Sunday, April 24, 2011

My tryst with literature...the juicy kind...

I loved to imagine...the ideas would envelop my mind, move me to explore my thoughts, entice me to enter a realm of possibilities that answered every curiosity that mentally perplexed me. It was a way of release, a way of living out fantasies that may have never come to fruition but satiatied my desire to experince them.
My fingers would guide me, make me sit down and chronicle every notion. I did that for a while. I never really worked on articles or short stories. I was always anxious to get that full manuscript.

My first manuscript, though unpublished, took two years to write. I played with scenes, rearranged words, and found myself frustrated with the prose. I wanted so badly to complete it so I could self-publish it, but it lacked structure. A Touch of Love received its copyrights in 2007, the same year I was to experience a complexity that led to the publication of Extra Baggage.

When I first got on the scene at Florida A&M University as a dually enrolled high school student in 2003, I would always see this guy. He was mysterious. His looks were entrancing, eyes hypnotic, smile, melodic, voice and swagger, tantalizing, but he had this confident appeal, an aura that was intimidating. I would watch him at fraternity parties, hopping around, chanting, and find myself dazed, wanting to introduce myself.

He didn't notice me at first, never acknowledged me if he did. He enjoyed engaging the crowd, but those eyes never quite landed on me...until a couple years later. We'd see each other out, smile that inviting smile that made both of us wonder if there was a possibility, but by the time we started flashing inviitations, we were both in serious relationships.

I was still curious though. Thoughts of him taunted me, but I respected him and his relationship too much to make them known. I respected my own relationship too much to let the thoughts go beyond my mind, but every time I saw him, my curiosity grew. So, I started writing, analyzing the possibilities, dissecting the idealistic introduction, interaction, seduction, the actions that made lead us to euphoric consumed me, and my words left me feeling and experiencing the possibilities.

The book, Extra Baggage, was being birthed. Its sensuality captivated all of my senses, making me rush home to further develop my prose. Although it was romantic, I had other pressing issues to ponder. I was working at a nightclub as a bartender. I had been there for two years at that point, and partially being raised by my feminist aunt made me very cognizant of the degradation and humiliation of women in media. I watched women dance to misogynistic rap music and buy into double standard notions that disrespected us, mistreated us, abused us, and raped us of our humanity.

As a psychology major, studying Afro-centric ideology, growing into an adult and challenging cultural perspectives and worldviews, I was very passionate about addressing these issues in my book, but I couldn't be too militant. I wanted to guide the reader into her own thoughts about these issues. Unlike writings of amazing philosophers like Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, I wanted my readers to understand what I was saying without allowing my academic jargon to confuse or discourage them. I had to meet them on their level.

A lot of African American girls and women may pick up a romance novel before picking up a book on philosophy. When I enter a book store, I look for Eric Jerome Dickey, Mary B. Morrison, or Toni Morrison to stimulate my senses and relax me. Cornel West gets my attention for a good thirteen pages before my eyes get tired of simultaneously reading his ideas and looking for words in a dictionary to fully understand the text. I agree with almost all of his words, but it's mentally exhausting to piece everything together. I wanted my readers to analyze these ideas without getting frustrated. I wanted a stimulating situation that would entice them but educate them simultaneously, so I factored that into Extra Baggage.

I found a way to make my fantastical relationship with my college crush work through a business relationship while entertaining the idea of each other. Although Extra Baggage is a fictional prose, it began with that mysterious man who caught my eye when I first stepped foot on campus. It ended with an in depth analysis of a psychological disposition that plagues the African American race. All the while, Extra Baggage arouses every sense of the body, calling its readers to journey this tale with me...and that is only the beginning...

The evolution: visions of color and shape.

It was a long and hard road to become the artist I am today. The transition was complicated because I had to many ideas. The nights were long because I could not sleep until I figured "it" out. I didn’t stay up and paint all night like some, or become a deranged lunatic, wandering the streets looking for truth and meaning. I simply lived my life, and dealt with the growing pains. I went through phases and periods in which I had to learn different aspects. I had to sit alone with my self, and get closer to my individuality. I didn’t have a mentor, I didn’t go to school for art, I didn’t have a clue. All I had was visions of colors and shapes.

I started out my art and design path with clothing and graffiti style painting. I grew up inside a box of my minds creation. I had no idea about music, fashion, or the world for that matter. When I look back at it, I think that my work was directly linked to my state of mind. While I always had ability to create, I was never passionate about anything to make the effort. Money became the first factor, which I pursed when I was introduced to art and fashion. I approached design problems from an analytical standpoint because of the nature of the art; it was about function not just form. I was less concerned with content, or message, and more interested in style and color. This helped me develop a stylized method of painting. It grew and I completed over 1000 different designs. I received a sense of satisfaction from this, but it just wasn’t enough.

Paint on decorative fabric:

The search goes on. I’m back in that place of unrest and my satisfaction is decreasing. I was seeing a lot of colors, and feeling the need to be grand. In this paintings you can see bold color combination that seem to never end. I tried to include any and every combination that I could find. It was honestly uncontrolled energy, and misdirection. The painting is grand, and consumed me as I stood facing it. The idea of the painting can only be presented with words, HIP-HOP! But the painting its self could mean anything. Where am I to go next, what am I to do to make sense of this? This conglomerate of colors and words!

