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ÂŠ 2014 All images are copyrights of the respective contributors featured. Images of this magazine shall not be transferred to third party members and/or released on platforms and sites without permission of each contributors.
DIRECTORS AND EDITORS
TOPE ELETU-ODIBO CREATIVE DIRECTOR JAMIE DEANGELO GRAPHIC DESIGNER/CONTRIBUTOR LAURA KUHL COPY EDITOR TALIA TAYLOR COPY EDITOR/CONTRIBUTOR
ver since I can recall, I have collected things: magazine clippings, quotes, and visually captivating postcards. For me, the combination of all of these aesthetics pinned up on my bedroom wall told a story and held a message that I would rehash to whomever wanted to hear it. Curating has always come naturally to me and the curiosity of new things is in my bones. Years later, this need to discover, collect, and curate has transformed into an online platform, a token of which you hold in your hands today. Bad Girl Confidence’s first magazine issue is a testament of a young woman’s aspiration to share beauty with the world. The vision was not always clear at the start, but my goal was unwavering. This magazine combines two of my greatest passions: the love of curating and the love for aspiring and inspiring individuals. It is no surprise that Bad Girl Confidence’s first issue is an Art issue. Over the last few years, I have found myself surrounded by people who make their own luck and fearlessly pursue their dreams. They burn the midnight oil to exercise a calling in their soul, producing works that make the rest of us gasp in awe. They create pieces that hug our souls. Each of the artists featured in this magazine are humbled in their craft, but it does not diminish their talent. As they hone their talents, your support will encourage them to blossom and reach their full potential. Going forward, Bad Girl Confidence will continue to discover and bring you creators from communities around the world to are relatively unknown yet produce astonishing work. Thank you all for your love and support. Enjoy, Tope Eletu-Odibo, Creative Director
Faith-Hope-Love by Natalia Rak
Anwar Bey Taylor
Roshi K. Roshi Take Our Imagination On An Incredible Journey To A Majestic Universe With Just Pencil, Paper, and Paint
here does the name Roshi come from? It sounds Japanese.
It actually started out as a codename in middle school and just kind of stuck throughout high school. What’s interesting is I’ve always had an intense interest in Japanese and Asian art and I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. A few years ago and right on the cusp of my mid-twenties I eventually stumbled across the meaning of Roshi. It is a honorific title given to a Zen teacher that has attained a high level of wisdom and a superior grasp and understanding of the Dharma. For some reason, finding the meaning of a name that felt more like a piece of me than my given birth name was a very profound moment. It was a sign to continuously be aware of the fact that I am always learning and everything is always a new experience. How did you get into drawing, spray painting, and art in general? I’ve always drawn. I came out the womb with a pencil, it’s the reason behind my pencil tattoo. Drawing has always been a calming thing for me and once I discovered I had a passion for Art History, I was gone. I could spend forever and a day in an Art Museum (and I have). Just the idea of all these other creators running back through our planet’s history really kind of speaks to my soul. Since I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, I could relate to these other humans that drew, sculpted, manufactured. I would say it feels like I just HAVE to do this. I wonder how many of them felt the same way? How
many of them go to that majestic universe in your mind where your colors and dreams travel to your hands and manifest in the “real” world. What inspires the pieces you create? This may blow your mind a little bit but people, places, and things. It’s as simple as that. I feel like me drawing is me recording my experiences. My moods, my feelings, ideas, an interesting piece of architecture. An interesting article that has awoken some passionate emotion in me. Sometimes just a beautiful color. Do your pieces usually carry a message the audience? If so, what are they? The more beautiful a piece the more I’m trying to say. If I’m upset I do really bizarre angry, inappropriate, tongue in cheek doodles. All I’m trying to say is fuck. If I do one of my ladies I’m trying to show you something much more beautiful and intricate, like a secret that I could only explain to you in colors. What is the most challenging piece you ever created? Probably the most recent piece that I’ve been working on, the Mayan woman. It’s the biggest one in the series and it was the one I was most “afraid” of. Sometimes you get to a certain place in a painting where you love where it’s going but maybe you freeze up because you aren’t quite sure where to take it next or you have a gripping fear of fudging something. I’m realizing that being afraid of the mistake shouldn’t stop me from at least learning in the process.
