Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of working with two wonderfully creative souls for a brainstorming session. The goal of our meeting was to help my friend develop a business plan and a vision for her gallery/studio space. In the process of developing ideas, it quickly became apparent what a transformative experience her studio would create for all those who would come to visit. I admired her drive and her absolute passion for what her art and what she wanted it to inspire in her audience and patrons, as well as fellow women of color artists. It also made me realize how out of touch I have felt from my own creative process in the past year.
For the past year and change, I had been working long hours at my day job and at the end of the day and on the weekends, I felt physically and mentally depleted. This, of course, left me little energy to really pour into my creative work. Sure, I was creating and remaining committing to making the art but what lacked was the mindfulness behind the process. It was mostly: create something, then share on Instagram with a short caption and then move on to the next thing. I wasn’t putting as much into writing on my blog to give more context behind what I was doing and it was starting to feel soulless. I was just another body on the internet just throwing stuff out there.
It wasn't until I received the exhibition opportunity through Rutgers and the curators inquired about doing an artist talk that I started to slow down to pay attention to what I really was saying with my work. It was immensely gratifying that people were interested in knowing more about the person and the thought process behind what I was creating.
Thankfully, I have had a chance to slow down and take time off to focus, really focus, on my work.I’ve decided to recommit myself to my long-range goals and how I want my art to be impactful. I already know that I don’t want to limit myself to just art gallery shows; they’re too fleeting and sometimes feel more like a “scene” instead of an immersive, thoughtful experience. This is another reason I’m excited about my collaboration with Rutgers because the exhibition will include a discussion with a professor and their class I’ve always longed to create something cerebral with my work and this opportunity is the perfect springboard for that.
I also promise to write more. I was pretty good with blogging and then fell off and fell into the trap of just relying on clever Instagram captions to get by. In hindsight, I realize I was limiting myself. I wasn’t really sharing my creativity with the world and I was missing out on that problem solving and hashing-out that writing brings forth.
So with that said, my promise to myself and to you is that I will recommit myself to my work and to my audience.
She's cosmic......I'm just now getting a chance to catch up on making new Inkscape portraits, thanks to having some downtime from the holidays. I'm still experimenting with incorporating Inkscape photography as hair with some of my models and I really wanted to explore the idea of creating a gold and bronze colored nebula as a crown that is punctuated by stars. Can you spot the comet?
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
The initial inspiration for this image came from Simone once saying she fancies growing into a head full of beautiful #gray hair. The hair also serves also as a thought #cloud, filled with a myriad of ideas, feelings, thoughts that are complex and sometimes #tumultuous. The look on her face is unbothered, knowing and unapologetic all at the same time. Also, a literal shoutout to the #Marvel comic book character, Storm, one of the most iconic #blacksuperhero characters.
This is my first inkscapeportrait in my BelleNoir series where my subject looks directly at you. Normally the women are looking off somewhere else, seemingly lost within themselves, unbothered by anyone's new gaze. But with eyes like these, she draws you in with a gaze reminiscent of Queen Nerfertiti and you can't look away.
I've been listening to Sade's Soldier of Love on heavy repeat, not only marveling at the gravity of the song but how dope the music video for it is. If you've seen it, you can see the connections and how I was inspired by the #grayish ##landscape and the red smoke.
The song is powerful as it speaks to the resilience of spirit in the face of recurrent disappointments in love and the determination to soldier on it spite of it all. I've been clinging to this song in light of all the crazy shit I read in the news, particularly in light of the daily reports of sexual assault/harassment allegations. These are daily reminders of how tough is it to be a women, a women of color, a Black woman in a society that increasingly tries to make you feel powerless. I'm grateful for the reminders of the women who put on a brave face when they are battered and can face the #storm. I say that at the risk of further the perennial "strong black woman" stereotype that is tiresome and unhelpful. There is a power in the willingness to be vulnerable by taking off the mask of invincibility.
Last Tuesday was the premiere of the incredible photography book Mfon at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan. I had been aching to finally see the finished product and I was not disappointed. Editors Adama Delphine Fawundu and Laylah Amatallah Barrayn created a compilation of beautiful, powerful and touching photographs that celebrated black womanhood and the power of Black women photographers. Given the level of talent featured, it would be an understatement to say I was honored to be included.
The book signing event was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was exhilarating being in the same room with all of this excitement and positivity. I felt like I was swinging between a giddy high school girl and rock star signing copies of the books and getting to know the other photographers and asking them to sign my copy as well.
I finally got a chance to settle down with the book over the weekend so I could study each image and read the touching essays and tributes to Mfon, the book's namesake. I shed tears over the power and intensity of her legacy.
So, please, please, support this book and support Mfon's legacy. Copies are still available for sale by making a donation at http://mfonfoto.org/.
A modern day cameo. This Inkscape portrait was inspired by the elaborate old whiskey boxes that my dad used to have that were decorated with ornate cameos and portraits of men and women sipping whiskey from teens and 20s. The succulent rose crown gives off Frida Kahlo vibes and was a last minute touch. Thankful for Myongii for bringing regal #blackgirlmagic to this look.