Our Roster of Artists

Vernon Davis

NFL and Maryland Football
Artist, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

“[Art] is as big a part of who I am as football. Maybe bigger.”

Vernon Leonard Davis is a tight end for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). Born in Washington, DC, he played college football at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a Consensus All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection and set school strength records for a tight end.

In 2006, Davis was selected as the 6th pick overall in the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, where he played for nine years. In 2009 he tied the all-time record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end in a single season with thirteen, a record that stood until 2011. After nine years with the 49ers, Davis was traded to the Denver Broncos in 2015 and helped lead the team to Super Bowl 50, defeating the Carolina Panthers.

Last year, Davis returned to his hometown of Washington, DC, and signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins, later extended to three years. In addition to his passion for football, he continues his passion for art (having majored in studio art at Maryland) through the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts, which promotes art education and appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Davis continues to give generously back to the DC community and raise awareness of homelessness. In September, he worked with DC’s Covenant House to launch Vernon’s Closet, a clothing donation drive to raise awareness of youth homelessness in DC. The event kicked off Sleep Out America 2017, an event on November 16 where participants sleep outside to experience what it’s like to be homeless.


Aaron Maybin

NFL and PSU football
Artist & Educator

“All my painting I do from the soul, and very rarely does somebody understand it, But everything you see me create came from me.”

Aaron Maybin was selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills and also played with the New York Jets , Cincinnati Bengals, and in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts. In college, he was a defensive end standout at Penn State University.

After retiring from the NFL, Aaron continued to pursue his successful career in art and philanthropy, working tirelessly in his hometown of Baltimore to this day. He has added author to his accomplishments with the launch of “Art and Activism” in 2017.

His art, photography, and writing deal with many socially relevant themes and issues, drawn from his own personal experiences as a former pro athlete and growing up as a young Black man in America

Aaron has created art since his childhood, and works in a variety of mediums – pen, pastel, and paint with oil, and acrylics.


EJ Manuel

NFL and Florida State Football
Artist / Entrepreneur

EJ Manuel is a former Florida State quarterback named Gator Bowl MVP in 2010. He became the second quarterback in college football history to win four consecutive bowl games. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and went on to throw for 1,972 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first NFL season.

He grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his sister named Amber. He was also an All-American quarterback while playing for Bayside High School.

EJ has always had a love and interest in the arts since he was a young boy. He has personally used art as a way of expression and an asset to enhance his various forms of creativity. EJ has a gift to identify things in his everyday life as art including playing the position of quarterback for the NFL. He has a unique and interesting philosophy on art and how it has helped develop him as an athlete and person.

Tony Mandarich

NFL and Michigan State Football


Tony Mandarich played college football in the mid 1980’s, was twice named All American and twice named Big Ten Lineman of the Year. Tony, an offensive tackle, was selected second in1989 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

All the while, Mandarich was thinking big, crazy creative thoughts. His love for photography began in 1989 in Venice Beach, California. Tony himself was being photographed for the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine and was fascinated by how the photographer “shaped light” to create his images.

After he retired from football, and after years of perfecting his own craft as a professional photographer, Tony Mandarich achieved prominence and renown for his uniquely compelling images.


Percy King

NFL and Ohio State Football
Artist & Craftsman

“When you talk to me you are going to get more than a football story”

Percy King is a former NFL football player for the Kansas City Chiefs and a standout defensive player for The Ohio State University earning his B.A. in Communications.

After his football career, Percy further pursued his passions for creative art, travel, world history, and carpentry. progressing into original 3D wooden artwork.

With his titled series ‘Hip Hop legends’, Percy introduces an innovative 3D style of art that he has affectionately coined ‘The Shaolin Wood Technique’. This technique is best described as blending and layering wood to create portraiture art. Created to not only bring characters to life, but to also highlight the raw beauty of the wood and materials used.


Jay Demerit

World Cup Soccer, MLS, Premier League
Industrial Designer

“Arts and creativity was something I always enjoyed. For me, it was lines and textures.”

Jay Demerit is a former American soccer player who last played as captain for Vancouver Whitecaps

FC in Major League Soccer. His career is the subject of the independent film, Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, based on his rise from the ninth tier of soccer in England to the Premier League and FIFA World Cup

Jay Demerit’s professional soccer career started after graduating from University of Illinois-Chicago with a degree in industrial design in 2002.

