The Midwestern region is home to an established and growing body of artists. From veterans to newcomers, our region's diverse arts community is making its creative mark on the region and beyond. Expressions showcases the creative abilities, techniques, and inspirations of these regional artists.



Kevin Veara
Thu, Nov. 2 @ 9pm
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Kevin Veara, an artist who specializes in paintings of Illinois' plentiful plants and wildlife, is also a bird guide at Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Illinois. Veara visits the studio to discuss his work and techniques. It's art inspired by the very flora and fauna you see in your own backyard!

Nikki May
Thu, Nov. 9 @ 9pm
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Nikki May, a freelance designer for more than 20 years, joins us to discuss her career and successes.

Tom Ulrich
Thu, Nov. 16 @ 9pm

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National Geographic photographer Tom Ulrich stops by the studio, to show us his amazing wildlife photographs.

Tanya Gadbaw & Erich Neitzke
Thu, Dec. 14 @ 10pm

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Meet husband-and-wife team Tanya Gadbaw, a painter, and Erich Neitzke, a printmaker specializing in silkscreen and relief printmaking.

Paul Lorenz
Thu, Dec. 21 @ 9pm

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Chicago native and Paducah-based artist Paul Lorenz combines painting, drawing, and sound with the logic and reason of architecture.

Wil Maring
Thu, Dec. 28 @ 9pm
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Painter and singer-songwriter Wil Maring joins us in studio to discuss her multi-faceted artistic career and to perform two of her original songs. It's a musical performance that you won't see anywhere else!


Ariel Loh | Watch Online
Singapore native Ariel Loh, an SIU Carbondale graduate who is currently pursuing a M.S. Ed degree in Learning Systems Design & Technology, is also an accomplished practitioner of the traditional Japanese handcraft tsumami-zaiku. This traditional craft involves using tweezers to pinch and fold small square pieces of cloth into intricate designs, from flower petals and leaves to cranes and bird feathers, and using them as accessories. Loh is the lead author of TZArtisan, a team of internationally based women who practice tsumami-zaiku.

Jam Lovell | Watch Online
Meet abstract artist Jam Lovell, a second-year MFA candidate in SIU Carbondale’s School of Art and Design who works with the Visiting Artist Program. Lovell is a sculptor, painter, and photographer who has exhibited throughout Central Illinois and the Midwest.

Rob Lorenz | Watch Online
Rob Lorenz, of Lorenz Pottery, brings his astonishing creations to the Expressions Studio. This young artist, who listens to heavy metal music while spinning the potter's wheel, produces some of the finest traditional pottery pieces in Southern Illinois.

About the Artist: Rob has been working in clay since 2001 when he was required to take a ceramics class while pursuing a degree in art education. After taking far more ceramics classes than were necessary, he decided to pursue clay more seriously. In 2007 Rob received his BFA in ceramics from Southeast Missouri State University. In 2013 he started his masters studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Graduating with his MFA in May, 2016. Currently Rob is trying to figure out how to make all this ceramics education work in his favor.

Justin Vancil | Watch Online
Najjar brushes off the sawdust and welcomes designer/builder Justin Vancil to the studio to take a look at his one-of-a-kind woodworking creations. From elegant dinner tables to razor sharp knives carved from a solid piece of wood, Vancil creates functional art that is both beautiful and practical.

About the Artist:
Vancil earned a landscape architecture degree from the University of Illinois in 2004, then focused on this career path for the next ten years. He owned a successful design/build business for five of those years, but felt something was missing. In 2013, he sold that business and quickly discovered his true creative spirit was in working with wood. Justin loves the freedom it allows and the unending possibilities it presents in form and texture. Now, he is using his design/build skills to turn wood into functional art.

Laurie Blakely | Watch Online
Laurie Blakely has created a series of nine sculptures that explore the idea of healing through art. Najjar examines 'The Healing Hands Project' and it's upcoming film to uncover the power art has over the body and soul. Learn more about her Healing Hands Project.

Karen Fiorino & David Hammond |
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Two returning artists join us in the studio for this special, retro edition of Expressions. Karen Fiorino of Clay Lick Creek Pottery returns to give our audience an update on the many exciting projects that she's worked on since last we've seen her. We'll also talk with David Hammond of David Hammond Photography who brings his amazing photography back to the Expressions set for an in-depth look into one of the best photographic eyes in our region. 

Jennifer Kaiser | Watch Online
Jennifer Kaiser, of Jeniflower's Gallery, joins us in studio. We'll explore the many sides of this multifaceted artist and get a live, in-studio demonstration as Kaiser ignites the blowtorch to create unique cooper jewelry. 

Tim Crosby | Watch Online
Expressions broadens its horizons in this profile of local singer-songwriter Tim Crosby of the country-rock band Tim Crosby and The Lightning Strikes. Crosby and his band funded their recently-produced debut album, Resurrection Mule Farm, with a three-week Kickstarter campaign.

Bryan Dale Headley | Watch Online
Najjar and the Expressions crew is on the road! We head to West Salem, IL to visit the one-and-only,
Bryan Dale Headley - The Singin’ Blacksmith. We'll explore the amazing creations of this self-taught artist and be treated to a special musical performance.

Chintia Kirana |
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Internationally recognized artist Chintia Kirana stops by the studio to chat with her old professor, Najjar. Kirana, now the editor-in-chief for "Expose Art Magazine", shares her dynamic art and discusses how the spiritual duality of East and West culture, Buddhism and Christianity, has inspired her work.

About the Artist

Chintia Kirana's award winning works has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, in venues such as ISE Cultural Foundation (New York, USA), Zhou B. Art Center (Chicago, USA), National Art Gallery Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh), Sienna Art Institute (Sienna, Italy), Gallery Aswara (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) - just to name a few. Kirana is the founder, editor-in-chief, and publisher for an International Art Publication called Expose Art Magazine. She is currently the visiting artist and professor at Auburn University Montgomery.

Shane Ward | Watch Online
Award-winning artist and Kentucky native Shane Ward visits the Expressions set to talk about his sculptures, which explore themes of war, romance, masculinity, and violence. Ward, who spent two years as an artist-in-residence around the country and abroad, teaches sculpture, 3-D design, and drawing at the Paducah School of Art & Design.

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir

Host Najjar Abdul-Musawwir is also an alumnus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) who has exhibited his work regionally, nationally, and internationally. Musawwir is an award-winning painter, community-arts organizer, educator, and consultant who is presently an Associate Professor of Art teaching Studio Art and Art History in SIUC's School of Art and Design.

In addition to his teaching duties, Musawwir is also Vice President of the African-American Museum of Southern Illinois and an advisor to the SIUC Muslim Student Association. Musawwir has an established history with public television and has been featured on Arts Across Illinois, a production of WTTW Chicago.

Musawwir is internationally recognized for his unique painting style, which focuses on contrasting colors, movement, and symbolism. Several of Musawwir's paintings and prints are on display at The Dorsey Gallery of Arkansas, The N'Namdi Gallery of Chicago, Southern Illinois University's Morris Library, and Shawnee Community College.