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