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F.O.K.U.S. uses the arts to unite, inspire and empower diverse communities. This is accomplished through the production of events, workshops and the publication of INSIGHT, our quarterly arts magazine. F.O.K.U.S. is an organization led by young adults that highlights the importance of and need for the arts and creativity in life. We believe the arts enable people to rise above barriers in society by creating new ways of thinking, communicating, and interacting.


Volume IV | Issue 3 02 04 06 16 26 29 30 38 46 52 60 68

Letter From the editor Street StyLe art iS...not SeLF we on a worLd tour one Power neuro PaintinG maKinG my LiVinG P-FunK the Painted StorieS Priz hymS inFinte PLayLiSt

Street StyLe


articLeS / Q&a



F.o.K.u.S. cru

inFinite PLayLiSt

PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / LAYOUT & DESIGN: ATIBA T. EDWARDS Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light.


Allison believes that children are the best artists—they are individual universes of infinite creativity.


Andrew has always been on the fortunate side of the fence thinking about how the people on the other side of the fence feel, and he wants to break down that fence.

CONTRIBUTORS: ELEANOR BENNETT / JENNY BUCCOS / ROBERT DANIELS / ATIBA T. EDWARDS / JAMES EDWIN / AL JANAE HAMILTON / KATHRYN KLOPP / ALLISON MARTIZA LASKY / PRIZ / SYMA Questions and comments can be directed to Submission inquiries can be sent to All advertising inquiries can be directed to INSIGHT is published by F.O.K.U.S. Inc. All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of F.O.K.U.S., Inc. or INSIGHT.



We are blessed to have a wide array of art and artists in this issue. The common theme is each artist tells a very personal story through art. Eleanor Bennet is a 15-year old photographer who was able to accept who she was and what her talents were through art. Allison got a chance to sit with Kathryn Klopp who is a teacher and artist that wants give children the opportunity to keep marrying art with education. How do you make money as an artist? This is one of the questions that each artist must answer at their fork in the road. If the artist can come up with an answer, then they will continue on their artists journey. If the artist cannot answer that question, then they usually give up on art. Syma shares some of her success with monetizing her art. She has done small creations all the way to sides of buildings in Philadephia and Boston. Her story gives a good bit of insight that may be helpful along your artistic journey. Jenny Buccos and ProjectExplorer are trailblazers in using video as a tool in education. She used technology to create alternative education preceding the YouTubes and Skypes of the world. The best part of it all is that all the tools and resources are provided for free. James Edwin, Al Janae Hamilton, Priz and Robert Daniels all channel their youth, travels, experiences and visions onto canvas and through the camera lens. Their canvas and photography stories touch on many different points. Read through this issue to take a pretty rich and exciting trip on an artistic rainbow. Can the pot of gold only be found at the end of the rainbow?

Atiba T. Edwards 2 | INSIGHT

COVER aRT: OUT OF aLIGNMENT Volume IV | Issue 3 RObERT daNIELS This mixed medium work of art portrays a dysfunctional family in the urban setting. The pain from the verbal and alcohol abuse is clearly etched on the faces of the family members. The colors are as dark as the mood. The original work is 41x 49 and was created in 2009. Robert daniels is a visual artist and educator. He is the founder of Nappy Head Art. You can find his art on: as well as His e-mail is Robert is also a member of the Weusi Artist Collective and the Harlem Arts Alliance.


Street Style: keys to brooklyn

Photo by Allison M Lasky

aRT IS...NOT... an interview by aLLISON M. LaSKy a svelte, sweet-faced Kat Klopp sits high up on a bar chair at Tillie’s in Ft. Green, brooklyn eating a muffin and sipping coffee. at first glance, you think, right… there’s another brooklyn hipster chick trying to look like she belongs. When I first met her, she was being pulled around a gymnasium-gone-gallery by one of her many students at the academy for Urban arts & Letters a few blocks away from where we’re meeting now. after our first hour of conversation turned interview and back again, Kat responded to our F.O.K.U.S. question ‘how do you finish the line ‘art is…’?’ by saying “I studied philosophy of language in school, and learned that definitions are often sought out by what they are not as opposed to by what they are… art is not…a mirror. actually, I don’t think you can define it like that, shit!” and so the social worker turned artist tuned teacher sat next to me as we unfolded her path to where she’s been, where she is, and, where she’s going.


