Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BIO / artist statement


my flesh is California

my roots grow upward from Texas

and Louisiana




my spirit vibrates

in African frequencies

been professin’ painter fifteen years

Shona style stone sculptor

ten years




prefer candlelight

over incandescent or florescent

running into my people on the street

over driving

and smoking over drinking

first art instructors:

Uncle Butch

Grand Daddy Early

Pops’ photography

Isley Brothers

Mama’s craftwork

long black cadillacs

and panthers


Chuck D.

reached into my ears

and opened my eyes

El Haj Malik El Shabaz

modeled clear conviction



Gladys Knight

the whole Harlem Renaissance Movement

moves me


Curtis Mayfield


Village Bottoms massive

our collective

I paid academy of art college

to instruct their instructors

was humbled and blessed

with careful guidance

at Laney college

made family by Nicolas Mukomberanwa

at home in Africa

still a nigga

to galleries and police

at home

in america

my art speaks

these experiences

intending to be

beautiful and attractive

harsh and cold

rich textured

smooth and refined

hot like fire


within one body of work

with many varied chapters

visual music

soul stirring imagery

raw-ass mindfunk

blackstrap molasses

straight to the bloodstream

I been called on

to do this

by ancestors


and I




Saturday, July 7, 2012

16 cowries

This body of work came out of the simple desire to "just paint" without having to think too much. I wanted a theme that would facilitate visual freestyle sessions without producing too much randomness or being purely abstract. The theme is taken from a method of divining in the spiritual practices of Ifa tradition in which the diviner throws 16 cowrie shells and reads the positions in which they land. I don't claim to be a diviner, but I was inspired by the idea of "throwing" 16 cowrie shells onto each canvas and deriving meaning from the resulting patterns. At first the result was just 16 abstracted shells and eventually, as the series progressed, I allowed words and other images to come in and out of the picture plane as they came to me. I considered whatever came to me in the form of inspiration to be the voice of the divine. Once each piece had 16 shells the painting was done. The bulk of the paintings in this series were done between 2006 and 2009 although they still emerge from time to time.

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / a love supreme

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / fuck tha police

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / seeds

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / sex

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / who's right

Thursday, June 28, 2012

stenciled multiples

This is some of my most contemporary work.  I started doing stencil work in 2008 with a simple cowrie shell stencil.  Eventually I was inspired by the street art movement and extended my stencil work to include multi-layer, multi-color images.  The images I choose are things I relate to pop art, but from a perspective that reflects my own immediate cultural influences.  I call this style Pop Noir.  Some of the multiples are on wood while others are on bristol board or acid-free paper.

Fela  2011

Gil Scott Heron 2011

Gil Scott Heron 2011

Nina Simone (Mother and Child)  2011

Nina Simone (Mother and Child)  2011

Aloe Vera Flower  2011

Badu  2010

stone sculpture

In 1998 I was blessed to travel to Zimbabwe, Africa with a friend and some fellow artists.  He said when we got there we could stay with his artist-friend.  I imagined couch surfing with some struggling artists.  Instead, his friend was the late Nikolas Mukomberanwa, who, at the time, was already a master sculptor and an elder statesman of Zimbabwean art.  I stayed on his farm for close to six months learning the art of stone carving from Baba Nikolas and his family.

The work pictured here represents what I produced upon my return to the States and in the years since. I learned that although I was taught by the Shona artist my approach and experiences lead me to different end results.

Sexual Healing  2004

Empress  2002

Hand to the Heavens 2003

Laura's Bird  2010

Love Stone  2004

Sideofyoneck  2003


This body of work represents a theme that has seemed to be consistent with every stage of my career.  The image of black women in particular, when done right, can be revolutionary in and of itself.  These paintings have in common that they are portraits that celebrate the beauty, strength and dignity of the subjects.  Some of them are depictions of the goddess Osun from the Yoruba tradition while others simply convey a radiance that gives them the air of a goddess.

Sweet Cocoa Soul Creature  1999

Dem Hips  2003

Osun Blue

Westside Highway  1999

classic period

This work represents what I now call my classic period.  The style is based on flat blocks of color used to create the landscape with a central figure in the foreground.  Some of the characters are carrying crates of commodities on their heads.  These characters were inspired by a character in a painting done by Jean Michelle Basquiat in which he depicted a colonizer in a safari helmet along side of an African "native" who of course was carrying his load of goods, in this case I think it was salt.  I decided to depict a variety of contemporary Africans carrying contemporary goods to draw attention to how many of the dynamics stemming from and feeding into colonialism exist in the present. Other images focus on the rising sun coming up over a crossroads.  To me this combination of images represents being at a point of decision and having a new opportunity to make the most of that choice.  Most of these paintings were done between 2000 and 2002 and the style emerged while I was living in Brooklyn, New York in 2000.

Sunrise Over Crossroads  2001

Planned Parenthood  2001

Patience  2002

Blk Luv  2002

Bling on My Mind  2001