Self the artist was born in Chicago IL in 1979, raised on the South side of the city. He moved to Sacramento, California alone at the age of 21 with his life savings in his pocket and a dream. He believed being a product of one's environment was not to be taken lightly, nor should it be confused or thought of in any other way than for being the core of positive inspiration. Influenced by his uncle Charles who taught him the gift of continuous wire sculpting aesthetics and the many cultures of the inner city of Chicago, he has shared his life story of survival through each of his pieces ranging from one of a kind handmade continuous wire sculptures to graphite pencil drawings that depict current events and historical references within Black American culture & urban society.
In 2014 he began working at Fortune School of Education where he taught in the After School Art program, introducing scholars to the tools and mechanics of drawing and design. After advancing to a Behavioral Technician and later receiving another promotion as a Special Education Aide within the Special Education Department where he dedicated 4 additional years, he was offered a salary position as the very first and only Art Instructor for two Fortune College Preparatory campuses which teach grades (K-6) and (6-8) and is currently the owner of Sacramento's only standing Black Owned Art Gallery.
In his journey, he has dedicated 8 consecutive years as a local educator for the Fortune School of Education and is currently the proud owner of Self Designs Art Gallery in Midtown, Sacramento which just celebrated its 2nd year anniversary on Juneteenth, 6/19/2022. The gallery is a center for inspiration and growth for all ages and backgrounds. Currently offering art and music classes in classical piano, clarinet and flute for school age children and adults, it is known as a place for specialized workshops, an event space for community groups to convene and space for artists to create or conduct private classes. The gallery offers a variety of events such as Friday night Open-Mic shows, Comedy Events, Paint & Sip Workshops, Wine Tasting Wednesdays and monthly outdoor Courtyard Concerts which provide a stage for local musicians, models, fashion designers and entertainers from all orientations and talents. His gallery and art classes bring forth Visual Arts with a modern approach through the use of colorful lighting during his featured "Art in the Dark" Tour which creates an almost living effect on his captivating collection of wire sculptures and graphite drawings in addition to the talented and awe-inspiring local artists that decorate the walls.
Self Designs Art Gallery and Self's continuous wire sculptures have been featured in media such as: ABC10 News with Mark S. Allen on March 1, 2022; CBS13/CW31; 2 appearances on Good Day Sacramento November 2006, and January of 2018, and in 2011 one of his sculptures was even seen on reality TV show called "Love & Hip Hop". He has also taken part in showcasing his works at many locally supported art events including but not limited to:
The Black Expo 2005-2007
California Home and Garden Show 2006
Sacramento Banana Festival
Las Vegas Expo 2006
Lincoln Art Festival 2006
Sojourner Truth Art Gallery 2006
Crave Party Fashion Show 2006
Juneteenth Festival 2006-2008
Duke Ellington Art Exhibition 2006
The Brickhouse Art Gallery 2010 -2017
Opening of Self Designs Art Gallery in 2020
Sponsor & Event Space Host for Fall Zen Fashion Show 2021
Sponsor & Event Space Host for Zen II Fashion & Arts Festival 2022
Over 100 local community concerts, classes and special art exhibits have been held at his gallery between years 2020 to present date
Locations which carry his continuous wire sculptures on display include:
The Hilton Garden Inn Sacramento, CA
Casazza Chiropractic Sacramento, CA
KSFM radio station Sacramento, CA
Sacramento City College Library
Dave's Cut Above Riverdale, IL
Generous donations raised to support diverse local charities and venues include:
The Wonder Inc.
Granite Bay High School-Granite Bay, CA
Reno-Tahoe Blues Festival
The California State Home and Garden Show
The Sojourner Truth Multi-Cultural Arts Festival
Self has also raised over $3,000 for the Fortune School of Education Music program, and more than $1,200 in collaboration with Symphonos Studios at the Big Day of Giving Fundraiser for the Sacramento Community Concert Association which has existed in Sacramento for more than 60 years.
He studied Fine Arts at Sacramento City College from 2011-2014. While attending SCC he received a certificate for outstanding student performance in academics and was the winner of the 2014 Student Art show judged by Shelly Willis (Director of the Sacramento Art Commission) honoring him with the Gregory Kondos Gallery Award for Visionary Art. While studying at SCC Self was a teacher's assistant to many Art professors who helped him find his artistic muse including Mitra Fabian, Kathy Noonan, Ianna Frisby, Elizabeth Higgins O'Connor, and Emily Wilson.
As a practicing Artist, Self is currently working on his latest project called "200 Pounds, A Continuous Wire Sculpture & Graphite Pencil Drawing Series Depicting Post-Traumatic Growth" which is a collection of his signature continuous wire sculptures created with precious living succulent additions that are posed in various scenes of people with colorful baskets and clothing made of wire mesh. This new art series is currently on display at his gallery alongside heartfelt graphite drawings of historical communal struggles that tell stories of inspirational figures who lived a life unknown to most prior to becoming a victim of violence.
With an open mind and heart, he accepts new artists for his gallery as well as musicians who wish to perform in hopes of assisting them to gain support, presence and confidence. Providing a place to grow and strengthen their unique artform while removing the stigma of the "starving artist", Self Designs Art Gallery offers a center of opportunity and creative ways of artistic survival and self-support.
Carlos McMillan Fuentes currently serves as the acting President of the SCCA (Sacramento Community Concert Association) and is a classically trained pianist, composer, singer-songwriter, music educator, and a skilled accompanist. In 2022, He successfully composed and released his worldwide premiere orchestral symphony of "A Winter Rhapsody" in concert with the Symphony d'Oro in Rancho Cordova. Professionally he has also performed with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, and the Camellia Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, his piano-clarinet duo “Carlos & Brennen” won first prize in the Chamber Music Group C at the Golden Classical Music Awards. As part of their prize, the Golden Classical Music Awards invited Carlos & Brennen to perform at Carnegie Hall. In 2019 he appeared with soprano Susheel Bibbs as accompanist for her acclaimed one-woman musical on Mary Ellen Pleasant, and in recital in the Zimra arrangement of the final movement of Mahler’s 4th Symphony. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition with a focus in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May of 2011.
Carlos McMillan Fuentes has written many works including a choral symphony, three concertos, three short film scores, chamber works, choral works, songs, and solo piano pieces. Additionally, he is the lyricist for most of his original songs – eclectic works that bridge his classical background with influences from American pop, jazz, gospel, R&B/soul, and musical theatre. His admiration for the masters -- Chopin, Scriabin, Brahms, and Mahler among his favorites – is only matched by his love for Michael Jackson, Patrick Wolf, Lady Gaga, and Janelle Monáe, known as modern-day masters in their fields. His debut solo album, "a series of I AM statements" is due to be released in Summer 2020. Currently, he is accepting students grades K-12 and adults for his piano lessons offered Monday through Friday, please view his website for questions, scheduling details and contact information at Symphonos Studio (cmfuentesmusic.com)