ALLISON M LASKY: So where do we, well you begin? Kathryn Klopp: I was glued to the crayon since birth. My mom pulled me into art especially since our depressed community in East Palo Alto and Redwood City, C.A., offered little to no excitement for me. As soon as I realized I had the ability to create on my own, I became a hoarder of art materials. It didn’t take much to draw – it was a hobby and an outlet. My parents must’ve gotten sick of my creative process – they’d buy me the materials, I’d do my thing, and then throw it out only to begin again. I was always doing art, but I was reluctant to make it a career - I didn’t want to commercialize it. AML: You are clearly an artist now, in more ways than one. At that time, though, without art as a forseeable career, what was the next creative move? KK: Teaching. It was, and is, so natural for me. I see it, art, as a gift to a child – instant and visible outcomes. Last year, I taught in the Bronx, and one of my high school students who doubled as a skateboarder got in trouble with the law. Though it was a holiday, I had begged for my school director to keep the art room open for kids to have a place to go, and I would be responsible for them. Instead of creating in the art room, my student was attacked by a cop because skateboarding was a punishable offense. It occurred to me that my students were thirsty for the ability to

art is...not...

be artists in a space that would encourage their pushing limits, not punish them for their ideas. I inevitably left that program due to cutbacks, but established a new program through a local non-profit marrying graffiti and classical art ideas that encourages high school students to look forward to college while living the dream-being an artist. I believe and know that young people are smart enough to push the horizons of art if given the opportunity. Also, that the notion that art can offer a forseeable career and future must be tangible enough so that art becomes a vehicle for education as well. AML: I’m definitely all about education? I’m immersed in it, and am also able to see art on a daily basis amount to more than just what it is. I’m so curious to know though, how did you first become connected to youths? KK: While studying in Oregon for undergrad, I worked with gang involved youths as a probation officer [yea]. The youths I worked with were all so driven by art as a hobby so I was excited to be able to focus on that. Judges would pass down, in my opinion, contradictory sanctions for these kids. While on probation, they wouldn’t be able to leave their homes or speak to their friends- so what do you do? Go crazy. Come to art. And that’s what happened – I would get black books, markers, etc. for them. I believe its therapeutic and the more I worked, connected, the more I saw the social/emotional growth the kids experienced by venting their insides out onto paper. They were finally able to see

they were good at something, they had worth. That also translated into my initial work here in New York. When I got here two years ago, I set up a trip to 5 Points with my students where they were given small wall spaces to create on their ownand they owned it, the art, it was theirs. Despite many of their parents not seeing art as a legit activity, and the disconnect between disapproving parents and their creatively active children, the kids will always know there is art that exists in a permanent space that they can be proud of. AML: Kids are the best artists. [Kat nods] And you, what kind of artist are you? What is your relationship to art? KK: I am always ready to participate in art. I’m on a constant personal evolution through art, through me. My art is a mixing of things outside my head that end up on a canvas through my actions. My paintings teach me…they teach back to me about who they are, about who I am. Whereas I might have started off with a random mess of ideas, suddenly, the piece will have meaning that I/it didn’t come with. It’s like a person having a conversation with someone smarter than me. And, because no one has the ability to manifest everything inside, I am constantly reliving the cycle of life evolution, of creating. I am showing myself that I can’t make perfectly what I saw in my brain, but that’s the whole thing. Its what is not in my brain that comes out in my work that I sit back and say ‘how did this canvas know that I was going through this in my life right now?’ INSIGHT | 7


Style Spray Paint on Board, 2008


Kai Spray Paint on Board, 2011



art is...not...

