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CLEASTER COTTON Colors and Codes - Artist Reception

March 16th, 2016

CLEASTER COTTON Colors and Codes - Artist Reception

Colors and Codes
Contemporary Art & ALNUGE Hieroglyphics
March 4 – 30, 2016
Artist Reception:
Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA)
Highsmith Student Union
Intercultural Center Art Gallery
One University Heights
First Floor - Room 114
Asheville, NC 28804

Cleaster’s approach to creating art is organic, innovative, unexpected, and honest. With a refreshing use of texture, shape, line, and color, she manipulates conventional and unconventional materials to produce an eclectic range of vibrant paintings. Cleaster uses the light as her ally to create environmentally interactive works of art. Her paintings transform according to the viewer’s perspective. The interplay with natural light and changes in ambient lighting, reveal the shifting, mystical narratives of the solar day, lunar evening and both the metaphoric and literal human quest for light. Cotton says, “Have some fun with my paintings. Experience the colors and play with the codes.”

Born into a large, close-knit family, Cleaster Cotton was lovingly raised by southern parents in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. In the vanguard of arts and academic education, a precocious Cleaster joined a research team and began international travel during early adolescence.

At age five Cleaster was inspired to be an artist by her mother. Geometrics were at the core of her mother’s training, and geometrics continue to inform Cleaster’s artistic expressions and teaching style. Her mother’s early training led Cleaster to inventing the Modern Day Hieroglyphics - ALNUGE ["al-new-gee"] (Alphabets Numbers Geometrics.) ALNUGE Code Games and Puzzles is fun, game-based educational curriculum that fosters creativity, innovation, and brain health. Cotton has used the ALNUGE Codes to teach art and academic education for over a decade to PreK-20.

Cleaster attended Fordham University and San Diego City College. She is a Master Teaching Artist and Education Specialist who focuses on Constructive Instructional Design. Her influential art exhibits and contributions to STEAM education spans the USA and abroad. Her partnerships include Westchester Arts Council, High Museum of Art, Georgia Council for the Arts, City of Atlanta, Museum of Design Atlanta, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville City Schools Foundation, LEAF in Schools and Streets, Mission Health, and several national Boards of Education.

“We are all artists at birth. Many of us are taught otherwise, when our creativity is stunted and not nurtured by our family or teachers. I love the powerful healing qualities of art and the way it embraces and joins people across the planet like global glue. Art nurtures children to grow into creative, productive adults and grows adults into innocent children with uncharted imaginations.” ~ Cleaster Cotton

Sales support K-20 STEAM game-based education and brain health.

Visit Artist’s Website:
Visit ALNUGE Website:
Contact us with inquiries: (828) 367-7708 /

Still Life and Living Whimsy CLEASTER COTTON

March 27th, 2014

Still Life and Living Whimsy CLEASTER COTTON

Presenting new work that showcases a selection of rich, vibrant still life and a colorful collection of whimsical creatures... by popular demand. Art for all ages.

Exhibit Opens: Thursday, April 17, 2014 (6PM)

Curated by: Julia and Mark Goldthwaite of The Paintbox

A portion of the proceeds benefits: ALNUGE, Arts and STEM Education to help children learn.

The Junction Restaurant and Bar
348 Depot Street
@ the Pink Dog Creative Building
River Arts District
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 225-3497

Please join us.

Best regards,



CLEASTER COTTON ART BLOG Do We Value What We Consider Beautiful?

March 20th, 2014

CLEASTER COTTON ART BLOG  Do We Value What We Consider Beautiful?

As creators of art, we are enhancers, enrichers, image-makers, shape-shifters, storytellers, magicians, and magi. In days long gone by, artists were cared for by benefactors, because we were valued for our visual storytelling and our ability to beautify. Let us value ourselves and each other, as artists, and drive our value up by collecting and promoting each other’s work… whether through barter or bills.

As an African American female artist in a European-dominated art industry, if I allowed my productivity to be determined by the fact that a lower value is placed on my work because it was created by someone who looks like me, I would not publicly present or promote my art or myself. Let’s face facts. The public definition of human beauty, in this country, does not contain any of my features. But, I have not and will not allow that to stop me from feeling beautiful. On the contrary, it is what I see in the mirror and when I look around the dinner table, at family, which makes me feel so beautiful. LOL!

Millions of people choose to purchase art which is beautiful and pretty to them. Some people choose art which has no meaning because that is what they prefer. There is no need to judge. There is, however, a need to create from our truth, our heart, our gut, our soul. Let us be true to our reason for creating art. It is a lifeline by which some of us make a decent living. Creativity sustains me like air… water… without it, I cease to be myself. I continue to produce because I must.

