Houston artist Wayne Bell painting in his studio in Midtown Photo: Jimmie Aggison

Houston artist’s signature paintings lead to purpose and self-discovery

It is said that there is a difference between doers and dreamers, those who live in fear and those who are risk-takers, those who see the glass half empty and those who see the glass half full.

Houston artist Wayne Bell knows this experience all too well, from his goal of aspiring to be a doctor to now becoming one of the most accomplished painters in the city.

The Defender took a sneak peak into the world of his abstract oil paintings, hidden gems tucked away in a sunlit studio in Midtown. With each swift stoke, Bell opened up about his self-discovery and much like his signature style of painting [cross hatching], his journey to fulfilling his nonlinear life’s purpose.

“I went to Morehouse to obtain a degree in biology, got ready to take my MCAT… I did not, he said. “I ended up…getting a Bachelor of Arts degree and then moved to L.A. to pursue a career in acting.”

He credits his mother Tommacina for igniting his passion for the arts. The Chicago native found himself as a child experimenting with the arts as he dabbled with drawing, building with Legos and painting with water colors. He couldn’t shake his love for art no matter what field he chose to dive into.

In between acting and bartending he developed his niche for oil painting and the concept of the cross-hatching technique. He described it as a “new movement” that allowed Bell to “flow freely on any given surface” and gives a type of exclusivity where you can’t find his style anywhere else.

“When it comes to the [artistic] process, I’m really particular about space, lighting, layout, supplies, color…atmosphere,” Bell said. “My movement of work is called ‘atmospherism.’” It’s demonstrated in the feeling and overall vibration of my work itself. Going from lights to darks, depth, balance, symmetry, all of those concepts we learn about in the academia of visual arts is present in my work.”

Bell moved to Houston from Los Angeles in 2019. He saw the move as a great opportunity to be in an environment where people supported his vision as a Black artist. He has since left an impressionable mark in some of Houston’s fine dining establishments including Indigo restaurant where he ultimately walked away from working 9-5 completely.

“When I was working there , Jonny Rhodes and Chana his wife [owners of Indigo] ended up purchasing work from me and I hung it up in the restaurant. And from the time I hung the painting until right now, I haven’t had to work,” Bell said. “March 2020, they shut down and converted into a farmers market type of store and while I was there, I was able to gather my own clientele, so when they reopened as a restaurant, people bought my work.

“My work is all about honesty. I don’t want to be popular; I want people to feel my work and I want to change the concept of contemporary expressionism,” he said. “Art was the necessary step in the evolution of myself…it’s who I am.”


  • “Art allows me to transcend who I was before into a whole other space, because now I can create things that people can relate to and people can see themselves in.”
  • “Everything in life has to align with purpose”
  • “If you believe in what you are doing, you’ll find a way to make it conducive to who you are.”


  • First exhibition called W.A.T.E.R [What Are The Expectations of Rebirth]
  • Art work featured in Gallery Guichard for André Guichard in Chicago

Showcased painting on canvas and mirrors suspended in the air for the Trapeze, as part of a one-night-only black-tie fundraiser at the Lone Star Flight Museum and Hangar