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Meet the artists & teachers who are the foundation of our program!
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SAKE (Chris Kinney)

Born in 1969 in El Paso, Texas, two-time Emmy Award winning artist Sake, began his art career with inspiration from New York City’s subway graffiti. Sake was one of the first graffiti artists in California and is now well-known internationally. With his stylized lettering and characters, he has inspired hundreds of kids across San Diego County to pick up the spray can as a medium to create art. Sake’s reputation as a serious artist grew out of respect for his technical skill; he created his first portrait with spray paint in 1986. He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 for his spray paint work for the Fox Network.

Sake’s life is Art. A graffiti artist since 1982, he has also been a sign painter, tattoo artist, and graphic designer. In 2005, he added oil painting to his arsenal. He dubs his visual approach “Victorian Surrealism meets the Cleavers.” He is inspired by discarded photography, historical costumes and styling, the draftsmanship of vintage machinery, and his two children who love to interrupt his painting. He was featured in the book, “The History of American Graffiti,” and currently works out of a home-based studio in San Diego, California.

Sake has received numerous awards: in addition to his two Emmys, he has been a Sega national contest winner for “Graffiti is Art” (2000); received I.P. Gallery’s  Best in Show for "Lock Down" (1997); Vogue Magazine’s Best Street Design for Stoopid Clothing by Sake (1993); and received the N.I.T.V.  Indie Award (1991). He has been profiled in numerous publications, including a Q&A for The Artist Odyssey and has had numerous museum shows and dozens of local, national, and international exhibitions.


Brian D. Black originally comes from the Chicago-land area and moved to California in 2000. He received his Masters of Art degree in Sculpture from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and has exhibited work nationally and intentionally. He currently works as an art instructor at Will Crawford High School in San Diego, CA and serves as the chair for the San Diego Unified School District VAPA Advisory Council.


Brian’s artwork focuses on sculpture, drawing and new genre. He is also part of the collaborative team Brian & Ryan know for installation and performance-based work. Brian can be reached by email at or through Instagram @brian_d_black.

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Angelina Maniti graduated from Cal State University of San Marcos with a BA in Sociology in 2019.Throughout the years, and despite art not being her major, she has aimed to take as many art classes as possible.


Art is a huge part of her life; her creations represent an extension of herself. When she has trouble expressing herself with words, she turns to art, where she can freely and more easily convey her thoughts. She is often struck with ideas and inspiration for new pieces when she finds herself needing a way to speak out. Through a sculpture’s form, she is able to physically manifest her voice. What may have started out as a small idea blooms into vivid life once she begins sculpting.


With every piece that she completes, she uncovers a different aspect of her personality. She is always excited to see the final result, not only for the sake of the art piece itself, but also for her well-being.



Joseph Curiel was born in Perris, California from Grateful Dead-obsessed parents and raised in Menifee, Ca. Growing up, Joseph observed his brothers chaotic lifestyles' which opened up a world of peculiar, eccentric, and sometimes freaky people in and out of his home.These creative and unfiltered people often left drawings and art objects around the house which he would then study and copy.


After graduating from high school, Joseph
moved to San Diego’s North County to attend community college at MiraCosta college, as his
family had been successful attending there. Joseph has two children and has successfully created a solid family structure with his partner that continually flourishes in art, music, and a passion for creating and maintaining an artist community in North County San Diego.


Joseph is currently developing his technical mastery of various disciplines while simultaneously teaching
the theory and technical aspects of various art practices to young children and members of the
community of San Diego.



Born in San Diego, JoAnn Johnson traveled extensively as a child of a military family. Moving to Nuremberg, Germany, Columbia, South Carolina, then returning to San Diego to attend La Jolla Elementary School. In third grade, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida and attended Lucy Moten Elementary on the campus of Florida A&M University. The family remained in Florida until being stationed in Germany to return to the United States in 1967. JoAnne and her family made their home in Jefferson City, Missouri where JoAnne graduated from Jefferson City Senior High School in 1970. She went on the receive a BA degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1974.  JoAnne went on to receive a Master of Arts in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1992. 

Ms. Johnson in her 45 years of teaching experience, she taught at four different High Schools, receiving awards such as ALBA Community Day School "Teacher of the Year" 2008, 2001, 2012 and Ford Community School " Extraordinary Effort " Award, 1998 

JoAnne is an enthusiastic advocate for the arts and art education. A member of the San Diego Cultural Arts Alliance for six years and recently retired from the San Diego Unified School system. Ms. Johnson plans to continue her artistic “mission” here in San Diego by working with the Arts Alliance and pursuing her own personal artwork. 

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Kim Phillips-Pea is President and Co-Founder of Southeast Art Team and Art Director, SD Hip Hop 5K. The two groups consist of a team of artists and community members of all ages dedicated to highlighting, enhancing and honoring the rich culture and history of art and wellness in District 4 San Diego and surrounding areas. 

Kim has more than 20 years of creative work throughout the City of San Diego including murals, art events, team management, collaborative efforts and work with the youth. Kim is well known for her volunteer face painting service which has now expanded to free face paint workshops and an apprentice program for a local teen. 

From murals to interior design at local businesses, Kim’s overall goal is to leave the area more beautiful than how she found it. Her belief that “one way to learn about a city is to take a look at its walls” is the driving force behind many of the projects by Kim and Southeast Art Team. Continued collaboration and partnerships with companies, city officials, non-profit organizations and community members keep Kim’s objective of utilizing her experience and skills to spread awareness about the impact of art in school’s homes, and businesses ongoing. 

Kim’s experience includes managing the Let’s Live Let’s Love Utility Box Campaign with San Diego Gas and Electric and District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery. Kim received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award from Project New Village and created the Southeast Summer Art Camp. Kim’s Malcolm X Program at Malcolm X Library is going into its 5th year on May 19, 2020, Kim also managed the youth zones at the 2019 Diamond Street Festival and the 2020 MLK Celebration and Parade.



Cody Griffith was born in San Diego, California. He then spent his formative years in the small town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduation, He decided it was time to head back to America's Finest City. 

Cody's passions are: creating art, nature, animals, food, and volunteering. He incorporates these passions into his daily life, relationship and teaching career. 

Cody has two furry children: a chihuahua named Sia and a muted tabby Maple. He also got engaged just this February in Mexico City. When he is not at home binging The Office or listening to podcasts, you can find him tinkering at The Urban Art Shop in University Heights or hiking one of the various amazing nature spots in San Diego. 

Find his work on Instagram at @vincentghoste or send him an email at

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