11 You recently took part in an ArtSlam in San Antonio how was it? How was that experience new for you? How was it challenging? The ArtSlam in San Antonio was a great learning experience and a lot of fun getting to meet different artists I had only previously known through social media. I haven’t done a lot of convention type events so I’m still wet behind the ears in that realm. But I learn more every time and I enjoy them every time so I would love to do more. What are your future aspirations? Where would you like to take your work? I would like to continue illustrating for as long as my fingers allow. I would like to take my fingers on a trip to illustrate all the colors and shapes in the world. How would you describe your art style? Rambunctiously feminine and sassy, but wrapped in the sweetest colors a palette could handle. Where can we find your work on display? On sale? I have been doing small shows here and there for the past few months. I’m kind of on a break from showing work while I create new paintings for EAST (East Austin Studio Tour). What challenges have you faced if any working solely in art? The challenge of having to constantly create and get over any lingering self-doubt. What advice would you give others who would like to grow in this area? I’m still growing myself in this area. I get over my lingering self doubt by telling myself that it’s just time to grow and stop being afraid. That’s that.
Afua Richardson As a modern day African-American woman, Afua Richardson juggles many hats; some of which we would be jealous. She is a comic book creator, best known for her work in Top Cow’s Pilot Season, Genius. On another day she becomes the lead singer and flutist of the band Waking Astronomer. When she is not using both her gifted instruments (pen and voice), she is teaching, engaging in activism, and mentorship. Every seconds counts. Afua paused from her busy schedule to give Bad Girl Confidence the lowdown on her work and her life!
fua is such a beautiful name, what is the origin? Does it factor into your work as an artist?
Thank you, my father named me Afua because I was born on a Friday. In Ghana , it is common to give a child the name of the day they were born on. Similar to an astrological sign like a Taurus or Capricorn, I’m an Afua with apparent distinguishing characteristics native to the Friday Born girls. A boy born on Friday is named Kofi. After telling people that, people assume I’m from some place as exotic as Ghana or as lush as the Caribbean. ‘ What Island are you from?’ - they ask. To which I reply ,’ Manhattan?’ Does my name factor into my work? Hmm, it makes me more inclined to research the significance of mythos of ancient societies and also the etymology of words. Words, like art are symbols, that if interchanged and intentionally placed, can elicit multivalent meanings when used. I hope to make people feel something when they look at my work on many levels other than its content and composition.
What mediums do you use to create? Which do you find yourself returning to the most? I tend to do a lot of my final work in Adobe Illustrator. Its spoiled me actually. After making my own brushes I can digitally Paint in the program. But on most days, I’m using my beloved Col-erase pencils, a Pentel refillable brush pen with japanese sumi ink and water color. Since the demand for vector art is high and easily transferable , I still end up coming back to digital means most of the time. How did you discover your creative side? how did you figure out you could do this professionally? My father was a great supporter of my crafts. My older sister was inspiration as well, singing with me on the plastic covered couch holding hairbrushes and belting Whitney Houston and Lionel Richie songs. While my dad gave me cassettes and records of Carol King, Maurice Ravel and a box of 64 crayola crayons and the space to use it. He also gave me the means to learn how to learn. So I taught myself many of the things I wanted to learn how to do. in the 4th grade I started playing the flute. Once I gained the confidence to stand on a stage and pick up an instrument, it gave me the fortitude to try to learn other things. I thought ‘ surely this can’t be as difficult as triplet 64th notes…” A friend of mine named Brandon Graham introduced me to Terry Natier of NBM publishing in 2004 and dropped a word or two of confidence for me. I didn’t think I could do it, but he did and so did the editor. I thought to myself “ well, they ARE professionals,
perhaps they’d know a little better than I?” You work seems to focus on the sic-fi and fantasy genre, how do you navigate this space knowing how restrictive it has become for women and black artist? I’ve always been a big Science fiction fan. Some of the earliest books I’d worn the pages of when I read recreationally , were a medicine for melancholy by Ray Bradbury ( I’ll need to read that one again, its been a while) and later the likes of Tiger Tiger or the Stars my Destination, by Alfred Bester. Then as a teenager I poured myself into Heavy Metal comics and manga. I’m fascinated with the stars. I mean Think about it, we’re on a spinning rock revolving around a ball of fire on the arm of a galaxy that surrounds the mouth of a black hole. What’s not to fantasize about? This system of gears is amazing. Just thinking about the possibilities conjures thoughts and images that assembles themselves in the imagination. ( At least mine anyway) Restrictions are really just mental ones. If your work is good , the other things won’t matter. Your art will be seen first. Let it speak for you. Don’t worry about what color the face is of your favorite comic book hero. Don’t expect anyone to accurately tell your story. Make your own and make it on par with what exist if you can afford to. When someone is not invited to the party, they make a movement of their own. You see that evident in history. When the oppressed were walled off, they made another way by innovating. Then that beautiful movement, born of the need to speak for those not heard ,becomes the standard until its copied, marketed, sterilized and walled off again. Then cycle repeats. Create what you love, people will feel it in the lines. It will be timeless and live beyond you, beyond the thoughts of those who loved or hated it. It will be thrown into the ether changing people as they receive it. Support those who create and they will support you. I am not restricted because I won’t let myself see the walls. Not to ignore the plights and the real issues that are present in the lack of female creators,( or more importantly the THOUGHT that there a lack of both female creators and fans) but if you want to make comics or write books , do it. I had to create an online personna to hide the fact that I was a woman to get honest critique from older male artist. I was patronized, told things like “ you’re pretty good for a girl” or “ girls like comics? I can’t even