My relationship with my art is so honest – art is my best friend – it is beautiful but grotesque. I’m not religious, I’m more spiritual, so art is all I have sometimes. It is my confessional in a way because it makes itself. It’s supernatural and disconnected in a way. And, I can be afraid of it. AML: Emotional connections to art are seemingly universal, but personal. Do you find your emotions pre, post or during your creative process? What is your process? KK: I’ve come to know that if you can only appreciate the pretty phase then ‘ok, good for you.’ But beyond that point, there exists entertainment for people who see that – see the grit, grime, voids even. For example, I have found it interesting that some of my art is just collage-like, pulling images from disparate scenes. It’s a revolutionary way to make meaning. By juxtaposing and creating, I am making a new beat – I am making that meeting, or maybe the canvas did. I can be and am part of the emotional journey because it is mine. When I was young, I read this book, My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok – this boy takes a cigarette from his sick mom’s ashtray, thinks the cigarette being there for him is perfect timing, and proceeds to use the ash to draw – that’s what I do. I see something, it’s like a puzzle. I see something and I know how to draw it. I see a material and I know how to use it. And while I admire artists who have a style, I don’t’ think I can do that so I have to keep trying everything. Back to emotion. I am worried about having to outgrow myself, getting in a rut. There was a good 12 | INSIGHT

period of time that I wasn’t painting – I was tired and sad because I wasn’t getting enough of the back and forth between the canvas and me. I’m a learner, I need to do it/art all the time so I was completely starved for it during that period. Finally, I started listening to music and audio books while getting back into painting – I had to put myself into cultural overload so I’d be able to hear myself, experience myself, talk with me through my art again. One of the pieces that came out of those re-entry moments was a blue piece I made while living in the Bronx, listening to Oscar Wilde – the entire piece, every word I heard was me – I owned the work. It was then I began to wonder, if people could see my art the way I did, thus the question really became, could people see me, did they know me? I was full of AHA! moments then. Talk about an emotionally draining and eye-opening relationship – that’s what my art became. That’s how I got obsessed with painting Irises – yellow beard, tongue, doubledecker body – just like the talking flowers in Alice in Wonderland. I became a hermit with me and my art, having a nice time in my house. Going out felt more lonely than sitting with my paintings - I was rebuilding my relationship with myself. Thank you art!

Untitled (right) Oil on Canvas, 2009 Drink Me (pg 14) Acrylic on Canvas, 2010



art is...not...

AML: I used to think Alice in Wonderland was Allison Wonderland, and I can attest to spending many a moment transfixed to the idea that there was another world we could connect with and escape through – full of bright colors, crazy animals, and talking flowers. Thank you Disney! [KK: Yes, Disney, Art, Yes!] How are you feeling now, being here in the city and what are you doing to keep your love affair with art going strong? KK: Moving to NYC two years ago felt like coming home – the diversity of everything is so easy for me to be a part of. I need to get into straight up graffiti, street art, but I’m nervous to put myself out there – and that’s as out there as you can get. I’m such a hypocrite though – if I can teach it and preach it, I should be able to do it. I think back to when I studied abroad in Aruba and learned that people there aren’t really pressured to do or have incentive to choose a certain career because everyone’s pretty much broke. It wasn’t about talent, but about desire. This experience is so valuable to their culture because they were elevated to be what they wanted, not needed to be. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of collabs and it makes me so much happier. Doing large walls is a major goal for me because I hate people seeing stuff before it’s done. On top of that, the graf world is so male dominated because most have never experienced the pressure of what NOT to do in the same way women have.

would it be? KK: I feel I still am my childhood self. But I would say that it’s ok to do art because that’s probably what I needed to hear. AML: We’ve come full circle, and I’d like to throw out the question of the hour… if you could finish the line ‘art is…’ what would you say? KK: Shit! As soon as I would pin it [art] down in my head, it would contradict me and smack me in the face. It has the ability for us to use it as a second brain – a holding facility of the billions of bits of knowledge that we need to keep available to us. Art is a higher, more simple form of how we think. One of my students, De’Shuan does just that. He loves science, holds its words at the tip of his tongue and raps lyrics linking life and terminology from class. Eg. ‘I rock parties, sedimentary, crunchy like celery.’ While I can’t hold everything I want to in - and I constantly seek how to give back what I’ve lost in my own art- I see art as an efficient and abstract, but contained within it, millions of pieces. Art tells me what it is and I say, ‘oh, that’s cool.’ allison believes that children are the best artists— they are individual universes of infinite creativity.

