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Raymond Broady is a Chicago native who has a long career in architecture. He is also a painter whose primary medium is watercolor. Similar to the manner in which writer, Jack London observed the world, Raymond's impetus is emphasizing man's delicate relationship with his physical environment.

For Raymond, that space is the African Diaspora - street scenes from Chicago's South Side and Bahia to the stillness of rural Mississippi and Goree Island. Yet, he shrugs off the notion that his skills are a "gift." It's merely a different lens through which he sees the world.

"Because of my training, I see things -- some things in nature, some activities taking place between individuals or groups of individuals -- in an artistic, aesthetic way," he says.

"I can compose what I see, hear and think into an art form that can be enjoyed and better understood by those without the practiced eye."

Ever since his preschool days, he has pursued art. Raymond's mother fostered his talent early on when she noticed his interest in many art related hobbies. His elementary school drawings led his mother to enroll him in art classes at Jane Addams Hull House, the YMCA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Boys Club - basically any venue she could find and afford.

During those years, Raymond soaked up his surroundings, which influenced his identity and sense capturing how people relate to their space. He grew up in a city of ethnic neighborhoods that were different - and in some ways similar - from the West side housing project where his family lived.




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