About CJ Howard

It’s hard to believe, but I used to kick ass.

I was hired as Creative Director for an emerging gallery right after graduating from college. I collaborated with artists all over the world on public art projects. I made art, attended every single art opening for everyone I knew, volunteered, taught yoga, smoked cigars, and worked 2 full-time jobs like… well, like it was my job.

Then I got pregnant. And everything in my world turned upside down.

My energy levels tanked. I faced health crisis after health crisis. And I still kept beating my head into the wall, pretending like I could do it all.

Finally, when my son was four months old, I had a postpartum psychotic break.

I was hospitalized and had to completely dismantle my life in order to focus on healing. Suddenly, I was no longer a yogi, a wife, or an arts administrator. Suddenly, I was simply a breathing human responsible for feeding another breathing human.

Dismantling everything meant, all of a sudden, I had choice. I no longer felt obligated to another person or institution. My promises, my baggage, my expectations — they were all moot.

As I healed over the weeks and months post-hospitalization, I was able to choose which bricks — which relationships, which responsibilities, which priorities — were put back into place. And the bricks that no longer fit were discarded. 

This clarity not only reconfigured my personal life — it redirected my career. And from this place, I am creating. I am painting.

Inspired by the sumptuous visual storytelling of Gustav Klimt, Kehinde Wiley, and James Jean, my oil paintings unveil a magical realm where motherhood is a luscious (and paradoxical) gift.

The gift of motherhood burns down the forest — and then leaves the trees. The gift of motherhood connects a woman to her deepest self — and then smashes that self to pieces. The gift of motherhood requires a blood sacrifice for admission — and then reveals the meaning of the universe.

Has parenthood reconfigured of your life? I’d love to hear about it! Connect with me on Instagram to share your perspective and receive special sneak peeks into my studio.

If you are interested in commissioning an original painting of your own unique and complex experience of parenthood, email me at info @ cjhowardart (dot) com for pricing and availability.

I’m so happy to make your acquaintance.

Let’s make this world a more beautiful place together, shall we?

With luv,




Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Barnard College, New York, NY: Feb 2009

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Ordeal by Fire, Golden Belt Studios, Durham, NC: Oct 2015

ColorCONSCIOUSness, Blake Street Studios, Raleigh, NC: Dec 2012

Bring it Home, 320 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC: July 2012

Commune/Communicate/Comment, Percy Bartley House, Cape Town, South Africa: April 2012

Veil Tease, The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, Durham, NC: Oct 2011 


Power Plant Gallery, Durham, NC: Aug 2016

Golden Belt Studios, Durham, NC: Sep - Oct 2015

Where Where Project, Beijing, China: Aug 2013

Arteles Residency, Hämeenkyrö, Finland: Jan 2013

A Word of Art, Cape Town, South Africa: Mar – Apr 2012

Selected Group Exhibitions

meditations on the echoes of breath, Power Plant Gallery, Durham, NC: Aug 2016

Durham Storefront Project, Durham Art Walk Holiday Market, Durham, NC: Nov 2011

artSPARK Juried Exhibition¸ SPARKcon, Raleigh, NC: Sept 2011 (Awarded 2nd Place)

Co-Elaborate, Center for New Media & the Arts, Bethel, CT: Nov 2009

Selected Press

A quiet space at the Power Plant Gallery, Herald-Sun, Durham, NC: Aug 14, 2016

Sketchbook Project, Kernersville News, Kernersville, NC: Jul 13, 2013

100 People Doing Extraordinary Things, Disrupting the Rabblement: Feb 26, 2013

Artist Catherine J Howard Travels to 13 Locations Worldwide, p. 8 Kernersville Magazine, Kernersville, NC: Dec 2012

Howard brings 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project to Durham, Clarion Content, Durham, NC: Dec 14, 2012

Interview on Bush Radio FM, Cape Town, South Africa: Apr 13, 2012

Plascon supports mural art for Toffie Pop, BizCommunity, Cape Town, South Africa: Mar 29, 2012

Catherine Howard “Courting Love & Violence”, Clarion Content, Durham, NC: Jan 9, 2012

Inside the Artist’s Studio¸ WCOM-LP FM Radio, Carrboro, NC: Oct 25, 2011

“Veil Tease” Opens at Carrack Modern Art building, Clarion Content, Durham, NC: Oct 6, 2011

On absence and presence: Catherine Howard’s “Veil Tease”, Independent Weekly Artery, Durham, NC: Oct 4, 2011

The power of art: Catherine Howard reaches out to women through art, Kernersville News, Kernersville, NC: Jul 30, 2011