By Pat Harvey

LOS ANGELES ( — Local artist Phoebe Beasley has an eye for detail.

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Her works are collected by a Who’s Who in America: Oprah, Grant Hill, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Maya Angelou.

Yes, our own Pat Harvey is also a collector. And Beasley’s works are also showcased by the Obama family that lives at 1600 Pennyslvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Harvey recently sat down with Beasley at her Woodland Hills studio to talk to the artist about her career, her collections and her need to inspire others. She also talked to Beasley about her next project which, just so happens, is a collage bust of Barack Obama.

Beasley’s latest work will be part of “Visions of Our 44th President,” opening in September at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History.

Forty-four different artists are commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind interpretation of President Obama.

“They sent us a bust of President Obama,” says Beasley, “and it was all white. We were asked to do whatever our gift is, whatever our art is.”

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Says Beasley, “A lot of what I do is in celebration of those who came before me.”

Her bust honors “the heroes and she-roes” who preceded the president. “For me it was Shirley Chisolm … and it was desegregation of the troops by President Truman. And [Supreme Court Justice] Thurgood Marshall. I wanted them all to be part of the narrative.”

Beasley’s philosophy about her art is simple. And inspiring. “To understand where you’re going you need to know where you’ve been.”

She jumped at the chance to be a part of the “Visions of Our 44th President.” Says Beasley, “For me, it was important to celebrate my heritage.”

For more information about Beasley and her works, click here.

For a link to Hillsides, click here.

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For more about the Charles H. Wright Museum, click here.