Jaleel Campbell is a name you should file away for future reference. It’s just hard to decide what category to file it under. He describes himself as multidimensional. “So, I’m an illustrator. I am a producer. I am a doll maker. I am a videographer. I do a little bit of everything.” “And you like it that way?” he was asked. “I love it that way!”
Jaleel is a Syracuse native with Fine Arts degrees from Cazenovia College and SUNY Purchase. Some of his work is currently on display at the Everson Museum, in his first solo exhibit called “Homecoming.” (Check it out at www.everson.org.)
“I have a distinct style and flavor to everything that I do,” the artist says. “And so, I believe that that shines through in all of my projects. You know a Jaleel Campbell project when you see it.”
When Jaleel was a high school student at Nottingham, he says there were not a lot of people that looked like him who could point him toward success, show him the way. He wants to be that person for young people today.
“It has truly been a whirlwind,” he says, “But again, my reach goes far past Syracuse now. And I’m just so glad that all of these people believe in me, and they lift me up so that I can do what I do.”
In many ways, this is his way to pay back for the support he has gotten. The exhibition at the Everson. A major grant from the Community Foundation. And the $10,000 he raised in ten days through crowdsourcing. All helped him build the confidence to open his own studio on the Near West Side of Syracuse and share his efforts to spread Black culture in the community.
“I did not always have that confidence,” Campbell says. “However, as I’ve gotten older and people have poured into me, they’ve poured life into me. They have helped me ascend to this level of confidence.”
He is planning a doll-making workshop for later in the summer. He is offering tours of his studio, with a chance to sit and talk in-depth with the artist. And he is even writing music with a release date in the near future. You can keep up with him on his website, JaleelCampbell.com.
“I am a dope creator, a Syracuse native, and someone that’s going to the top.” As we mentioned, keep that name in mind.