A successful design career expanded into entrepreneurship and philanthropy after his retirement from soccer. He currently is involved with a variety of design projects, fashion companies, and non-profits. His latest work is as co-founder and designer at Portmanteau Stereo Co. creating one of a kind heirloom quality stereo speakers from reclaimed and sustainable materials.


Ridley Howard

Artist / Painter

Ridley Howard, born in Atlanta, Georgia, is a Contemporary artist known for his large, intimate portraits that are both romantic and impeccably crafted. Growing up in an athletic household, Ridley credits hard work and determination for early success playing soccer. He used that same determination while studying art, attaining a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions including: the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; The Atlanta Contemporary; the Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta and Savannah, GA; the National Academy Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; and the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN.

Howard currently lives and works between Athens, GA and Brooklyn, NY.

Brett Tomko

MLB pitcher
Artist / Painter

“For me, the best way to move on from a bad outing is to get the paints out.”

Brett Tomko is a former professional baseball player with a 14 year career in the major leagues. He finished his career with 100 wins and over 1200 strikeouts playing for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals.

Prior to his professional baseball career, Brett was a standout college athlete, Tomko attended Florida Southern College for one season in 1995, leading the team to the NCAA Division II National Championship. In 2014, the NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year Award was renamed to the Brett Tomko Award in his honor.

Brett has always pursued creative arts in balance to sports. From a young age he enjoyed creating art, illustrating, and painting and he continues today studying with famous sports artist Opie Otterstad.

Hillary Werth

US National Team Bobsledder
Artist / Painter

“Sports have always paved the way for me and art has always been my passion:”

Hillary Werth was a standout high school athlete most notably Illinois State Champion in the 100-meter hurdles. Hillary attended UCLA on scholarship for track and field and was a three-time Pac-10 Track & Field Championship in heptathlon and javelin.

Werth graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in with a B.A. in History – Art History. While continuing work on an M.A. in arts education at the University of Nebraska, Hillary was invited to Lake Placid to try bobsledding where she found instant success winning silver in the America’s Cup. Hillary committed to the sport and made the national team in her rookie season.

Creative pursuits and art have always been a part of her life. Her artwork combines graffiti, abstract and pop styles. She describes her creations as the results of her emotions pouring out, seeking composition and balance.

Joe Olney

US Army Combat Veteran
Artist / Painter

Joe Olney is a US Army combat veteran, who bravely served our country in Iraq as a sergeant and combat engineer. While deployed, Joe collaborated with demolitions experts, infantrymen, communication specialists, and medical personnel to carry out daily combat operations in both real-world and training settings.

During his US Army career, Joe completed a diverse educational curriculum attaining his BS in Geology from the College of William and Mary, and a BA in fine arts and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University.

With a desire to try new methods, Joe’s work reflects the dedication and work ethic of a brave combat soldier. He works in a variety of styles and is a very versatile artists with works in acrylic painting, drawing, and sculptural installation

Joe works and resides in Richmond Virginia.


Larry Sanders

NBA and VCU basketball
Artist & Painter

“I was thankful for art. Art was my crutch. It never disappeared, it was there throughout my whole life”

Larry Sanders was a professional basketball player in the NBA, and the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Prior to his 5 year NBA career in Milwaukee, Larry was a standout power forward at the Virginia Commonwealth University. In his time away from basketball, Sanders chose to focus on creative pursuits founding an artist collective, clothing line, and non-profit organization named Citizen of Matter.

Larry continues his work in art, fashion, and music. Working with acrylics, oils, and other mediums as well as well as merging fashion and video into his work.

Alicia Dietz

US Army Combat Veteran
Artist & Maker

“I FLY. I DRAW. I PLAY. I WORK. I RUN. I LEARN. I EXPLORE. I BUILD. I find the journey of the creative process its own reward.”

A ten-year career as an officer and Blackhawk Helicopter Maintenance Test Pilot in the U.S. Army. Alicia served in Iraq, commanded soldiers, and tested broken helicopters while stationed all over the world, including Germany, Alaska, and Egypt.

Alicia states her career in the Army unexpectedly prepared her to design and build through discipline, astute attention to detail, and an unwavering work ethic.

Alicia’s art pieces are fueled by years traveling across the globe as a woman, a soldier, and a dreamer. She employs a variety of media and techniques such as image transfers, encaustics, and glass to enhance her furniture pieces.