Jeffrey Kent was born in Boston, Massachusetts and currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. After years of romanticizing the street life then struggling with a crack addiction; Kent recovers daily through his art practices. Kent has committed to communicating his ideas through creative expression and dedicating his time to community service endeavors. Through his experiences, he learned the importance of sharing his time and knowledge with youths and young adults: teaching them to set goals and to recognize the possibilities within their grasp.
Kent states that his artwork uses, “society’s perplexities and its oxymoronic terms including ‘civil rights’ and ‘justice for all,’ and examines layers of tribal identification; providing viewers with an opportunity to feel what it may be like to experience injustices with the everyday struggle of being non-white.”
In 1999, after moving back to Baltimore from Chicago, Kent located an 8,000 sq. ft. studio in the historic garment district. In 2003 the Baltimore City fire department shut off the electricity and the heat when a water main pipe exploded. After 17 hours of flooding they condemned his live/work space. He instantly became homeless overnight and through that tragedy SMC CEO David Hillman, helped Kent with a space he had available in the sub basement of one of his luxury apartment buildings which is also located in downtown Baltimore. Kent can remember walking his studio equipment on carts in the middle of busy streets because he couldn't afford movers. That space became the critically acclaimed Sub-Basement Artist Studios: a 13,000 sq. ft. underground, artist studios and gallery space located in downtown Baltimore (Best Gallery, City Paper 2005).
The 2008 market crash motivated Kent to try to get into a masters program. Abstract expressionist painter and founder of the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art, Grace Hartigan(1922-2008); selected Kent and five other MFA candidates in her final class before passing in late 2008. Kent’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition, Good Bad and Ugly at The Creative Alliance, led to his cover feature in the Baltimore’s City Paper. Later that year, Kent was awarded Best Visual Artist by Baltimore’s City Paper 2008 and featured in Baltimore’s 2008 Top Ten Artist list by the Examiner. Kent received his Masters in Fine Art from MICA in 2010.
Kent’s exhibitions include: 'Art in Embassies' in Rome, Italy, 'Between the Covers,' at The Everhart Museum in Scranton, PA, 'Preach!' (solo) at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum in Baltimore, MD, 'For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People,' Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, Baltimore, MD, '2,191 Days and Counting' at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY, 'Surface from Under the Microscope: The Henrietta Lacks Series' (solo) at Howard University Interdisciplinary Research Building, Washington D.C. Kent’s numerous permanent collections include: FTI Consulting Inc., The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture. The artistic vision of Kent is an important contribution to this continuous spectrum of urban cultural expression and identity.
In 2015, Kent relocated to Midtown in Baltimore City where he rehabbed a vacant “freestanding row-house” and coined his live/work space; 'The One Twenty.' Kent has micro studio spaces available, in his process of cultivating an artist collective while reaching out to the community at large.