February 2021

Happy Black History Month. I’m happy that I made it to February 2021. It’s been alot going on.

My New Year started with a flood at my home. Then at the end of the month I wrecked my car. (We are fine. God is good.) Some where along the line, they stormed the Capitol and Cicely Tyson died. Kamala Harris is a win for representation. Joe Biden is president and everyone was dressed in beautiful monochrome.

I am working on new pieces for Gathering Me’s in April and I’m excited about what I will get present.
More information here: https://cjcrtv.com/gathering-mes/

Make sure that you check out these awesome shows, that are happening right here in Indianapolis.

Links to these shows will be at the end. They have events all month long.

Work In Progress

Links as promised.
https://indyarts.org/about/art-soul
https://www.indypl.org/blog/for-adults/meet-the-artists

2020: Hindsight

Are y’all ready? This is a long post.

God is good. The universe is abundant. I am so blessed. Everything that I did was possible because of the support that I received within the arts community in Indianapolis. Artists are essential workers both metaphorically and literally. The support that I needed personally and professionally came from other creatives. I need to take a moment to just say thank you to the following:

Center For Black Literature & Culture at the Central Library
Central Indiana Community Foundation
WeAreIndyArts
Lost Dog Gallery
Amy Ward Studios
Darrell Staggs Photography
VIP Center for Business Women
The Garfield Park Arts Center
Big Car Collaborative
The Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts
The Indianapolis Arts Center
The Arts Council of Indianapolis

Thank you to all the individuals who purchased prints and originals from me this year. Your patronage means everything. Sales and support from the Indianapolis area have allowed me to keep creating.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… I protested this year.

In many ways the work I made this year has been a departure from my previous work. My work got more political than it has ever been. I found it hard to be silent.

You can support The Bail Project, Inc here.

Congratulations to my brother Kevin. You are courageous and you inspire me every single day. I love you.

More than anything 2020 has helped me focus on the stuff that matters. I matter. My life is essential. I am totally valid.

I got more comfortable in my skin.

Making predictions for 2021 still feels like an overreach but the world is full of possibility. Life can be as you imagine it.

Still alive…crazy right?

Gaze

Aw, made you look. You a slave to a page…(snort)

gaze/ɡāz/ verb: gaze
1. look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.”he could only gaze at her in astonishment”
2. (in literary theory) a particular perspective taken to embody certain aspects of the relationship between observer and observed, especially as reflected in the way in which an author or film director (unconsciously or otherwise) directs attention.”the male gaze”

Have you ever cropped an image? How did you choose what to show? How did you want that image interpreted? These are questions I come back to repeatedly as an artist and designer. They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but we live in a world saturated by images. In an environment that is so saturated how do you hold people’s attention?

You loose control of an image the moment you give to an audience. Once its in the public gaze, they have no choice but to apply their own perspectives and interpretations. That’s true of art, design and selfies.

Does that truth grind my gears? Yes. Can I do anything about it? Sort of… My best solution is to control as much of your image as possible. I want to be known as an artist. So I choose to show art. And engage with art. Turn my pain into art. Turn my joy into art. Life imitates art.

Did you know Medusa translates to queen? Here’s a great link.
https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/medu/hd_medu.htm

“…get stiff, they call me Medusa
I don’t wanna fuck without the Medula…” – Megan Thee Stallion

“VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE” – The Migos

“Get some get some get some crazy shit for me
I want, I want, you know, leopard-skin, and you know?
I want, I want all that crazy lizard-skin shit, like, you know?” – Nicki Minaj

I’m just saying I laughed.

Roses

Did you hear…
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin’ nature’s laws wrong
It learned to walk without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams
It learned to breathe FRESH air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
When no one else, even cared

From “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” ~ 2Pac | Featuring Nikki Giovanni
Produced by Jamal Joseph | Album The Rose That Grew From Concrete Vol. 1
[Verse 3: Spoken Word]

I have never been much for flowers. I’ve always been more of a “blood of my enemies in a crystal goblet” type of chick. It wasn’t until I became a mother and a wife that I learned to see them as more than just pretty ornamentation. Flowers are plants. They have tenacity.

First version from my sketchbook… I kept at it.

te·nac·i·ty /təˈnasədē/noun

  1. the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.”the sheer tenacity of the limpet”
    • the quality or fact of being very determined; determination.”you have to admire the tenacity of these two guys”
    • the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.”the tenacity of certain myths within the historical record”

Flowers and plants evolved on this planet first and they will be here last. They provide food, shelter and comfort to everything above it in the food chain. They provide oxygen which is #essential. (Have you ever tried not breathing? Exactly.)

I still don’t really want to receive a bouquet for Mother’s Day but I am learning to appreciate my flowers while I can. I prefer to see them in their natural habitat, wild and growing undisturbed. But I can also see the beauty in a well tended and highly manicured garden. 

And listen you don’t have to be a rose. You can be a redwood, sunflower, a lily, cannabis. That’s dope too (I’m sorry). Shit, there’s a cactus on my work desk ( it’s prickly like me). 

I hope you spend some time tending your garden. Try to appreciate your flowers for what they are. Purposeful, thorny, beautiful.  

‘Long Live The Rose’ Marker and Colored Pencil on Vellum 5/8/2020
Awe fuck…this song gets me every time.
My grandma used to listen to a version of this song by Rev. James Cleveland. Miss her.