AML: If you could tell your childhood self anything about your art experience, what INSIGHT | 15


photography and words by ELEaNOR bENNETT Slow Child (right): A self portrait I took about feeling out of your depth. I often used to feel scared of opinions and how people felt about me. Once I shed the fears I found I started winning awards and being published. Art and photography have given me a great reason to embrace who I am. Nobody ever conforms , to say the word “normality� you are telling a bare faced lie. eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year-old photographer and artist who has won contests with national Geographic,The woodland trust, The world Photography organisation, Papworth trust, winston's wish and nature's Best Photography. 16 | INSIGHT

Look to the Sun: This is a new series of pictures on recycling and feeling thrown away. View more photos from the series at

Fight Down: This is a self portrait on aggression and violence. At times with the imagery thrown at us growing up it can make you feel angst and frustrated. Having things to do, hobbies, interests, achievements can save your mind and soul. Art helps to tame a 20 | INSIGHT savage being and is a prime distraction from mayhem.

Carpet of Ice and Stone: This image is about braving the elements and baring yourself in front of doubters and harsh realities. I am standing on metal covering a sheet of ice.



Checkering My Work: I took this at the world photography festival in London this year. It is about how you often never know about how people behind the scenes work to make everything perfect. INSIGHT | 25

WE ON a WORLd TOUR an interview by aTIba T. EdWaRdS Jenny buccos lets you travel the world for free. bucous is responsible for capturing her travel experiences in video and bringing them to the classroom via online videos and lesson plans, exposing youth to different cultures, landscapes and alternative ways of learning. Simply put, it’s what she calls the “Travel Channel for kids.” Her primary audience is 8 to 18yr olds but many of the videos appeal to adults. ProjectExplorer has been around for over 8 years and about 4 millon students have used it. ProjectExplorer is focused on supplementing the education system by providing free videos, lesson plans and will even help teachers integrate it into their classroom. The videos cover a wide range of topics from Newton's Law to world music. We sat with Jenny to learn a bit more about her trailblazing the use of online video for teaching, ProjectExplorer and its role in education. ATIBA T. EDWARDS: What led you to start ProjectExplorer? JENNY BUCCOS: I was sent to Hong Kong on my first job and it totally changed my life. I thought if every child could have 26 | INSIGHT

the opportunity to experience a different country and culture, how different our lives would be. Later, I took the money I got with my severance package and started ProjectExplorer in 2003- before YouTubeto try and convince teachers, parents and students that online video was the next thing in education. I also saw Project Explorer as a way to help correct some of the misconceptions and racism I noticed towards other cultures. ATE: How do you go about picking your locations and series? JB: ProjectExplorer picks its series based on student, parent and teacher feedback. I picked England as the location for the first series since I didn't speak a foreign language and the jet lag was minimal. South Africa was the next location and then the list grew from there to include Central and South America, Tibet, Afghanistan, North Korea, Pakistan and India. All places that are newsmakers but kids only know the name and a few words associated with them. For example, when we asked kids what they thought of the Middle East, they would say war and terrorism. So the focus of that series is to break down war and terrorism. With South Africa, people thought of war and AIDS and with Mexico people thought of immigration and people taking jobs away. We try to teach topics not taught in schools so we can address the misconceptions. So we look and decide on what countries we can go to to break down boundaries and address peoples misconceptions.

WE ON a WORLd TOUR ATE: What was the most difficult shoot you had? JB: We were shooting a snorkeling segment in Thailand. It was 100 degrees and it took 8 hours and we had no cover from the sun. I learned if you get very dehydrated you go deaf because the water in your ear dries out. ATE: How do you see ProjectExplorer fitting in with today's education system?

to molecular gastronomy to religions of the world. We give teachers what they need and students a different way to learn. Not all students learn by reading, some learn by hearing and seeing. So no matter how you learn we are doing that; textbooks don't do that as they are outdated as soon as they are printed. ATE: How do you see technology playing a role in education?

