber Artist

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Born in Mississippi and been on the move ever since. Living all over the U.S. and overseas has given this nomadic artist a broad view on life. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta; Willis channels creative energy thru many outlets from digital design to free-flowing acrylics on substrates that range from clothing apparel to thirty foot murals. His art articulates inner freedom thru outward expression. 


Colleagues & Collaborators


Sidd Joag, New York
Artist, ethnographer & cultural activist

Since 2011, Sidd has been working with freeDimensional - an international art and human rights network supporting individuals and collectives working in areas of conflict and facing persecution as a result of their creative practice  - designing and implementing programs globally to support artists, culture workers and communicators facing risk. Prior to joining fD, Sidd Joag worked with community arts projects in New York, India, China and co-founded an artist residency/exchange program in Southwestern China, focused on ethnic minority cultural preservation in the China-Burma borderlands. Sidd has an MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science with concentrations in Crime, Control and Globalisation, Cultural Theory and New Media and a B.A. in Sociology from New York University. His paintings, installations and experimental films have been seen in the United States, Canada, India, the Philippines, China, Northern Ireland and Central America.