critique your work because I don’t want to scare you away!!! “ I didn’t want to be pretty good for a girl. I wanted to be GOOD. Perhaps they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, or perhaps they wanted to encourage me to keep going but knew time and repetition could give me what I was looking for. But once I broke the spell that was cast, I saw that If I planned, studied and asked friends and professionals who could honestly give me solid critique and advice on how to market myself and improve my work, that I could do anything I let myself THINK I could do. Idea of restriction became something like a glass ceiling with a Door. You just have to know where
to look to escape it .I think there has been a shift in the major comics community. They are starting to realize that by honoring female creators and fans, they open up to a consumer base that has been present the entire time, but just not acknowledged. That doesn’t mean put ribbons and bows on your comic books, but realizing that female creators are comparable with make creators can only benefit the public at large. People who never considered reading comics before, picking up a book because a character has a voice or an experience that reflects or inspires something in their life. the more variety you put in a creative medium, the larger your appreciators.
But he comics industry was not the thing that needed to change, it was ME. “ This will never be me” turned into “ Why NOT me?” then answering those questions became a strategy to improve. I’m still trying to improve. Art is an ever growing process. It’s work. It’s a skill or craft like any other. It may be something you enjoy doing, but it IS work. People just equate unhappiness with work so often, they get appalled at the idea of spending more of the hours of your ever fleeting life doing something you actually care about. How dare you take control over your life. I have to do this thing I hate. Work is not something you enjoy. It’s work. Bad programming
17 like that were the things I needed to change before I could consider doing art for a living. Apart from illustration and graphic art, you have also worked on books/comics? Which are you most proud of? It’s really hard to pick which project of mine I like the most. I’m so critical of them. I am proud to have the opportunity to do this for a living. Choosing a favorite piece is like choosing a favorite child or relative. One can probably say in their heads which they had the most fun being with, but it’s probably not polite to say ( ha) What can we expect from you in the future? What are your goals for the next year? I am making music again, So i plan to put out an album on several music projects and accompany them with art. one i’m particularly excited about is the Band, Waking Astronomer. a 5 piece band I am singing and playing flute , in that i have the privilege of creating some really experimental stuff with. Also The comic book entitled Genius written by Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman should be out this summer through top cow productions. I’m writing a few novels that are slow coming, but I really plan to do a lot more creator owned work this year. I have a lot to say, I want to get it out of my head already. I also have a desire to form an online school, sharing tips and tutorials and videos of my process to help others actualize their visions. I’ve got an online store that I plan to sell more prints and originals soon. In short, my goals, make more of what I love and not compromise my time for things I don’t. It’s either hell yes or hell no. Time is a currency that is irreplaceable when spent. Might as well spend it doing things I feel good about. Even if it’s not something for me personally. I really love your pinups, they are unconventional, keeping the tradition of pinups but challenging it too. How did you come up with these ideas? Thank you kindly! I’m a big fan of burlesque and classic pin ups. I love that era of jazz and class that is captured in those old grainy images of pointed toed damsels in cuban stockings. But , I don’t like
to color in the lines and stay in boxes. Many times, when I create my pin ups, I like to accompany the drawings with some of the research I’ve found that went into the creation of their accessories or even the positions of their hands. Some will be gestures from ancient dances of creation, others baring the names of the deities thought to bring agriculture and farming to certain cultures. I don’t want them to just be women in cute poses all the time. I’d love to, while capturing the attention of someone, make them think about the reality they inhabit. I’m trying to figure out how to represent some of the strange dreams I’ve had. It’s like a vision just beyond my capabilities most times. The good thing about that is, it encourages me to press forward. How would you like people to receive your art? what message, if any, are you trying to put across? You are a part of an amazing universe. underneath these lines and colors are a series of numbers and waves that sing a song we can’t quite hear the entire song of yet. Hopefully, my work can give you another melody to hum to.
