Skrenta described the colorful paintings she chose to represent her father's work in the coming exhibit as fluid forms that incorporate whole-grain cereal for texture.

Kajetanski, who died in 1999, worked in many media and his 3,000-plus creations over six decades range from scratchboards to oil pastels to collages and more, she said.

Ruiz, who is self-taught and now works as a police officer in Washington, said he picked up a paintbrush for the first time since childhood after being profoundly affected by 9/11, where he was a first responder. His art reflects social, political and cultural issues.

The Alexandria, Va., resident applies liquid acrylic and spray paint to balsa wood to create graphic pieces in a style inspired by the work of his uncle, an artist whose full name he shares. One of Ruiz's ongoing themes is men's ties, which he regards as symbols of oppression.

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"I try to express the political views I witness from demonstrations on Capitol Hill," he said. "Sometimes I agree with them and sometimes I don't, but I still want to use their views in a creative way."

Baer, who lives in Beltsville, melts beeswax and mixes it with oil paint "to get a tacky consistency," a method found in paintings of kings in Greek tombs, she said. She builds the paintings up in layers like those found in nature.

She applies her materials with a large scraper and then does a "visceral digging and scratching" on the canvas to create a dimensional effect, she said.

Alika's art combines acrylic, oil and ink, and she said her style is influenced by the African wall designs of Uli, in eastern Nigeria. Some paintings are derived from a terrible time in her life — her infant daughter died in 2003 when, she said, a doctor administered an accidental overdose of medicine.

"I had such pain in my heart and couldn't talk [about it] for three years," she said. One of her paintings in the Tatu exhibit communicates the rays of light she felt "when I decided to let go and come out of the darkness."

The four artists of Art Promotion Together have different styles that originate from different experiences, but that is far from a hindrance, they say.

"This group brings out the best in each of us," Ruiz said.

The Cross-Continental Connection exhibit at Tatu, 614 Water Street, Baltimore, will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9. For more information about the group, go to