Giant mural exploring color combinations

Color and random objects, exploring color, material, and objects.

I have all ways had a fascination with the human face, so naturally it was the next transformation. What is it about the human face that is so complex but yet delicate. Learning to paint is a laborious task. The details transcend just line and formal geometric shapes. The face is organic and deep. The changes in shape create an entire new person. I wanted the colors and shapes I saw to mean more, to have an identity. I wanted to explore the most basic aspects of the face. So I started off with black and white.

Henry Kissinger study, BW on huge vinyl canvas:

Then there was color! Wild and untamed color. Wide stokes and hard shadows. Colors contrary to the original image. It was almost as if I had a mental imbalance that would not allow me to paint in the "normal" color range. Every time I tried I would almost feel overwhelmed by the urge to include more! The main thing is, I was able to communicate the intensity of the mans face. The passion began to burn within me to go further every time I would view this painting.

Old man on board with frame

Lets try to control that color and form. In this painting, the internal structure is more controlled, the colors transitions are less intense, and the painting its self is more human.

But it isn’t enough I need more! I need to feel life and energy. I need this painting to grow on its own even if I have to sacrifice some control. Even with painting free form, live, and in front of an audience I still had restrictions. I managed to solve each problem as it came. I built a fold up display that was 6 feet tall. This allowed me keep a large size while being portable. I experimented with different materials to create favorable condition to maximize my performance. But, there were unsolved problems starting out! The thing is, to move colors that fast you must have an extreme understanding of your subject and your materials. So I had to start off with black and white again! It was a new era in my path to become. It was like the grinder, where your talent is born in the fire of instant judgment and competition. I never imagined the whirlwind that would come from this step.

Black and white live painting on vinyl canvas.

When I finally made an attempt at color, I had to recall my ability to process color and shape quickly. The key was memory and layers. I had to remember anywhere from 3 to 10 different color and layer positions at the same time. And I had to recall these position fast to complete a painting in the time. The energy was intense, and the results were undeniable. I was performing mental acrobatics in painting on a weekly basis, and for some time was satisfied. The response to the paintings was tremendous. But as time went on, the urges came back, and yet again I was not satisfied, and even more lost and confused.

Color live painting

I wanted to extend the concept beyond the normal usage. The predictable placement of colors, the familiar painted face, etc. These forms are the foundations of painting, but yet they were restricted. Was there a way to paint life I ask? Can I paint in free form and have all the familiar aspects that come along with it. That began my tour with body art.

Free form body painting

Why was I limiting my self to just body? How about the body into the canvas? It seemed right to perform these operations together.

More complex in its execution, causing a further exploration of the subject. Still missing something. Time passes...

Even more complex completed canvas, along with completed body

Combing faces, free flowing colors, words, and concepts from my earlier work. I was curious about the outcome of live painting on decorative fabrics with elaborate backgrounds, and various textures. Starting first in the black and white. Finally, I was breaking from my confusion, and starting to gain light. I have been free form painting, body painting, Dealing with fashion and decor, color/shape, and random objects. But yet, I am still encountering problems dealing with design and execution.

This is the hybrid form of everything from the past. This painting, this simple painting includes so much you wouldn’t believe. I realize the journey that I have been traveling exposed me to each and every process for a reason. I wouldn’t have known how to combine these concepts in a functional manner if it had not been for years of working with them. I have a deeper understand of how the creative process works because of this journey. I can see with clarity, my future work and how I will create it.

The only way I am able to accomplish anything is through growth and self-actualization. This process evolved more than just my art; it evolved me, mentally and physically. I grew up within my work, and now I have a mature concept that was born of the experiences of the past. This is a chronological timeline of work that demonstrates how much it really takes to identify a style that communicates what you want. I feel as if I have traveled to the shore of my imagination and style, where confusion is behind me and an endless ocean of progress is ahead. I feel empowered to create as I want, and the confusion that I use to feel no longer restricts me. I can look past the world of influence, judgment, and games finally to create and communicate as I see. What I have in store next goes to the next level, the place where we began our life’s work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Art Social at Aurum

I>M Art Series @ Aurum Lounge July 22 2011.

Aurum lounge in atlanta is the definition of style. When you enter, you feel the instant attraction to every little detail your eyes can catch. A gold glow illuminates the spot creating a very relaxed feel. Picking this venue to kick of the series was a no brainer. Visit them at

The goal is to create a inner ambience, and make instant connections between the art, books, and music. If you have never been to Aurum Lounge, this wont be your first or last time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art Fusion

I>M Art Series at Aurum

This summer, experience art and entertainment through writings and paintings from the works of popular artists who are shaping our culture. The event entitled the I>M Art Series showcases works influencing popular culture and urban contemporary lifestyles. The I>M Art series brings out the sounds, words, and pictures of our everyday lives. From the time we wake up, till the moment we rest, these artists’ works shape the details that we unconsciously interact with daily… romance with a lover, the brilliant ambiance of the city skyline, and melodic sounds that move our souls all conjoin effortlessly to present a night of artistic and social intellectual interaction. We welcome our audience to meet the artists and authors, experience the cultural influence, and make eye contact with the physical manifestation of mood altering drugs we call art.