o e nter the world of Bay Area artist, Samuel Rodriguez, is to encounter the evolution of an artist. His work has progressed from topographic graffiti to his current genre, a type of geometric-style portraiture that explore sociological themes. Rodriguez is an experimental artist and in my view, seeing his work is akin to witnessing the growth of hip hop. Graffiti was his foundation; it is evident in his work, however, something new has grown in its place. His work called Fractions is a great example this journey. He dissects portraits and assembles them using geometric shapes and colors to create a captivating message: individuals as a “walking melting pot” [see website]. This idea of using geometric shapes has continued into another exhibition that he participated in called The Composite Knowledge. Rodriguez’s work and his documented comments appear to point towards how captivated he is by identity and race. The uses of colors, textures, and structures is a way for him to explore multi-perspectives on how people identify each other visually. Here are a few of his pieces.
hile the world drifts forward into the digital age of smartphone photography and instagram filters, there are a few people that linger behind in the analogue age. The Lomography movement has garnered such a following because of the vibrant colors and incredible imagery produced using a small, enigmatic Russian camera. In a way, Lomography has become an exercise in experimental photography, creating artists out of the ordinary man. What professional photographers would call double exposure becomes more than that; it become art. The saturation and vignette effect that layer our instagram posts are the very effects of lomography that attracts public intrigue. What we love about Linaâ€™s lomo-produced imagery is the softness of her subject. Each image is personal, almost like a self-documentary film. Lina invites us to look at her world in a way only lomography can allow you to do. For the viewer it is an exploration, each shot is a moment frozen in time within a snow-globe, almost like a glitch in the matrix. Some images are unwittingly haunting while others elicit curiosity.
Natalia Rak N
atalia Rak, a young Polish artist, has the ability to take a simple theme and transform it into fantasy. Her work explores themes of aniexty, fear and bravey, discomfort, and transformation. Many of her paintings focus on children or the experience of childhood; its myopic longings, its night terrors, its incredible loneliness. Rak works on a scale both large and small. She’s responsible for several multi-story mural projects that range in focus from anonymous technicolor portraits to the story of Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden. Multi-talented, Rak can effectively render metallic surfaces, brick, stained concrete, and fabric. No texture escapes her attention. With her incredible finesse as an illustrator and story-teller, Rak transports the viewer to alternate realities, where what is familiar is made unfamiliar and strange, becomes odd and distorted. Like the Belgian surrealist Magritte, she’s got a steady hand, a sharp wit, and a wry sense of humor. Natalia Rak also provided Bad Girl Confidence with a piece called Faith-Hope-Love, which can be seen across from the editor’s note. Projecting confidence and attitude, this image of a fairy tale princess in protest captures the spirit of this first issue completely.
