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Community    |    Articles of interest to the community.

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published on 05/05/2006

A Conversation with Khambrel

By staff writer

Every once in a while you come across someone unique and different from anyone else you know. I can honestly say that Khambrel Green is one such person. I first learned about him through my son, Daniel Shartle who manages the Broad Street GRAPEViNE store. Daniel met Khambrel through Terry Cannon, artist and owner of the building and Terry met him through Anne-Cary Dodson, a therapist at Siskin.

And so you may now ask, “Who is Khambrel?” That’s what I wanted to know so I asked him to tell me his story and he did. I sat down with him, well I stood but he sat, because you see he’s in a wheel chair, and I listened as he shared his life with me.

Born in California but raised here in Chattanooga off Highway 58, he moved back to California in1993. Both his parents are educators. His father is a retired art teacher and his mother is currently teaching in Hamilton County. Khambrel always felt that he leaned toward his mother’s gift of writing and reading skills. So he got a multiple subject degree in college so he could teach elementary education.

But he decided to work at an art store instead and while there he discovered his love for painting. He said others have told him he has a gift and is talented and so he began to teach himself to paint by becoming a student of art. He immersed himself into art books studying any and all he could find, finally being inspired by the works of Frank Stella and Hans Hoffman. Khambrel learned that he could copy famous artists, however he began to develop and combine the styles of two famous artists William de Kooning, who used jesteral abstraction and Helen Frankenthaler famous for color-field painting. In one technique the painter lets you see the brush strokes and in the other layers of colors are used.

Living in Northern California, Khambrel’s paintings were not only selling throughout the Monterey and San Francisco areas but also in Taiwan and Indonesia. For four and a half years he painted and sold his paintings almost as fast as he could paint them and then on January 2, 2005 all that ended. A freak accident, a fall off a loft bed, hitting his head on the bed table, paralyzed Khambrel.

And so he moved home back with his parents bringing with him his friend Amber Maharjan, also his primary caregiver. He entered Siskin for therapy and met Anne-Cary who learned he was a painter and needed a place to paint. She introduced him to Terry who set him up with a low table so he could keep painting. According to Khambrel, his work is much softer now and not as dramatic or “thick” as he put it. His short-term goal is to continue painting enough to do a show. The teacher in him wants art to be available to all citizens and would like some of his work to be in office buildings or schools or any public buildings, “where people who do not normally collect, understand, or think about art can see it and appreciate it.” He’s going to continue his therapy and hopes one day to walk with a cane or walker and plans never to stop painting. He also hopes one day to return to California.

He thanks his family, and Amber for standing behind him, and Terry and his family for providing a place for him to paint. For me, it was a delight to get to know this young man and see his determination. Abstract paintings are very different, in my opinion, and artist can be too, but Khambrel’s desire to paint, his devotion to learning about the median of art, and his desire to share that with others is inspiring. I wish him much luck in his recovery and future as he becomes more and more established as a painter.

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