I'm embarking on a new dimension of my Inkscape portraits. A few weeks ago I was inspired by this exhibit at the @posterhouse featuring the beautiful work of Alphonse Mucha. I loved the way his posters centered women and made them look beautiful and powerful against ornate backdrops and graceful #typography. His work inspired me to revisit old #Ebony magazines and from the 70s and to study the ads for #haircare and products geared towards women. The hair care ads stood out to me the mostly because it talked about hair relaxers and how they were supposed to transform a woman's life. I thought it would be interesting to address that notion in a time when Black women are not solely relying on straightened hairstyles to express and celebrate themselves. We continue to experiment with shape, color and textures and I wanted to extend that conversation through the #BelleNoir series that I've been developing.
This is the first image in this new project. The slogan was taken from an ad for Curl Out Relaxer. It's somewhat ironic that the messaging was to suggest that putting harsh chemicals in Black hair was a form of liberation. In response, I decided to use my own model and have her hair take the form of a black and gold #Inkscape defying gravity in the same way that natural, unrelaxed Black hair does.
SOLD! Last week @blackgirlinmaine purchased my piece Soldier of Love (pictured at the bottom) while visiting @tesseraartscollective during their one year anniversary celebration. It’s always a great feeling when one of my works resonates with someone and they want to make space for it in their home. Images from my #BelleNoir series will be on display and available for sale at Tessera Arts Collective until September so go visit!.If you’re interested in purchasing one of the framed images on display there, feel free to DM me.
The Belle Noir series continues with more photo shoots. This time I had the opportunity to meet and photograph Catherine, a vibrant professional model from Houston, TX. I had so much fun photographing her and capturing her grace and energy.
One of my favorite things about this series is meeting so many fascinating Black women and hearing their stories and learning about what drives them. Catherine's tales about the modeling industry were enlightening and in some cases surprising. While she is passionate about being breaking barriers as a Black model, she admits that there are still so many obstacles to overcome that include colorism and body image representation.
I'm grateful for this happy encounter with Catherine and look forward to seeing her shine even more. I'm looking forward to creating some Inkscape magic with her photos!
Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that my work will be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition at the Center for Law and Justice at Rutgers University, courtesy of the Paul Robeson Galleries. Fluid Resistance: Heroism in Two Acts will be featuring selected works from my Belle Noir and Black Superheroes projects and will be a celebration of heroism, resistance and Black joy.
At this time, there will not be an opening reception but I'm looking at scheduling an artist talk at some point during the exhibition which runs from December 20th, 2018 to May 24th, 2019. If you are interested in attending an artist talk, please drop me a note via my contact form.
I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with you all and as always, I am grateful for the love and support that you have shared with me throughout the years.
"rise up fallen fighters
unfetter the stars
dance with the universe
& make it ours"
~ Ntozake Shange