Tag Archives: Gotta Believe

“GOTTA BELIEVE” From Counsel to Artist Princeton Lawyer Takes a Leap of Faith to Focus On Art Exhibit on August 6th

Gotta Believe

Gotta Believe

Princeton, NJ – July 25, 2016 – Princeton lawyer and artist Rhinold Ponder marks his transition from full-time attorney  to full-time artist in a special one day art show entitled, “Gotta Believe,” on August 6, 2016 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Arts Council Pop-Up Studio in the Princeton Shopping Center, 301 N. Harrison Street, Princeton.  A reception begins at 4 p.m.

For nearly 30 years, Ponder has served as an attorney.  While practicing law, according to Ponder, he could “feel the pull of art and the need to live his life more creatively” as his primary career focus.  Ponder’s artistic journey began as a child in Chicago as a national award winning art student in Chicago before turning his full attention to obtaining advanced degrees in law, journalism and African American Studies, graduating from Princeton, Boston and New York Universities.

Moved by the recent events around social justice and violence, Ponder felt it now was the time to act. He said,  “The call from my artistic passion had become so loud and persistent that I could no longer ignore that inner voice encouraging me to get back to writing and painting.  The voice kept saying “to change the world, change yourself first.”   I am surrendering to, no, I am believing that inner voice as it tells me create, share and prosper. I believe.”

Ponder has been successfully painting and exhibiting his work throughout New Jersey since 2002 when he ended a  25-year hiatus from painting and cartooning.  While his works draw on a number of themes and a range of styles, most of his paintings focus on humanity’s faith and will to overcome adversity.   Ponder’s work is largely interested in expressions of hope and faith as unifying elements in a diverse society.    His most recent exhibit, “The Rise and Fail of the N-Word,” which focused on the language of racism, made its debut at Princeton University and is slated to be expanded for national exhibition with the help of an upcoming Kick Starter project.

Ponder’s future plans also include merging his love for literature and writing with the visual arts.  His writings include political commentary and poetry.  He moderates a popular virtual discussion on race at the “Beyond Black and White Discussion Group” on Facebook.   Ponder who also studied under the tutelage of such greats as poet laureate Stanley Kunitz, Haki Madhubuti, John “Red” Hearne (in Jamaica), Gwendolyn Brooks and author Angela Jackson,  expects to complete his first poetry manuscript ”Inheritance of the Disaffected” in December 2016.

“Gotta Believe” will feature most of Ponder’s work which will be for sale as he makes room in his home studio for “all the great new work ready to be born,” he said.  The show will also feature hourly raffles of art work and books by local writers.  The show is a continuation of his love for having one day shows with  at storefronts or the

Steve Williams Wins First Love-Away Running Away

Gotta Believe


Congratulations to Love-Away Winner #1, Steve Williams, who submitted our favorite (and only) entry to round 1 of the contest. We are so glad that “Gotta Believe” will be hanging in his office accompanied with his other fave pieces.

Thank you for all the love: (491 visitors and 1129 page visits, 10 new twitter followers, loads of retweets, encouragement and as much love in comments as the many likes in the social media universe. Oh and 1 sell). But the best part was finding a home for another work. That was easy for me and too easy for Steve, but I’m so excited that the next piece, an original, will be up real soon.

Hey Steve send me a message with your address and phone number. Gotta Believe is coming home.

Infrequently Asked Questions (IAQs) About The “Great Art Love-Away” and “Gotta Believe”

Why Infrequently Asked Questions?  These are “Infrequently Asked Questions” because this is the first art love-away and they have not  been asked and answered until now.   The answers will give you a deeper understanding of what PonderArt is all about, why we are having this event and the importance of the selected work(s) in this event.  Please feel free to comment.

What is the “PonderArt Great Art Love-Away”?

As part of my mission to beautify the world, one image, one space at a time my wife, Michele Tuck-Ponder, and I donate pieces of my art to our favorite non-profits for auction. Our goal is to raise $1 Million Dollars for our favorite charities.

Fortunately, many people are touched by the work, but as it becomes more expensive, it can also become more inaccessible to folks who appreciate and enjoy the work.  So, we decided to extend our mission by giving-away three pieces of art work to individuals who love and are excited about the work.  But we’re not really “giving” it away because we want something in return — we want to enjoy and bask in the inspiration and energy of interacting with folks who appreciate what we do.   No we are not giving the work away; we are loving it away.

And because of the insistence of my wife, our feelings about this are so strong that we will pay for the postage and shipping to get the work to the winner anywhere in the U.S.  Please believe me when I tell you that my wife is responsible for that part of the our “love in return for love offering.”  She convinced me with when she stridently said something about “making the love-away truly free and  being grateful from the blessings that come from giving.

How Will We Judge The Winner?

We have no idea how many entries we will receive, but whether it’s 2 or 25 (more?), we already know the love we will receive will be tremendous.   I am always so energized and grateful when someone cares enough about a piece of my work or an image that they want to energize their own space with it.  No work touches everyone, but when someone is so excited  and pumbed and loving that they will pay to place my work in their home or office, it fulfills my daily mission to improve somebody life in some way.  So like the entire process, it will be subjective and it will be based on how the entries energize the judges.  Since, I already know most of the people I expect to apply and I know how hard it will be for me to chose alone.  There will be a panel of four judges and if a tie breaker is needed, we will use social media as a fifth judge.

