Voyage ATL featured me recently. Check it out!
Last fall, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by high school teacher Wendy Aracich, for her "How To Be An Artist" project. Her stop in Charlotte was one of several she made while on a summer road trip through the South. The project objective is wonderful, and very much needed: to gather stories from artists that document the diverse career paths they take, so that they can be shared with budding high school artists.
What a treat something like that would have been for me when I was in high school! Back then, I didn't have a clue as to what career path I was suited for. As a result, the road for me was a long and and circuitous. Play the video to find out more...
I’d like to offer some historic perspective about Abstract Expressionism. The movement emerged during post–World War II New York City, and continued to be the dominant American art form through the 1950s. Referred to the “New York School”, it was the first exclusively American art movement to achieve international influence. New York City was placed at the center of the western art world. Set against the background of the politically constrained Cold War era, this extraordinarily creative process was fully embraced by artists who’d sought a mode of creative freedom that was essentially energetic and unencumbered.
Abstract expressionists integrated the lyricism and spontaneity of jazz. Painter Willem de Kooning once wrote: “Miles Davis bends the notes. He doesn’t play them, he bends them. I bend the paint.” This reference is deeply resonating, as I grew up during the 1950’s and 60s in a family where jazz was an integral part of its fabric. Jazz is an essential part of who I am. And so it is befitting that it plays a significant role in my creative process. It encourages the flow of free expression by quieting my busy mind, and energizing spiritual impulse. Sometimes the nuanced energy of the music has direct influence in creative output (as evidenced by paintings NOLA1, and NOLA2).
I am humbled by being able to contribute my spin on this work. Work that frees my spirit and reveals hidden parts of myself. All praises to the Most High. Amen.
The following article about my Abstracting Spirit show was featured in Independent Tribune:
NOLA awakeningRead More
Thanks to generous support from the Arts & Science Council's Regional Artist Project Grant http://www.artsandscience.org/, I recently attended a wonderful workshop - CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS IN ACRYLICS, at the John C. Campbell Folk School in the lovely mountains of western NC. The workshop was taught by my dear friend and mentor, artist Louise Farley. One assignment was to do a self-portrait while looking at a mirror (NOT on the support) while also NOT lifting your drawing implement from the paper! This is called automatic painting, and it can achieve interesting results, as evidenced by the attached image...acrylic and water soluble oil pastels on yupo paper, 19x25.
In addition to exploring creative techniques I wouldn't likely think of on my own, I got to experience something unfamiliar...Appalachian folk arts. I must admit feeling an initial reticence about being the only African-American on campus that week. However, I quickly realized that I was being received warmly by both fellow artists/crafters and staff. Our days were filled with studio time, 3 healthy meals and evening activities (I actually ENJOYED square dancing accompanied by a live mountain string band! Who knew?) The message: We are all, indeed, God's children. My expansion was satisfying on both creative and spiritual levels, and I plan on returning at my earliest opportunity. Thank You, Arts & Science Council!
The Charlotte Post online newspaper recently asked me to comment on my experience as one of twenty artists chosen to participate in the 2016 ArtPop program in Charlotte, North Carolina. My quote merely touched upon what turned out to be a life-changing experience for me as an artist and human being. I learned that when you dare to be a part of something bigger than yourself, the self-growth "needle" starts to move forward. Had I not summoned the nerve to submit my image to the ArtPop competition, nothing would have happened! You have to be in it to win it. A year of amazing experiences followed: My Rivers_Congo image has reigned majestically on a billboard in West Charlotte since early January this year. (It will be replaced by one of 20 new 2017 ArtPop images in the new year.) I also had two showcases which put me in front of the Charlotte arts community. This give me the opportunity to introduce myself and my art to many people who didn't know I existed.
ArtPop seemed usher in a new energy of opportunities this year, and in 2017. I was accepted into a wonderful residency workshop coming up in February - Aimone Art Services' MASTER SERIES WORKSHOP-RESIDENCIES. I will be doing directed individual study under the supervision of artist Steven Aimone at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Also, I am one of the 2017 Arts & Science Council's Regional Artist Grant Project winners. The grant will cover a week of study with my friend, figurative painter Louise Farley at the J.C. Campbell artist retreat in the North Carolina mountains.
I find myself in in a state of quiet but definite awe... The late Dr. Dwayne Dyer suggested to his readers to: ...be in a state of bewilderment..." That is, to just Be...in the moment observing the beauty of life itself. Let it flow and see what creative energy shows up. Some of Dyer's best writing took place when he embraced this way of being. I, too, seek to Be.... I anticipate with certainty the pure joy of observing possibilities evolve into miraculous opportunities. And so it is.
In 2012 when I took possession of my very first studio space at Clearwater Artist Studios in Concord, NC, I decided to begin my creative journey exploration by commemorating my ancestors. As the only child of the eldest sibling of a family of 5, my mother inherited the majority of a treasure trove of family pictures which were bequeathed to me after her transition. I incorporated re-sized copies of my favorite photos from that collection, as well as a couple of my father and paternal grandfather; both also deceased, into this quasi collage with surprising results. The flat images reflect my core belief that spirit energy exists and is devoid of dimension. Our ancestors exist perpetually; around us within us everywhere and nowhere on the other side of the veil (or 4D world) - unseen to most human eyes in the 3D linear world. After all, Energy does not dissipate..."it only recreates in another space and time." ~ Earth Wind & Fire. If you are interested in working with me to create an ancestral memory, please reach out on the CONTACT page.
Peace and Untold Blessings.