EdUCaTION IS a bUSINESS. bUT WE aRE a NOT-FOR-PROFIT. WE aRE NOT dOING IT FOR THE MONEy. OTHER COMPaNIES aRE a bUSINESS aNd aRE NOT GOING TO PROVIdE THEIR PROdUCTS OR THE FULL PROdUCT FOR FREE. JB: ProjectExplorer is designed to supplement the U.S. education. For example when we shot the history of apartheid in South Africa. We show how it relates more to the Native American movement rather than the Civil Rights movement. We look at it from a historical perspective of systems of segregation across the world. So we would cover apartheid in South Africa to genocides in Rwanda to the Holocaust. We are not meant to replace traditional education rather we supplement it I think teachers need to be empowered with every resource they can find and that's what ProjectExplorer is trying to do. We cover everything from the physics of bungee jumping to voting for the first time with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to world music

JB: 10 years ago everyone was talking technology in the class room. Now that we have it, it is about finding the right resources that teachers need. I would like to see more technology and content created specifically for schools. Skype and YouTube are good for education but are not tailored for education. That's where ProjectExplorer fits in as there are so few sites that are specifically developed for education. More of those sites need to exist because the older teachers don't know how to adopt technology into the class room. The more things that we can use technology wise that are specifically designed for a teacher to plug and play, the easier technology integration will be into education. Cisco (one of my sponsors) is brilliant with their telepresence application and being able to connect a teacher or INSIGHT | 27

WE ON a WORLd TOUR classroom to one in Africa, but things like that are not easily accessible financially. We are filling a space that no one else is filling right now. No one else, that I know of, is doing it for free. Education is a business. But we are a notfor-profit. We are not doing it for the money. Other companies are a business and as a result, are not going to provide their products or the full product for free. ATE: What areas has Project Explorer gotten the most traction? JB: Big cities are the easiest. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut has been the easiest because we can do school visits. I would love people in Kansas and Texas to use it but they are not as open to it. California, Indiana, the Carolinas and Canada are also big areas for us. 3/4 of schools using ProjectExplorer are lowincome schools and that's why we are free. It is great that expensive schools can use it but they can also afford to travel. ATE: What are your ideal plans for ProjectExplorer in the future? JB: Right now when we go to a country, we film, come back and edit then write the lesson plans and it goes to a classroom. We would like the capability to do live broadcasting. So when we go to pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico, we can ask students around the world what do they want to know and give them the answers. It is connecting that user experience immediately rather than waiting for the Jenny Buccos on location. Photo from Jenny Buccos 28 | INSIGHT

next series. ATE: Complete the phrase 'Art Is...' JB: Art is a universal language. Look at any picture, painting or drawing and no matter what language you speak you can understand it. Visit to access the free videos and lesson plans and also learn more about Jenny and the entire Project Explorer team. aiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light.


student photographer: Julietta Hoffbauer Sanch student artists from the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters: Jabari Prescott, Ibrahim Demry, Pharaoh Egbuna

aLLISON MaRITza LaSKy During the final week of school at the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters, a gallery exhibition was held in the school gym, featuring all students' pieces and collaborations throughout the year. Students in one photography class were asked to replicate famous photos in history with their own creativity. Not only did this project catch my eye, but I was taken back by this particular photo - the remake of the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute. allison believes that children are the best artists—they are individual universes of infinite creativity.


NEURO PaINTING painting and words by JaMES EdWIN a direct relationship between the artist and the canvas, I seek to explore the human mind. Taken at face value, the work becomes a labyrinth of infrastructure developed through impressionistic expressionism. Figurative forms dance throughout the work, as humanistic thoughts manifest within the painting. Palette choices are based upon mind frame and spontaneity. as forms begin to exist in the work, choices are made to destroy them or compound upon them. Layers build upon layers into a network of interaction. Careful scrutiny leads the viewer's eye across the work as though inspecting a body. Unable to place a timeline of events, the viewer becomes aware of the work as an entity. It thus manifests into living existence, a relationship pulses between the artist and the viewer. Immediately, questions force introspection. Forms tug at imagery of the mind. The maze of interacting brushstrokes give birth to manifested imagery. Faces appear and disappear, as molesting figures palm at painted forms. Sternocleidomastoid #01 (right). 2005-2006. Oil on canvas. 60” x 48”. The original piece of the series, this work shows one of the least abstracted of the figurative forms that teeters on the edge of the implicit and reduced. Sternocleidomastoid #05 (pages 24-25). 2007-2009. Oil on canvas. 30” x 48”. Finished at the same dark stage as the latter, the palette echoes the evil sadistic nature of the piece. Sternocleidomastoid #06 (pages 28-29). Oil, pastel, ink, and charcoal on canvas. 20062009. 60” x 96”. The largest and most extensively worked, this piece is a testament to the theory to the series. It speaks incandescently to the forms inspired by the fascia of the human form. James Edwin was born and raised in the United Kingdom in Manchester. He moved to Tennesse in the United States at age 11. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in Studio Arts with a concentration in photography. He moved to New York in 2008 to pursue his photographic candid street portrait series and seek inspiration for his continuing abstract expressionistic paintings. He works and lives in Brooklyn. His work is available for viewing via appointment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 30 | INSIGHT





Sternocleidomastoid #02. 2006-2007 (left). Oil on canvas. 71” x 58”. This piece attempts to move towards the figure from the face, however subconsciously ended as a labyrinth of the lineaments.

