Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
top of page

First Impressions Showcase

If words couldn’t express yourself as an artist, what piece of work would? As a maker of visual pieces, how could a passerby make a first impression of who you are without needing to say a word?
For the Montross Art Center’s grand opening, 5 artists have chosen work to introduce themselves to the Northern Neck.

Emily Ransone


Ascension (I)

aluminum print 

24" x 36"

Emily Ransone is a multimedia artist working in photography, video, & graphic design. Emily is from the rural town of Warsaw in the Northern Neck of Virginia where she began capturing self- portraits around her childhood home. Ransone is a recent graduate of Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History & Photography and minors in Museum Studies and Graphic Design.


Emily’s photographic body of work focuses on conceptual portraiture and self- portraiture that explores a variety of psychological themes related to identity and the human experience.


Emily currently works as a Digital Services Intern at the Mariners’ Museum & Park where she assists with photographing objects in the museum's collection.

“Ascension I is part of a larger photo series titled Conjunctions of the Self & Space. This body of work explores the phenomenological relationship between the Individual (or the Self) and the various environments that we all move through. Through a series of self-portraits, I capture myself in a confined space, using light and shadow to evoke a melancholic scene. Ascension I is the first piece in a triptych that includes Ascension II & Penitent.”
Instagram @the.ransonian

Isabella Whitfield


Isabella Whitfield (b. 1998) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Northern and Central Virginia.

Her practice encompasses site-responsive installation, papermaking, and sculpture. She makes meditative, performative work that considers the contradictory relationships between the environment, physical homeland, human labor, and historical object functionality. Whitfield’s projects often contain an act of collaborative generosity, inviting the viewer to become part of the work through physical immersion or participatory artistic creation.

“Without context, first impressions are often mis- leading. This piece, for example, suggests a visually loud style. In reality, this work is uncharacteristically maximalist when considering my overarching art practice. Usually, I only say what is necessary, muting excessive visual noise to arrive someplace quiet. However, my reductive aesthetic is shaped by a fat stack of ideas, histories, and objects. With "i spy", I show another side of my otherwise visually simplistic track record, weaving together the overflow of concepts that inform - yet are not always visible - in my practice.”

i spy
Woven mixed media
Instagram @isabella_whitfield

Pedro Ledesma III


My work depicts moments that transcend time, inviting self-reflection. These moments echo my evolving journey of self-understanding of childhood, identity, belonging, and community, evoking moods of nostalgia, empathy, loneliness, and hope.

Like my engineering and international economics studies, photography gives me a language to under- stand and engage in the world. Though my eye

developed while living abroad, I now turn my lens towards home.

“I made this series during the pandemic. The nature embedded in the city of Richmond provided relief during this time of hardship and isolation.”   -Pedro

James River

Archival print of scanned negative w/ letterpress

Instagram @pedroledesmaiii

Tyler Storm Brady


Moss Meandering Atop a Mountain

Cyanotype on watercolor paper, katalox wood, purple wood, twine

Tyler Storm Brady is a Virginia Beach artist living in Richmond, VA and uses multiple mediums in order to represent themes such as family, nostalgia, and depression through visual design. Tyler’s current work focuses on photography, alternative printmaking methods, woodworking, and graphic design to communicate emotion and to discuss current topics. Tyler is currently a photography instructor at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond and is available for exhibitions, freelance projects, creative direction, and print production assistance.

“Moss Meandering Atop a Mountain is an image originally taken on black & white 35mm film at the peak of a mountain hike. A continuous theme throughout my imagery is beauty and life in the unexpected. The moss quietly intertwined with its ecosystem captured that. I have printed the image as a cyanotype on scrap papers woven together. The print has then been mounted to a twine bed within a frame of katalox wood with purple heart wood splines. Every- thing was recycled from

previous projects. Part of the same body of work is the piece Bloom By Way of an Alley Crack. Each symbiotically discuss the ability to find beauty and life anywhere.”  -Tyler
Instagram @tylerstormbrady

Oura Sananikone


Oura Sananikone is Laotian-American artist who paints, draws comics, silkscreens, makes Risograph prints, makes actions figures and dolls, and sometimes plays music. He likes to draw bunnies and robots and is still trying to figure out what it all means.

Oura graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000 with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking. He is currently a silkscreening instructor at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and will be teaching a customizing action figure class for children there in the summer.

He also helped open a toy store called Toy Lair last summer in the Carytown Shopping District of Richmond.


Acrylic on canvas

“With this work, I was attempting to merge my cartoony style with my more abstract one. As much as I love painting (and drawing) pure abstract shapes it seems most people more easily engage with one of my pieces when there is a character with a face in it. (What are they reaching for anyway?)” - Oura
Instagram @ourasananikone

bottom of page