Christina Coleman The Coleman Effect Christina Coleman has been creating art for as long as she can remember. After showcasing her new installation that explores the culture (and perhaps politics) of hair in the US, we allow her to express in her own words her artistic evolution to this point in time.
was born in a French hospital in Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA. I mention this because my parents always say that, and it was interesting to them the whole French hospital in Chinatown. I’m born and raised in LA. My mother is from Fort Worth, Texas and my dad was born in LA. We have some roots in Louisiana and Texas. I’m 30 years old, born in 1984 - the Disney generation as I like to call it. Everyone had a VHS collection of disney movies. My earliest memory of making anything creative for myself was the drawing of the covers of these VHS tapes. I would take the drawings to school. My dad is an art lover and he has friends who are artists. I’m learning more and more that my aunts
really love art. My Aunt Bonny always had Charles Bibs hanging from the wall. We have a Clementine Hunter piece in the house. I didn’t even know who that was. I thought to myself, how is this here?! In my father’s house, you don’t see a lot of photos of me and my siblings. You see paintings from his friends; because his interest in art was so strong. He encouraged me, my brother, and my sister to get into art. He put us into classes on the weekend at Watt’s Tower Center, on Saturday morning and it was free. My mum would get upset and tell my dad not to take us to Watts “cause we’d get shot!” [Christina laughs]. It was something for us to go to. I would take these animation classes and I also took a photography class. It was a lot of fun! I remember thinking to myself that this is something I could do in the future. I thought I was going to be an animator, then I did this animation program called CICA. Then I realized I didn’t have the patience for it. Animating is a real tenacious, meticulous process. Some animators just animate rocks flying in the air all day. It is METICULOUS. So, I decided to go into visual art and fine art.
There is something to be said about an environment that encourages you to produce creatively. My mum always told me that whatever you do, you are going to have to do it for a long time, so it should be something you like. I went to visual arts high school. All the students there were really good. Oh my gosh! There was this one guy, Daniel Stone, this guy could draw anything that came into his mind. Absolutely anything! It was completely incredible to me. He would draw these comic books. It was very stimulating being in that kind of environment. Right now I live in Austin, Texas. I came here for graduate school to get a Masters in Fine Arts, which I finished in 2012. My trajectory was being born in LA, went to undergrad in LA, went to Beijing for a couple of years, came back to LA and now I am in Texas. I had gone on this exchange program for a month in the summer while I was at undergrad and I really liked it. When I was looking for a job after undergrad I decided to go to Beijing; but when I was there I kept doing art. So I decided to come back to do grad school for art. I donâ€™t think anyone needs a Masters in arts to be able to do art but I felt
like there were things I didnâ€™t finish in undergrad that I felt that getting a Masters could offer me. I was a bit of a late bloomer. Those were things I did more of during my Masters. I wanted to do work that I was proud of or that I can stand by, which I have. I wanted to see a lot more art, which I have been doing now. I am developing a community of people who are interested in similar things like me. At UT, where I did my Masters, I went into the program as painting and drawing and I left as sculpture and installation; but I always saw myself as not having more than one genre. David Hammond is a big influence on me. He has laid the foundation with what he does with human hair, chicken bones, grease, that kind of thing. The longevity of being able to produce art with a material that kind of wants to not be permanent. A lot of times the work I do is bound by the limits of the materials. A lot of sculptors are really known for manipulating a material to a point that you donâ€™t even recognize it. You can have that sort of autonomy with the material you work with or that control over it but you really are bound by it. Like Ursu-
la Von Rydingsvard, she works with wood. She is bound by the limitation of Cedar but she is able to transform it into these really great sculptures. My gosh! I have yet to see them in person. My current body of work deals with black women’s hair. I grew up having a sort of love/hate relationship with my hair. I liked it as it was but it was only when I straightened it that it seemed to be beautiful to others. So I grew up thinking I had to alter my hair in order for it to be beautiful. When I got older, I realized that I didn’t like how so many methods involved in altering my hair such as straightening it, getting braids, cornrows, etc. were a struggle or were painful. I began to question why my hair the way it was naturally couldn’t be considered beautiful? I particularly became interested in how some black women have to deal with this idea of “good hair” and have this love/hate relationship with their hair when they are very young. And so many of the materials I have used are ones popular in youth such as barrettes and ampro pro style hair gel. In some of the work I want there to be this juxtaposition of hair care products and accessories used in one’s youth and forms and shapes that represent the possibility of harm, danger, or protection, etc. I believe this happens with the staffs and spears I made as well as the large spider web installation I made.