How many of you have seen a painting (which carries no personal significance) stir up more conversation and call for a higher price than one would ever imagine? Press, publicity, and critics create hype and value. Collectors and curators love it and latch on. And, the artist becomes valued. One column or blog can flush an artist's would-be income down the toilet – right along with their ego, reputation, and right to go down in art history.

As a Visual ‘Herstorian’ of African descent, I have a great deal to contribute to the global art scene. Yet, my fate is set by those who do not relate to my truth, perspective or originality. All of my work has meaning to me. All of it is beautiful to me. Some of my work has a deeper meaning than others… narratives… visual storytelling, which reflects the contemporary and primitive truth of my existence and my ancestors in inner and outer space. Some of my work pertains to the African experience across the diaspora. In some paintings, Exo Political signs and symbols show up. And some of my work is a concert of beautiful colors, line, texture and tone.

Artists, sometimes, have the opportunity to share the meaning of our work. We are in the business of art. Let us keep our eye on what we are here to do... create and not miss a stroke. Here’s to making pretty art, simple art, meaningful art, controversial art. Here’s to making art that speaks our truth. When the politics of the art-making process gets heavy… I lift my head, throw it back, let out a belly laugh, and keep throwing paint.

I wish you success on the journey!

Contemporary Primitive, Pop, Folk, Exo Political, Outsider Artist, Photographer
ALNUGE Inventor, SETSE Founder, Master Teaching Artist, Advocate for Children
(January 27, 2013)

CLEASTER COTTON Pink Dog Creative Artist In Residence

December 5th, 2013

Date: December 5, 2013

CLEASTER COTTON Pink Dog Creative Artist In Residence

Pink Dog co-founders, Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer, announce:

Cleaster Cotton will be working in the studio space adjacent to Randy Shull’s studio. Cotton’s work will be on exhibit and for sale, while she works in an open studio setting through January 13, 2014 (noon till 7PM.)

Cleaster shares, I am passionate about art and education. The goal to make ALNUGE accessible to every child… in the rainbow of children, everywhere… at no cost to them. A portion of the proceeds from sales of my art will benefit ALNUGE (Alphabets Numbers Geometrics,) a K-12+ STEM, core curriculum and art activity that fosters creativity, academic excellence, innovation, and ingenuity. Here’s to placing ALNUGE Activity Boards in classrooms, community centers, homes, and in every environment where children learn!

Thank you, Randy and Hedy, for the opportunity of this residency. I appreciate you and your support in positively impacting arts in education and the lives of children.

Pink Dog Creative
342 Depot Street
River Arts District
Asheville, NC 28801
(Cleaster is in the southeast corner of the yellow building)

Call (828) 367-7708 for commissioned art and to schedule hands-on art classes. We welcome individuals, families, and groups.

Artist / Painter
Inventor & Founder of ALNUGE
Master Teaching Artist (Specializing in Teacher Training, Visual Art, Communications, Language Arts, STEM, & Core Curriculum)
~ ~ ~

CLEASTER COTTON Color Palette A Contemporary Art Exhibit

October 22nd, 2013

CLEASTER COTTON Color Palette  A Contemporary Art Exhibit

Contemporary Art Exhibit and Sale

Tasty Taste Restaurant and Event Center
5151 West Fayetteville Road
College Park, GA 30349
Reservations (770) 703-8119
Restaurant (404) 451-3141

Meet the Artist at the Opening Reception on
Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 6-9PM

See you there!

Cleaster Cotton
Artist / Educator / Inventor
(828) 367-7708

~ Exhibited through December 14, 2013 ~


June 13th, 2013


Exhibit Opening Reception
Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 6PM

The Junction
348 Depot Street / Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 225-3497 /

Cleaster Cotton, Contemporary Primal Artist
(828) 367-7708 /


Art is my journey to freedom. I love the powerful healing qualities of art and the way it embraces and joins people across the planet like global glue. Art nurtures children to grow into creative, productive, well-adjusted adults and grows adults into innocent children with uncharted imaginations.

CLEASTER COTTON: On The Topic Of Color… is a collection of contemporary primal acrylic paintings. Each tells a story in its abundant symbolism.

While viewing a painting, move around and look at it from different perspectives and in different lighting. Layers of colors will move from the background to the foreground, and mid-range colors will suddenly pop. The texture (or as I call it… the under-painting) affords another visual aspect for conversation. The paintings reveal an unusual variety of color combinations. And, it appears as if one painting is layered on top of another. This effect is done by my signature technique in color combination, color application, and the use of texture, layers of paint, and glazes.