Sternocleidomastoid #03. 2008 (right). Oil on canvas. 36”x22”. One of the smallest pieces in the series, this work synthesizes silhouetted figure with it’s anatomical components.




MaKING My LIVING words and art by SyMa I set up my first ceramic studio and showroom above Al's Liquor Store in the center of a little town outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, in the early 1970's – and it has been a rich journey ever since. Balancing my creative process with the challenge of finding ways to put my work out into the world, and making a living as an artist, continues to be an on-going process. In order to keep my studio open I have begged, borrowed, and bartered. I have taken on roles such as being a part-time classroom art teacher; a visiting artist and artistin-residence; a workshop leader in multiple venues; and an art-activities therapist at a psychiatric hospital. I taught pottery workshops in my studio, and drawing lessons around my dining room table.


MaKING My LIVING Currently I am teaching Studio Sunday Workshops at New York's MAD Museum, as well as drop-in drawing sessions and family programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with Boston area architects to create low-relief panels for building facades in Boston and Philadelphia. I have sold my art works at local street fairs, craft shops, museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as at my own studios and recently, my online store I funded my first pottery course by working three days as a waitress on the Jersey Shore. Years later, dressed as a gypsy, I read palms at a street fair to raise the funds needed to attend a session at Haystack Mt. School of Crafts. I have been exceptionally fortunate as there has been a lot of magic in my life. One foggy morning, I was walking on the beach, wondering how to cover expenses when out of the mist stepped a former patron exclaiming that he was delighted to see me because he wanted to commission a ceramic charger for his kitchen wall. A knock on my front door often revealed a friend wanting to buy a gift from my studio. Another chance meeting was with the architectfather of my young daughter's playmate led to the first of my collaborations with architects and interior designers. Friends and family have been supportive in often surprising ways.


How have I been able to monetize my art? By selling the art-making process as well as the art work. By sprinkling a little 'magical thinking' into the mix of working hard and being lucky. By holding the belief that hard cold cash, though always welcome, is not the only form of currency. And by being open to the exploration of new possibilities. The wheels of synchronicity have been good to me. INSIGHT | 41

aka Mr. Reed

Adenike is a Brooklyn girl who loves conversation and despises time; her goal is to be limitless.

Millinery Resuscitation


MaKING My LIVING WildeBeads Necklace (pg. 36) Terra cotta clay with underglaze on satin cord / 2005-11 / photot: Cary Wolinsky I have led many hands-on workshops, most recently for the Asia Society Museum, where participants use clay and feathers and found objects to create imaginary creatures. Miniature samples had long been acting as kiln-gods in my studios. Eventually I made some with holes and strung them together to wear to an art event in London. Each WildeBead in my necklaces is individually hand-made and hand-painted. My hope is that they might function as a kind of magical amulet. That wearing WildeBeads is a way to celebrate the wearer's own imagination; and to honour their own wild side. Newer, simplified versions of the WildeBeads necklace will soon be available from my Small Works shop. Working w/ clay in MAD Museum studio during 6 month artist-in-residency (pg. 37) Terra cotta clay / 2010 / photo: R.G.Kahn My residency goal was to expand the scale and the scope of my series of Pots of Gold. Following an assignment from the Metropolitan Museum to present a hands-on activity to accompany a lecture on Greek and Roman Art, and marking a return to my earlier love affair with the ancient Greek Vases, I began making a group of 'faux Greek' black-figure pinch pots less than 3 inches tall. In response to current economic conditions, wishing that everybody could have access to the little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I lined the interiors of my little vessels with 24k. gold leaf. Working in the MAD studio and interacting with museum visitors, helped me to crystallize my intentions and spurred on the evolution of the series. One of 28 Student and Trustee Window Corners (pg. 38) Sculptured Brick on the exterior facade of Gutman Library, Philadelphia University / architects: Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott / designer and fabricator: Syma / brick clay, firing, and technical assistance: Morin Brick Company / photo: Syma I made life masks of 'high profile' university students and trustees. After sketching and photographing campus architectural details, researching cirriculum and the college history, I consulted with students, librarians, and the school president, as well as the architectural team. These collaborations resulted in three surrounds for the faces, with interchangeable tops and bottoms, giving us content-relevant 'frames' for the individual faces. Symbolism included references to the schools athletic team mascot, the president's vision for the future, elements of textile design and manufacture, machine and computer parts, and slightly bent old fashioned computer cards that double as images of city buildings. 44 | INSIGHT