Much of the work was inspired by experiences I have had with hair throughout my life. Most of it is me responding to, commenting on, or just depicting elements of the experiences. One such experience was wrapping ball barrettes around my hair at the ends and remembering how it hurt when I didnâ€™t clasp it right and the tension in the elastic band loosened and started spinning backwards and hit me on my head or fingers. However not every work I produce is representative of this love hate relationship with hair. What I really came to realize was that hair for me as a black woman represents something more than just a fiber that grows out of ones head. The experiences I have had as well as reading about different cultural historical practices with hair have given me the understanding hair relates to intimacy, power, psychology, spirituality, and many more. And so in each work I create, I hope to communicate that hair relates to ideas outside of its existence on our heads even ones as simple as the idea of being transported such, as in the hair arch I made. I also realized that working with hair and hair care products directly as materials allowed me to explore my visual artistic interests such as line, texture, repetition, and simplicity of form. Sometimes my artistic interests will take precedent over the ideas about black womenâ€™s hair and vice versa but I hope to try and maintain a good balance of both.
SHYaMa GOLDEN I
f you’ve never heard of a Catcsquatch before, now might be the time to look for one. In Shyama Golden’s painting of a legendary old monster, we see a new and funny version of the trope emerge: a big Sasquatch made up of hundreds of tiny, multi-colored, intertwined little kitties. Shyama Golden does a good job of making us want to look twice. Her illustrations, wonderfully detailed, precise renderings in pastel-colored oils, are fun to look at for their shapes and textures alone. However, it’s Shyama’s ability to tell stories within stories that makes her paintings so epic. She has tropes inside tropes; she makes you think you’re only seeing one thing, then shows you another inside the first. Many of her illustrations combine creatures you might find in a natural history museum combined with scenes of 1950s America: the Cambrian plus the Cold War, if you will. In home sweet Brachiousaurus, a dinosaur lumbers across a geomatric volcanic landscape, smiling at the pink sky overhead. If you peek a little closer, a cutaway in his belly shows a happy family sitting together at a tiny dinner table. In another painting, Shyma puts a little vignette of lady scientists (or circuit board operators) inside a pre-Historic and kind of grump looking fish. We at Bad Girl Confidence are so pleased to be able to showcase Shyama’s work.
KENNY KONG The Hip Hop Spirit Warrior In a galaxy far far away...well, Oakland, CA, resides a creator whose work defies our two dimensional world, transporting us into a quest of multi-dimensional proportions and cultural awakening! How would you characterize your work and pieces?
ately, my work has been characterized by hip-hop spirit warriors, using funky kungfu powers to transform themselves, their community, and their worlds. It’s a parallel future primitive world filled with poetry and metaphor, where people use cultural expression like dance, music, and art as a means of empowerment.
What fuels your inspirations and what influences your work? I’ve been a B-Boy for almost 15 years now and the ability to express myself through dance and movement in a raw and wild way is something that I carry into my work. When you get down on the dance floor, just letting it all go, with the music pushing your body, and people vibing off each other, it’s the greatest feeling. I’m not religious, but this is the closest I’ve felt to god. Other than that, I look a lot at street culture for inspiration. I grew up in Oakland and San Francisco, and have been into hip-hop my entire life. The first song I fully memorized was ‘The Humpty Dance’ by Digital Underground. I was in 1st grade singing Too $hort lyrics. Growing up, I realized there’s
43 and football in the streets, I kept drawing. I still draw almost every day. As a career, I began making art for video games in 2008, mainly doing 3D figure art. It’s been cool, but I got tired of it and went back to school to figure out what I really wanted to do. I thought I was tired of making video games, so I took a break and made sculptures and illustration work, until I realized that I still loved making video games. Now I’m making games again, but this time with my own ideas and messages. Where do you see yourself and your art going? Where would you ultimately like to end up? I think there’s tremendous potential for games and interactive media to say something deep and touching. There are also so many stories still to tell. Right now, games are made by mainly white men, so you’re gonna see the ideas and cultural values of white men in these games, which, honestly, is really boring. I’m working on a few projects to push this a bit, trying to represent people of color, urban cultures, and new ideas. tremendous heart and sincerity in the streets combined with a lot of violence and despair. This duality comes out in my work a lot. I’m also interested in the philosophies of non-western cultures. Learning about Native American, Asian, and African philosophies is really powerful. To step out of the western culture and understand that there are different ways to look at how life can be lived, with a stronger understanding of how we are connected to each other, to nature, to ourselves really compels my work. Where has been the most interesting place you’ve displayed your art? I made a wolf sculpture and displayed it in a Muni street car not too long ago. everybody was trying to take pictures all discretely. Meanwhile, I was taking pictures of them, taking pictures of it. I think public places are way cooler than any institution or gallery. How did you get into making art? How did it evolve from where you started to where you are now? I got into it like most kids - just drawing my ass off. But when other kids started playing nintendo
ANWAR BEY tAYLOR
My passion is to design dreams, thus making them reality and ultimately not dreams at all, just visions of the future.
