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By Stephanie Frederic, Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson will introduce a new art exhibition by motion picture hairstylist Robert L. Stevenson on Sunday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Museum of African-American Art, located at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall, Macy’s 3rd Level, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. Entitled “Head Trips: Art as Seen Through the Eyes of a Hollywood Hairstylist,” the exhibit will display Stevenson’s collection of forty, limited edition lithographs in pen and ink. Stevenson has served as Jackson’s hairstylist for films for the past 13 years.
“Robert has been a part of my team longer than anyone, 13 years. He’s simply the best at what he does. I’m very happy to support the debut of his art.”
An Emmy award-winning hairstylist, Stevenson began pursuing art late in life. In the last four years of his forty year film career, his creative talents began to flow as a pen and ink artist. Stevenson “Head Trips” collection includes contemporary portraits of men, women and children in caricature with intricately drawn hairstyles and hair related accessories. The drawings are completed with bold, bright Prisma Color art markers.
Through his artistic eyes as a hairstylist, Stevenson recognizes very keenly how
Robert began working at Universal Studios in 1969 on a host of popular television shows including Marcus Welby MD. He later started working on major motion pictures in 1976 and has worked on over 100 films since that time.
Here are some of his films:
people use hair designs, hats, wraps, ribbons and other accessories to adorn themselves, express themselves and, in many cases, identify who they are. A self-taught artist, Stevenson began doodling on movie sets as a way of passing time during long production days. His work eventually developed into a style unlike any other. Today his creative juices continue to flow and there seems to be no end to the delightful images he creates.
“My art work is simply fun. When you look at my renderings, you will, no doubt, identify with some of them or they will remind you of people you know. More than anything, I hope they bring a smile to your face,” Stevenson says.
The exhibit will also be a retrospective of Stevenson’s 40 year career, displaying pictures of him working with top stars throughout the years. Wigs worn by stars in well known films will also be displayed, including Richard Pryor (Which Way Is Up), Jennifer Beals (Flashdance), Margaret Avery (The Color Purple), Samuel L. Jackson (Jumper, Black Snake Moan, Unbreakable, Jackie Brown, Caveman’s Valentine), Angela Bassett (Waiting to Exhale, What’s Love Got to Do With It), Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America) and more.
“My art work is a tribute to my career as a motion picture hairstylist, which has been incredible. My renderings are a way of paying homage to a long and successful career. My profession has provided me with many great opportunities, as well as allowed me to provide adequately for my family. My life experiences have been more than I ever could have imagined when I was a young boy growing up in the Jordan Downs Housing Projects in Watts, California,” Stevenson humbly offers.
In the film industry, Stevenson is highly regarded for his creativity, speed and, most of all, his attention to detail. Prior to working in the motion picture industry, Stevenson had a successful hair salon on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. He trained to become a hairstylist at Flavio School of Beauty after completing a tour of duty in the U.S. Army.
He is the oldest of twelve brothers and sisters, born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Los Angeles, California. The Stevensons’ are a creative family and many of his siblings excel in various forms of art. Inspired by his successful career, two of his sisters also work in the film industry -- hairstylist Linda Khan and makeup artist Joanetta Stowers. He has had the honor of being a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for more than ten years.
Stevenson has been married for 31 years to film publicist, Rosalind Stevenson, who recently retired as President/CEO of Roz Stevenson Public Relations. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
“I have had a blessed, fulfilling career. I have traveled all over the world, meet many wonderful people and worked on many memorable films. I look forward to what God has in store for me in the years ahead,” Stevenson concludes.
The “Head Trips” limited editions lithographs, signed by the artist, can be purchased at the Museum of African-American Art or visit the website: www.rlstevensonart.com. The exhibit runs from Sunday, August 17 through Friday, October 31.