Marcella Hayes Muhammad

Artist Biography: 

Marcella Hayes Muhammad is an award winning published international fine artist, and more recently, author. She is recognized for her elegant style, intricate detail and vibrant colors. Her work reflects the current events, history, emotions, and beauty she experiences around her in everyday life. To convey her message, Marcella maintains her flexibility of expression through the use of realism, and abstraction.

Marcella Hayes Muhammad is the daughter of Tuskegee Airman and career Air Force officer, Col. Harold C. Hayes.  She was fortunate to live in Japan, France, Germany and many parts of the United States.  She had the rare opportunity to learn about and experience other cultures at a young age.  Aware of the importance of culture, she recalls listening to her father and other original Tuskegee Airmen talk about their struggles and triumphs.  This instilled in her a pride of her culture and a positive outlook as reflected in her paintings.

Marcella credits her mother, Ruth Hayes, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, for shaping her views of culture, people and especially artistic expression by exposing her to the many art museums available during their travels and always encouraging her artistic endeavors.

Marcella earned her BFA with honors from the California State University at San Bernardino.  She also studied at the California College of Art and Design at Oakland and the University of California at Riverside.  Her formal training and extensive experience gives her an extraordinary command of style and media few artists possess. After a very successful career as a teacher, Marcella retired. In 1995, She and her husband moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area and it is here that she started her own art business and creates her works full time.

Marcella’s work has been collected by an international audience. She is active in local and national art organizations. Marcella has participated in many art fairs and conferences where she has served as a guest-speaker and conducted master-classes and workshops. Marcella keeps current with invitational, Museum and gallery shows. She is an author of a fictional novel inspired by quilt art published under the title, A Quilt Of Dreams and another biographical book about her signature style of Plastic Space™ abstract under the title, A Journey Through Plastic Space™. Both books are available on

Artist Statement:

“The rhythm of light as it falls over and around forms seduces the eye to travel on a path of discovery. This is my signature style of PLASTIC SPACE ABSTRACT. I prefer using my favorite medium of oils on canvas to blend color, and depth into a simulated three dimensional collection of forms on a two dimensional surface. I use cloth, brushes and my fingers to move the oils on a preferred smooth canvas surface to obtain the effects I want to achieve. More recently I have added texture to some canvases by applying an undercoating of texture paste and gesso before I begin painting.

I purposely portray objects that are mildly abstracted to bring the viewer more quickly into the composition. I want the viewer to recognize parts of the painting and in so doing bring about the intrigue of discovery as the eye is brought around and through the composition. To achieve this, I first render the idea with a sketch in pencil working out the abstraction of objects, balance, and composition until I am satisfied with the look. Then I transfer the sketch to a canvas where I begin to add color into the composition.

My favorite choice of colors is chromatic hues (a warm palette) and I work in layers. I begin with the natural white canvas instead of the European traditional method of applying a thin base color which allows my colors to really pop. I then fill areas of skin tone and wood tones. In the second and third layers I work with a full palette, where I perfect color and detail. The last layer is done using the negative space to tie the total composition together. At the end, I work the balance and transition of the various levels through shading to achieve a pleasant feel for the eye and create a continuous directional motion within the composition. It is so rewarding to see a viewer’s eyes travel over the piece and return for a second and even a third time.

Each piece of my work is usually narrative driven, often telling a story of African American culture, history, traditions and sometimes current events. Plastic Space abstract is my most challenging, creative, and enjoyable form of art.”