Art, a wonderful vehicle of communication, has been a high form of storytelling and record-keeping through the ages. It is my hope that this exhibit will foster communication and some degree of healing between the colors/races.

I invite you to consider color… how colors relate to and interact with each other on the surfaces of my printings, within our relationships, in our local communities, and our global societies. I am grateful for this opportunity to present a creative platform by which to consider and discuss the topic of color in Asheville, North Carolina.

~ Cleaster Cotton, June 2013

'Cleaster Cotton is a dynamic and visionary artist.’ ~ Randy Shull & Hedy Fischer
Artists, Entrepreneurs, Activists, Owners ~ Pink Dog Creative
Asheville, North Carolina USA (2011)

President Obama Recommends and Supports STEM Education... ALNUGE is STEM and Art Education.

February 13th, 2013

President Obama Recommends and Supports STEM Education... ALNUGE is STEM and Art Education.

ALNUGE (Alphabets Numbers, Geometrics) is a K-12 STEM core curriculum and art activity which fosters creativity, academic excellence, innovation, and ingenuity.

“When teachers have fun teaching, children have fun learning.”
~ Cleaster Cotton, Founder/Inventor ALNUGE™

• is fun to teach and learn;
• is a teacher’s resource for STEM education;
• is based on a visual language composed of letters, numbers, and geometric shapes;
• fits the guidelines and standards for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS,) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics,) STEAM (STEM + Art,) and Developmental Assets;
• improves education and the educational process.

Consultations and bookings:
• K-12+ STEM academic content
• STEAM (STEM + Art) arts content
• Professional development
• Team building (for families, educators, communities, organizations, companies, and corporations)
• After school enrichment programming
• Recreational arts activities

Contact us:
(828) 367-7708
~ ~ ~

Planet Art Features Artist CLEASTER COTTON

February 5th, 2013

Planet Art Features Artist CLEASTER COTTON

Brandy Clements, Owner Discover Planet Art writes:

I was fortunate to be invited to Cleaster’s home studio nearby Planet Art in the River Arts District. We had tea and discussed travel and art and Asheville and how you need to BYOJ (job). Then she showed me piece after piece of her work…the likes of which I’ve never seen… Art I’d expect to see for $10,000 in the MOMA or Guggenheim...

Her body of work just for the last couple of years could fill Blue Spiral and you could spend days on her site, lost in her world of creative visions...

Can she get any more spectacular? Yes, she can. She also created an alphabet called ALNUGE (TM.) ALNUGE is a K-12+ STEM, core curriculum and art activity which fosters creativity, academic excellence, innovation, and ingenuity. ALNUGE, a teacher's resource for STEM education, is based on letters, numbers, and geometric shapes. It fits the guidelines and standards for the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics,) and STEAM (STEM + Art.)

Please, support local artists. Go to for your next greeting card or gift purchase. Spread the word. Visit her on facebook. Stop by Studio 375 Depot in the River Arts District to see the art of Cleaster Cotton in person. Keep your eyes open for her next show…you will be part of art history in the making!

For the Discover Arts full story and colorful images, just click below...

Black History Herstory Month Trifecta CLEASTER COTTON

February 1st, 2013

Black History Herstory Month Trifecta CLEASTER COTTON

For Black History/Herstory Month...

Support the Trifecta... CLEASTER COTTON... Black Female Artist.

Gratitude and miles of smiles... CLE

Searching for the Gallery I Can Call Home

January 31st, 2013

Searching for the Gallery I Can Call Home

Brooklyn-born Artist, CLEASTER COTTON, searches for the gallery she can call home.

My thoughts on the subject...

Locating the proper gallery and representation for an artist can be quite a challenge. It takes research, confidence, knowing your product, pricing, and faith that the right match is out there and the connection is eminent. A home gallery is essential, and has a great impact upon an artist's success.

The gallery's physical space should be clean, well-lit, and serve your creative needs. The location should be visible and accessible. The gallery should have a stable base of collectors and artists, goood publicity, public relations, and a great track record. The gallery owner should be welcoming, have good communication skills, and thorough knowledge of the artists and the art.

Take notice of the list of artists currently represented by the gallery and find out if they are making sales and getting paid in a timely fashion.

The key is in the relationships. So, put in the time and do your research, demonstrate confidence, sell yourself as a viable, valuable brand, and an interesting personality. Be clear and concise, when you communicate. Put your best foot forward. And, before you make a decision on representation, make sure you ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to be represented by this gallery in the first place?” Then, listen to your gut. With all your homework done... you will know it when you feel it.

~ ~ ~


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