How Do I Enter The PonderArt Great Art Love-Away?

See the easy  to enter instructions above.

What Should My Entry Say?

You didn’t really ask that infrequent question did you?  Be creative.  Be honest.  Be energizing.  Be real.  Write a verse.  Write a sentence.  Communicate.  Show love.

Why Are You Doing This Great Art Love-Away and will you do it again? 

There are many little reasons that we are doing this event and all of them add up to the fact that the act of giving out of love and passion multiplies the blessings for everyone involved.

I absolutely love selling paintings and I am enjoying the steady increase in what people are willing to pay for my original work.  I remember the first time someone paid $3000 for a piece, I was actually not too pleased to see it go because I really liked the work a lot.  Fortunately, I had a common-sense wife who reminded me to be grateful for three things: 1) The joy on the person’s face when she bought the painting for someone she loved; 2) the financial reward for doing something I love, even more than I make serving some legal clients; and 3) the blessing that I can paint something else I like.  So I do enjoy the selling part, but what is really core to our mission is to get the work to where it will touch someone positively and I see both selling and giving fulfilling that mission.

The funny thing about sharing something with love and for love is that it increases the value of anything in multiples.  So as we bring smiles to faces and lift hearts, we have no doubt that giving away a few pieces of art from time to time will do nothing but create value, if for no reason but to create more space in my studio for the new paintings created as a result of all the positive energy shared by the participants in this monumental event.

Our goal is to eventually give away $100,000 worth of art to individuals as we grow.  In order to make that happen, I must create a lot of enjoyable, provocative and moving works or the value of the pieces better keep going up.  Guess what I’m aiming for?

Why Are You Loving-Away A “Gotta Believe” Print First?

“Gotta Believe” is what I consider my signature piece, even as my style(s)  gravitates in other directions. “Gotta Believe” was the first painting I did nearly twenty-five years after I stopped painting after high school.  The first and most powerful image I felt in my heart, when I finally decided to resume painting, was a very simple one.  The image was of a person opening up, letting go, giving praise and showing gratitude for all the blessings that were, that are and that will be despite the trials and tribulations of life.  It was an image of faith despite darkness and turmoil.

When I painted “Gotta Believe,” I wanted to connect my artistic rebirth to a very strong history of art generally, but African-American art in particular.  As an artist,  my absolute favorite inspirations has been legendary artist  Jacob Lawrence for several reasons.  Lawrence was an inner-city kid who was taught by the masters in his Harlem community. His paintings were meaningful depictions of America life and often rendered mediums –gouache, tempura, paper, hardboard — were accessible to us as kids in underserved schools in Chicago.  I decided that the main figure in my first painting would pay homage to Lawrence and that I would do so by designing a figure not only nodding to his style but wearing the “working–class blue” he dressed many of his figures in.  But I had no desire to copy Lawrence, who is categorized by scholars as a “collage cubist.”

I knew that my artistic quest would be different, a perpetual experiment in an effort to create synergy between very divergent styles, color, image, and design.   My human figure was going to be immersed in the difficult abstractions of life as represented the by wall of color seemingly enveloping and blocking the faithful one simultaneously.  This painting began my journey to challenge conventions regarding the relationship of the human form to abstractions such as drip and splatter painting — more often than not while listening to some energizing tunes.

I am pleased and honored that others have felt their own energy, however different, from the work.

The original was given to my loving wife just in case I miss a life insurance payment. (LOL!!!)  Right now she views it in a great place of honor with lots of love.

Enter PonderArt’s First “Great Art Love-Away” And Win A Free Limited Edition Print!

Gotta Believe

Enter and win your Limited Edition Print of “Gotta Believe” (#5) by Rhinold Ponder. The deadline for submission of entries for THIS print is 5pm on Saturday, August 31, 2013.



You can own the above work by artist Rhinold Lamar Ponder by submitting an entry to the “Great Art Love-Away” per the rules below.


1. Your entry must consist of a picture and a statement, 50 words or less, depicting and describing where and how you would show the prized work your affection.

2. You must submit your entry on Twitter or Facebook.  The Twitter submission must include the hashtag  #PonderArt or #Love-Away.  The Facebook submission can be made on the Ponder Art Facebook page or under our post of the Great Art Love-Away prize.  You can post it on the original post or one of the posts shared by a friend.

3. The post must be submitted within the time limit specified for each prize.  The first deadline for “Gotta Believe” is 5pm, Saturday, August 31, 2013.

4. Only one entry per person, per painting/print.  You can submit one entry for each print or painting you are interested in.

5. There will be only one winner per household.

If you want to be contacted when you win, we suggest that before you leave this page you fill out the form below.

Please be aware that the sign-up form submits the name to our mailing list which may be used to send out more information about new Ponder Art work and events.  If you do not want to be on the mailing list you can unsubscribe from the mailing list when you receive something from us.

It’s that simple.  If you want to know more about this event — the passion behind it,  why we are doing it and why “Gotta Believe” is an extremely important image to me — please read the “Infrequently Asked Questions” below.

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