I am Dantrell Blake. I’m from the Southside of Chicago. I’ve learned that a bad situation can open up doors if you choose the right path. I plan to start a website and travel the world with my talent.
Check out my newest music video, Back To The Basics
For more videos, visit my website febtrell.weebly.com
Deaunata Holman grew up on the West Side of Chicago. As a sculptural glass artist, drawing and illustration are integral parts of his creation process. Holman joined the Project FIRE team in 2015 and attributes his success to his mentor, Pearl Dick. In the glass studio, he excels at supporting new learners – demonstrating a strong understanding of the process and respect for the the medium.
Deshon came to Project FIRE as a SELF group facilitator for Healing Hurt People-Chicago, the trauma-informed psychoeducation group that is part of every glassblowing session.
When he saw people working with glass, he wanted to try it and was soon creating his signature goofy animal sculptures which have been selling as fast as he can make them.
Deshon is looking to attend college in Chicago and to continue his work with HHP-C and Project FIRE as a youth mentor.
Divontae is 18 years old. He is a senior in high school and joined Project FIRE in 2016. He is a glass blower. He finds glass blowing to be very therapeutic and very helpful with keeping his mind on the right track. Glassblowing brings out skill sets he never knew he had and he loves it.
Erick is thoughtful and careful in his process of working with glass. All of his ideas are sketched out and researched thoroughly before he attempts to create them in the glass studio. One of his recent pieces was a sculpture of the Sankofa bird—an Asante Adinkra symbol from Ghana that represents looking back to move forward. Erick has been in Project FIRE since 2017. He has recently been exploring engraving on flat glass and flameworking.
Joseph is a 16 year old glassblower-in-training. He’s a very laid back and chill person; works and pushes for what he wants because life wasn’t so easy for him. Even through his downs he finds a way to smile and keep a happy vibe around. He can sometimes be funny and playful but mostly looks for ways to stay on his grind.
Julian joined Project FIRE a year ago when he was 14 and is the youngest member of the group. He has since won a scholarship to attend Expanding Horizons at the Corning Glass Studio and was a finalist in the ACT-SO National Competition sponsored by the NAACP for his glasswork and his writing.
Check out the piece he created for the NAACP Competition:
Latee Smith is a student at Marshall High School and grew up on Chicago’s West Side. He joined Project FIRE in 2016 following his own first-hand experience with violence and gunfire. Inspired by a beloved cup collection of his late grandmother’s – Smith’s bold glass work centers on blown functional pieces.
"It’s easy to give up in this art form – you can take a piece so far and it breaks; sometimes you can bring it back, but most of the time you can’t. And you have to learn from that, stay positive and move forward.”
Lynquell ‘L.A.’ Biggs grew up on Chicago’s South Side - where 56th & Michigan Ave. are a staple in his memory. A student at Carter Elementary and a survivor of gun violence, Biggs joined Project FIRE in 2016, in which his diligence and imagination offered him boundless opportunities. Biggs enjoys strategy games – mastering angles as they relate to sports, billiards, geometry, and storytelling. He incorporates the same skills and finesse into working with glass.
"I enjoy the randomness of this art form. There are endless possibilities in working the vocals of glass – success is being ready to control it.”
Marco is a man of many talents. When he came to Project FIRE in 2016, he was already an avid drawer. Many of his sketches and ideas have been created in glass. His flaming football, a piece he created out of his frustration at not being able to play football after his injury, was purchased by a former NFL player. He is also working on designs for a clothing line as well as going to school to get his CDL certification to drive a truck. His other passions include massage therapy and hairdressing.
N’kosi Barber is an illustrator and sculptural glass artist from Chicago’s South Side. Barber is a Project FIRE instructor and peer educator who has been with the program since 2015. He has since been motivated to support young victims of gun violence. Barber draws inspiration from his Project FIRE students and mentors, noting that learning, patience, and trust have a great deal to do with his perseverance in the art form.
"The key processes in glasswork are failure, repetition, and refining. That’s how you achieve success.”
When Raymond was injured and had to take a break from football, which he thought would be his path, he discovered the incredible potential that he has to achieve whatever he sets his mind to do.
He is a high school senior and applying to college where he wants to study business. He has his heart set on heading down south for college and coming back to Chicago to help other young people like him realize their dreams of a successful life.
solo (and baby lyric)
Twyman aka Solo has been in Project FIRE for 3 years. He has an adorable baby girl named Lyric who is his pride and joy and is the youngest member of our Project FIRE family.
Solo is currently working with his father in New Mexico, saving up to support his young family back in Chicago.
Terrance Davis grew up on the west side of Chicago. Getting hurt showed him that there can be happiness at the end which he credits to his involvement in Project FIRE. His goal is to take this experience and use it to his greatest advantage.
Trevelli Jones grew up on the West Side of Chicago in the Austin neighborhood. He attends Legal Prep Charter Academy and is interested in the study of physics as it relates to art (think: a marshmallow catapult as contemporary art). Goofy, artistic and determined, he is a conceptual artist – more interested in ideas involved in the work rather than aesthetics or techniques. Jones learned illustration and color from his grandmother at an early age. Today, he’s incorporated his skills in colored pencil as an important aspect of of his glassblowing process.
“The way people respond to my artwork gives me hope that people won’t give up on their community.”