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Art Reveal Magazine

When, how and why started your art practice? I have always had an affinity for art starting at a very young age. Even back then, when I was 9 or 10, I dreamt of being established with a studio space and everything. Ambitious, yes. I was influenced by so many people! My mother who was so creative, my aunt a writer and her husband also an artist, and my sister a talented writer. Being so surrounded by creative people, it was only “when” I would pursue art, not “if ”. I would say I truly began my practice in college, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, where I went to learn how to properly express myself. It was one thing to say that you love art, it’s another to go into debt for it! That’s when I was like, “alright, so I’m really doing this?”. It was kind of a funny feeling walking in day one, I don’t recall any real apprehension, more like commitment. I felt extremely ready.

naturally that attracts some pretty fabulous artists. I believe I’ve seen some pretty incredible abstract artists working in the Philadelphia area that I love, that are highly influenced by the music and liveliness of the surrounding counties. We have amazing art museums, that a lot to make sure the community is involved, like the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art which holds some of the most iconic art pieces in America. The art is very influenced by the history of the city, Philadelphia which translates to “The City of Brotherly Love”, which is very true when it comes to the arts and the diverse group

What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received?

What is the most challenging part about being an artist?

How would you describe the art scene in your area? Philadelphia’s art scene is flourishing. The crowds are young, the music is fresh and

What are you working on right now? I am currently working on a drawing series on blacked out paper made with ink, charcoal, oil and acrylic paint. I then draw on it with white chalk. I had a recent showing of them titled “Gentrify Me, I’m a Criminal Now”, and I have to say it inspired me to create more. I interview people I meet at a shop, on the street, on the train and I draw them, and write what they spoke. I am very concentrated on trying to capture the soul of people in a marginalized community, some of the most honest things they say is to someone they think they’ll never see again. I love it.

Seeing art as well lit a fire. Last year, I was able to see my favorite living artists’ work in the flesh; Kerry James Marshall’s “Mastry”. It was stunning, dark work that was brutally honest and really motivated me to continue to create. Just seeing the same work in life that inspired me as a child reminded me of why I became an artist in the first place.

Well for one, it would be learning how to evolve. I very often get stuck in phases, in moments, and I become so infatuated with them that I don’t allow myself to move onto a new series. It can be frustrating and it tends to hold me back from portraying the message I want, as well as putting a barrier between myself and the viewer. You look at so many great artists, their early stages so drastically different to what we know now, and frankly, that is terrifying and exhilarating. I want to be able to continuously create, let my subject move like the times move, and since we live in a time where issues flow and change so drastically, it only makes sense that I train myself to evolve. I believe that has to be on of the most difficult parts of being an artist.

What’s happening in the news? Around the world? What do we love? What has to change? That’s what we’re talking about. That’s what we have to discuss, and it’s a heavy duty. In contemporary culture, we are the voices, and for years to come, we are the reflections of what happened here politically and socially. Nowadays, people look at a picture before they read a paragraph. We are so programmed to examine and watch, and being visual creators, we have to relay our messages to viewers to communicate. It’s hard work, but in the end it’s exciting and very worth it.

of people who are active. We have First Fridays where there is arts all over the streets, every gallery is open to all and music on every corner. It’s some of the best times there with fellow artists. The the culture is rich, especially the Black culture and youth cultures. Young African American artists in the area especially, thrive off the energy and support given from Philly. It’s such a young, hip, artsy city. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? To me, art isn’t just a thing that can be in itself, defined. I think it is the act of creating art, the resistance of it, being the artist and the creator that has meaning. To be an artist in these times is a damn hard job. In a way, we aren’t completely free to make what we want, but what the times want.

I had an art teacher in high school that told me that not one part of the drawing is more important than the other. That every piece of the painting is as important as another piece, from corner to corner. Of course, I ran with that and every piece I make I put as much effort in the hand as I do a glass on a table. Some people tell me my paintings are too loaded, or needs “air”, but to erase that little bit of advice from what I make would seem as though I am erasing a part of myself. Believe me, I’ve tried. What are your future plans as an artist? I am ambitious. I would love to travel the world and see art from other African Diaspora, and to see how their lives influence their art. I want to be able to take art, and promote it in my community and teach them that the art world isn’t reserved for the wealthy, for men, for white people. I want to teach others to invest in the arts, to promote creativity and of course, create great work. I’d love to experiment more with gallery culture and dabble in performance. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Profile for Art Reveal Magazine

Art Reveal Magazine no. 30  

Jeni Bate, Philippine Boulay, Jordan Clayton, Sol Felpeto, Roosmarijn ten Hoopen, Weiman Liu, Clare Massey, Sooo-z Mastropietro, Marissa Men...

Art Reveal Magazine no. 30  

Jeni Bate, Philippine Boulay, Jordan Clayton, Sol Felpeto, Roosmarijn ten Hoopen, Weiman Liu, Clare Massey, Sooo-z Mastropietro, Marissa Men...