MaKING My LIVING Ole Blue Eyes Must Have Loved New York: From the Pots of Gold Series (pg. 39) Terra cotta clay with underglaze and 24k. gold leaf / 2010 / photo: D. James Dee Created during my residency at MAD Museum in New York City, using a traditional African coil-building technique; conversations with museum visitors inspired the cut-out windows and the use of blue dots to indicate the eyes of hidden faces. I looked for shadows in the burnishing marks, or finger marks. Then I painted the suggested shapes and tried to let my imagination go wild, while I carved the details to develop the visual imagery. I think that I do these black figure drawings in this manner to remind myself that in my life, nothing is ever only what it seems to be. 9/11: In Search of‌ (pgs. 40 and 41) Terra cotta boot with mixed media / 2001-02 / photo: Syma Adding toy airplanes to my grandmother's tiara, using a running stitch to sew the magazine images onto the back of the velvet cape, morphing the peace symbol into a stylized airplane badge; making this art work helped me to deal with my experience of being present at ground zero during the events of Sept. 11, 2001.


P-FUNK words and photos by aL JaNaE HaMILTON I have always been fascinated by space. The concepts of aliens, extraterrestrials, and possibilities of other forms of life enthralled me as a young child. as a girl, I imagined myself as George Clinton, sailing off in a P-Funk space ship to explore otherworldly life. Today, I find that I am doing exactly that. as an artist, I attend to concepts of what I describe as "alien" blackness. as Marlon Riggs contemplated what blackness "is" and "ain't" during his artistic and earthly lifetime, I too am interested in pushing the boundaries of black identity through the intimacies of the "alien" realms of afro-punk, black queer life, "alternative" spirituality, mental illness, sexual kink, and other non-normative conceptions of black existence. Evoking the aesthetics of afrofuturism within my themes, I explore what it means to be an "alien" within the literally "extra-terrestrial" african diaspora. The mechanisms of photography, painting, installation, and costume design allow me to stretch the limits between pleasure and pain, kinship and estrangement, migration and citizenship, and to complicate notions of gender, sexuality, and the body. My work is recognized for its sharp contrast and vivid intricacies, which ferociously capture a subject's most interior emotions. The intense details of my candid photographs reveal subtle intimacies in a striking manner, whether in the strands of hair in a thick braid or an expression teetering between a wide smile and painful grimace. The knowing eyes of dementia, the wrinkled hands that clutch a loved one, the tensed muscles of a vogue pose, and the ugliness of painful, bloody scars are transformed from subtleties into hard-hitting visual candor. My photographs have often been described as "haunting," and it is in this vein that I rupture comfortable understandings of "normal" and "alien" life.

Al Janae Hamilton is a visual artist from Miami, Fl., currently based in New York City. Evoking the aesthetics of Afrofruturism, her artwork attends to the concept of "aliien" blackness and pushes the boundaries of black identity through photography, film, painting, costume and installation.View more work at www. 46 | INSIGHT





THE PaINTEd STORIES words and photos by RObERT daNIELS I am inspired by the desire to tell a story. artist are messengers and we document information in a visual form. I want both our children and african-american adults to feel pride and identify with their rich and illustrious history. art is a source of pride and spiritual healing. Robert is a passionate abstract artist who works beyond the confines of convention. His work is layered with historical themes relating back to his african ancestors, and filled with spiritual undertones. daniels art takes on a form of spiritual worship. bobs work breathes vivid colors and his use of collective linear planes and textures defines his exquisite signature style. Nappy Head art is remarkably intricate and refined, yet unpretentious and warm. Robert is a Visual Scientist.