When I create characters my sole purpose is to bring spirit, history, and soul into the creation. I believe that that is the only thing that can make it live.
In a world where action is progression and idle time is time wasted
the only exercise that provides me with an even ebb of calm is the act of creating
Talia Taylor: A Pop-Up Interactive Exhibit Exploring Politics of the Woman’s Body. “i am a woman. i am a black woman. unlearn everything you think you know about us. perhaps a genuine conversation between the two of our bodies will then be able to exist.”
hen I first began this project on October 8, 2013 my spirit was moving at the speed of light. I was excited to have met a project partner who immediately understood how public performance could be used to remember the art of live discourse; a practice that is appearing to lose its agency with the advent of virtual forums. I was ready to perform and immediately began training myself. I was given articles to read by my instructors. I felt like a true disciple of something. Finally. For me, the vision of this project preceded the strategy of it. This is how I know it is my work. This is how I know it is the work; where shared experience
for the sake of sharing an experience is necessary because too often we are alone for reasons we do not understand. Earlier this year, I began to catch an attitude with blogs, including my own. I was tired of reading poorly researched posts disguised as journalism. Rebuttals to public opinion that were not backed by any qualitative data made me question the validity of the information I was consuming. This led me to question the use of my time. So, I figured that I ought to disengage with editorials and status updates until I figure out a way to become a viable solution to what I saw as a personal problem. I figured, I ought to deactivate my Facebook account. And so, I did. My acceptance into the Intersection for the Arts residency program for performance artists was the perfect opportunity for me to create the type of information I would like to ingest and in the process understand the mechanics of public opinion. So, I decided to stand outside of Mission and 8th street naked, with the exception of my underwear. I was convinced that this idea was, to quote Drake,
(For the woman and her public who stands on the periphery- of what was and what ought to be) “the best I’ve ever had.” And then, my instructor posed the question to my partner and I, “where is the healing in this act?” I had no answer. And so I thought. And thought. Then called my mom who suggested I wear a bodysuit. Then I thought some more. I invited my partner to trail my thoughts, and me hers. Together we walked in circles until the days began to pile atop another. And then the week of our performance arrived. I was in the deep end, submerged in thought, unable to rest my feet on any surface of stability. I needed to be grounded in an idea that I could confidently carry out. So, I decided to move forward with the vision that never left me. Will the public be as brave as they appear to be on Facebook? Will they be as explicit, as throughout as uncouth as whatever they represent when their existence is virtual
n November 8, 2013, my performance partner and I decorated a Newspaper kiosk with portraits of Black women who were both strange and familiar. In the center of the kiosk, we plastered portraits, images and texts that reflected the media’s definition and messaging of Black feminine identity. My performance partner, Britt Frazier, was roped to a chair staring at the media’s portrayal of her, trying with all her might to free herself from being bound. Copies of the portraits spilled out of the kiosk, onto the sidewalk creating a rug-like trail toward a Black body. My body. I was standing atop a platform. I decided to relinquish my idea of wearing an outfit of underwear as that is, well extremely played out. My socio-political rationale would have you believe that I did not want to replicate the accessibility of Black women in underwear. My being a daughter of a Black woman rationale, wanted to dress with the sense her mother gave her. And my keep it real rationale, did not want to be shaking in San Francisco’s cold for two consecutive hours. However, I needed my limbs exposed so that the public could have a fair opportunity to dia-
50 logue with the subject: my body. So I settled for biker shorts and a tank top. I also wore a paper bag over my head with instructions painted on the front so that the public could read me and be clear with how to engage. Something was scribed on my foot in less than the first ten minutes. Then more writing ensued. I heard questions, “What is this about?” “Can I write on her?” “Where can I write, anywhere?” I did not verbally communicate with anyone. On occasion, I would outstretch my arms to people who sounded confused as to whether I really wanted them to write on me. I would occasionally give a thumbs up to those who reluctantly wrote on me, reassuring them that their participation was very much appreciated. This experience reminded me of who I am; the type of person who will do whatever it takes to fulfill her vision. Even if means being anal about the type of string used to hang a sign; even if it means displaying overt disapproval over decisions that affect the aesthetic of the piece; even if it means doing it myself;
even if it means catching strep throat. After the first twenty minutes on my block, I had to remove the bag from my head and take a seat on the steps of the San Francisco Mint. I felt nauseous. Perhaps there was not enough ventilation in my bag. As my peer was cutting gills in my bag, a 5’7” blonde Caucasian woman walked up to me with tears in her eye proclaiming that she was just too emotional to write on me. She expressed her concern for her African American daughter who would one day face the complexities of being a Black woman in America. Once smiles were exchanged, hands were shaken and attempts at understanding were reconciled, I stepped back on my box, replaced the bag over my head and continued to breathe. People continued to ask questions. People continued to tell my body exactly what they thought of it. Or did they? I didn’t read the writing on my body until 7:00pm that same evening. Apparently myself and women alike are: “strong” “confident” “sassy” “exploited” “judged” “thick” and “beautiful” just to name a few of the inscriptions.
51 Surprising. Especially given that popular media that depicts African American in a negative light consistently receives high (and sometimes the highest) ratings on cable networks. I would have thought that the depictions would impact public opinion, thus the writing on my body. How could a public that seems so eager to leave comments on online chat boxes, be so censored when given the opportunity have a live dialogue? Was it because a live body is more intimidating than a digital comment box? Were the people who associate African American women with negative stereotypes simply not interested in participating? These are the questions that we took into consideration prior to the installation. These questions are propelling interest into further exploration. I am interested in re-creating this exhibit in a different locale that is populated by a varied demographic. What if I performed this in a gallery? What
if I performed this on MacArthur and 73rd in East Oakland? What then would participation look like? Perhaps I can build upon my methodology and create a system that allows for more autonomy so as to elicit responses that appear to be less censored. Perhaps. Maybe I will reactivate my Facebook account with the intent to create a bridge to public discourse that is not scared to live offline. The show will go on. Performance is art. Art is alive. We are living.
Kenny Kong Bay Area, CA http://www.kensofresh.com/
Roshi K. Austin, TX http://www.colormeroshi.com/
Afua Richardson Atlanta, GA http://www.afuarichardson.info/
Natalia Rak Lodz, Poland https://www.facebook.com/ ArtNataliaRak
Christina Coleman Austin, TX www.christinacoleman.net
Anwar Bey-Taylor San Francisco, CA http://www.themindtravels.com/
Talia Taylor Oakland, CA http://about.me/taliataylor
Tope Eletu Austin, TX http://badgirlconfidence.com/
Shyama Golden Brooklyn, NY http://www.shyamagolden.com/
Sam Rodriguez Bay Area, CA http://samrodriguezart.com/
Lina Marcela Alvarez London, UK
Typography Credits ADAMAS
by Octavian Belintan
by Renzler Design
Cigarette & Coffee by Fabian De Lange
Hans Kendrick by Alfredo Marco Pradil
Narrator by Vince Lo http://practicefoundry.com/narrator.html
Ormont by Youssef Habchi
Marbre by Youssef Habchi
Yellowtail by Astigmatic
TOTEM by Benito Ruiz
Bad Girl Confidence is a platform that showcases aspiring talent in our community. This is the first of two issues, where we focus on the ar...
Published on May 22, 2014
Bad Girl Confidence is a platform that showcases aspiring talent in our community. This is the first of two issues, where we focus on the ar...