Multicultural. 2004 (right). Mixed medium work. 42x28. Depicts my old neighborhood East Harlem. Sisters. 2006 (page 54). Mixed medium collage/ painting. 36x36. The picture depicts my two daughters in the foreground and me watching them in the background. silhouetted figure with it’s anatomical components.

Robert Daniels is a visual artist and educator and the founder of Nappy Head Art. Robert is also a member of the Weusi Artist Collective and the Harlem Arts Alliance. You can find more of his works on www. as well as Robert can be contacted via e-mail at or 347-419-9491. 52 | INSIGHT


Visions. 2003 (right). Mixed medium. 24x36. The relationship between two people coming together in thoughts to focus on there dreams. Never Alone. 2007 (page 56). This is a segment of a mural size painting. this is the section that I painted. It depicts an urban child daydreaming. this is a reoccurring theme in a lot of my work.






Fruit of My Loins. 2000 (page 58). A tribute to the children in my life at this time. Kings & Queens. 2010 (page 59). Mixed media on tar and paper. 2010. This painting depicts our regal ancestral linage... Remeber, a lot of the slaves stolen were from royal families.


PRIz HyMNS words and illustrations by PRIz My art work is a combination of comic-book art, commercial art and the many subway-style influences and letter concepts of the 1970's. I still use the old nose bleed designers, Prismacolors markers and technical pens when I draw in my black books. I've always preferred inking in the color black because it brings out a gritty, raw, old school feel in the first phase of my sketches. I'm inspired by my predecessors who unknowingly mentored and indirectly inspired me every time I applied pencil to paper, benched on a subway station or drew comic-book characters. When I draw, the beginning results are always a naked, stripped down version with all its imperfections exposed. I believe that there's beauty in this. a spontaneous draft from pencil to ink and then to color, which reveals unintentional details that I don't notice until I've finally completed the sketch. I don't like to hide my letters nor camouflage them in too much detail or color. I feel that when you add too much, you sometimes loose something. To me, the first outline will always be the purest form whether I'm sketching out illustrations or wild styles

"HINT OF THE 70's." - INK. (1983) (left) This was another early tag alias (SWAN-ONE) that I wrote in the late 70's. I incorporated the tag with my interpretation of a popular graffiti character, which was represented on numerous walls and subways cars in those days. "MOS EISLEY's 5TH." (M.E. 5) - INK. (2008) (right) I've been a Star Wars fan since its inception. I incorporated the number "5" into the drawing and title because it is numerically important when it comes together with the other two initials that make up our crew: TSF/TS5 (THE SPANISH 5IVE). 60 | INSIGHT



"CAN IT." - INK/PRISMACOLOR MARKERS. (2007) It's a portrait that expresses my behavior as a writer sometimes. This happens when I talk too much about painting and obtaining large quantities of spray paint to create with. INSIGHT | 63

BET/NIKE HIP- HOP AWARDS 2009 CYPHER WALL SKETCH. INK/PRISMACOLOR MARKERS. (2009) I was asked to submit sketches for a possible paint project, which happen to be for the background walls of the 2009 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher segment. To my surprise, the powers that be chose scribblers instead. I came up with this sketch and it's interpretation of what I had seen, experienced and became part of as a kid growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the late 70's when Hip-Hop was at it's infancy.




METHOD TO MY MADNESS. - INK. (2011) I was a novice, obsessively practicing to become a legit writer. As a kid growing up in the 60's and the 70's, I drew this piece while reminiscing about the 60's, Adam West Batman series, the subway rides to and from Coney Island, Vaughn Bode Lizards, the colorful painted P.S. 9 walls by BYB (BAD YARD- BOYS) and the influential artwork of JEAN-13.

PRIZ started solo-bombing above ground in the late 1970s as a novice sreet writer. Influenced by the letter flow movement and arrow connections, PRIZ TS5, whose name is based on the Prima Font, describe his style as "old school." He continues to paint legally commissioned mural throughout the five boroughs along side longtime friend STAN-ONE TSF. INSIGHT | 67





INSIGHT Magazine | Volume IV | Issue 3