Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What is Redux?

My Current Work and Ideas

I am continuing to explore areas of figurative and environmental identity as well as combining the classic with the contemporary. My recent trip to Philadelphia was quite inspiring. There I saw a pool of diversity, a range of all races and social classes, something that sometimes seems unfamiliar when within the suburban campus of University of Delaware. I found something beautiful about this range. To see the diverse pool being familiar with one another and being able to co-exist within the same area was quite refreshing. Even the cultural diversity within the train back to Newark, DE was astonishing; it was amazing what diversity a public transportation system, outside the college campus, could provide. I felt so conformable.

With that being said, I am constantly searching images within art history looking for ideas and possible references to mesh with my real life experiences, such as my trip to the city. I am currently looking at works from master painters such as Caravaggio and Martyr depictions including the Death of Marat, which is shown below.

I am currently thinking of possible ways to implement the minority figure into a similar but contemporary environment.

Most recently I have been reading works from W.E.B. Du Bois concerning ideas of double consciousness and contextualizing this information with areas of my own work. Du Bois states that double consciousness is an awareness of one's self as well as an awareness of how others perceive that person. He suggests there is danger because it may result in one changing their identity based on how others perceive the person, based on their stereotype. In my work, I am interested in what happens when a stereotype is placed within the compostion of a master painting and how one may begin to change their ideas.

Favorite Recipe
For Art:

150 ml tube of burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, manganese violet, dioxazine purple, raw sienna, titanium white and ivory black, 1 pint of linseed oil, 1 pint of oderless turpentine, 118ml of alkyd glazing gel. Directions: Use your soul.

For Food:

No-Bake Cheesecake!
  • 3/4 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup pecan sandies cookies
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries (optional)
  1. In a bowl, mix together crushed cookies and graham crackers with melted butter and the 3 tablespoons sugar.
  2. Press into a 7 inch springform pan. Place in refrigerator until ready for use.
  3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Whip cream, and fold into cream cheese mixture.
  5. Spread into pan.
  6. Top with sliced strawberries (optional). Freeze for 1 hour, covered with foil.
  7. Place in refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's a Vision

Visual memories make up the way I think. My mind acts as a filter by leaving images in my mind that have created a feeling. I visual memory that always seems to occur is one that happens everyday I am outside. The expression on people's faces as I walk and they pass by. Some starring so hard as if I have done something wrong, or as if they know me. Some staring so hard I expect them to say hello. I stare directly back but nothing is said. It's sometimes amazing to know if I do not initiate, there will be nothing. What a multidimensional power relationship. It is the feeling of being burdened to reach out in order to get "touched" by people who constantly assault you with their eyes. It always make me wonder is it a good look or a bad look. Am I too "ghetto" to be walking around campus? Am I too "real"? Am I too dark? too crazy looking?, too good looking? Then I begin to question if it even matters to me.

Leaving class, I walked down North College Ave. I loud car full of college girls began to scream flirtatious words in my direction. I didn't realize they were talking to me until I looked around and I was the only one there. As they passed by, the girls in the back turn completely around to continue gawking in my direction. However I met back up parallel to them at an interection and they remained silent. As soon as the light turned green and the car sped off, they resumed their flirting with me and their words faded out as I continued walking. There is a ridiculous power relationship that occurred. The girls became quiet as I approached their car at the intersection however once they got moving again, the girls became more aggressive. It was like the moving car became a mask or security blanket. How come this rarely happens when I am walking amongst others who walk and stare. Maybe they can't get away fast enough or maybe they are afraid of coming too close and handling my response?

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

Dreams for me never seem to happen. Perhaps that's because I don't sleep enough. However, when I do have dreams they usually are quite memorable in both good and bad ways. I have always found something beautiful, in a twisted way, about how the unconscious mind works during sleep. There can be a certain ecstasy that happens during dreams in which experiences desires, actions and intentions come to life. One can finally express themselves without the energy of thinking.

Most recently my dreams have been quite disturbing. I cannot remember much however, some parts stand out. I became quite intrigued by a clear, tubular bag the rested on my navy blue bed sheets. I was with a friend, my suite mate to be in fact. He stood there curious as we shared the same thoughts about this transparent structure that laid across my bed. We touched it to examine. We presumed it to be an extraterrestrial object of some sort. But we still were not sure. So with the pads of my damp, sweaty finger tips, I touched the tubular structure. I was so interested I got closer, closer and closer. My investigating face circled around the perimeter then "snap"! The bag consumed my entire head and began to squeeze it's plastic rim tighter and tighter around my neck. I tried screaming help multiple times to my suite mate who stood there in disbelief. I realized that was only wasted energy as I felt my body weaken. My friend walked over, in an attempt to help?? maybe?? Then I woke up with my pillow wrapped around my neck.

Art Work Update

I have been planning to re-appropriate and contextualize a self-portrait from the past. For now I have mostly been researching certain techniques, including cutting away canvas and collage imagery. I have only touched the painting a few times, as I begin to prepare myself for a series of planned maneuvers about the canvas. If I do end up cutting away or adding things to the canvas, they will be incorporated very strategically.

I started by taking photography of myself, the model, so I have something to reference. My main focus is to capture a specific mood of the scene through the imagery and the artistic elements such as perspective and value.

In essence, with this painting, I am trying to depict a struggle or an attempt to break through a struggle however one remains literally rooted to their background.

I am thinking about the power of the chain.

I am also concerned with using a single light source to create mood. I am studying many Baroque artists such as Caravaggio. In works like the image below, the light itself seems to create a narrative.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In my [Art View]

Kehinde Wilely (below)

Titus Kaphar

My Summer Work

During the summer of 2010, as a member of the McNair Scholars program, I was able to further explore my passion behind creating art. I performed undergraduate research through the medium of oil paint. Relying on self motivation, I was able to concentrate on making art outside of the confines of academia's rigid structure while investigating a variety of self-motivated ideas.

A Portrait of Identity

oil on canvas
60" x 48"

ARTIST'S STATEMENT: When I leave the sheltered college environment my eyes are opened to an unmasked reality that helps one to better understand the importance of diversity and the consequences without. Perhaps some of these consequences include the awkward stares or unlikely interaction that comes along with looking different. Furthermore, I have found there is something extraordinary yet beautiful about the discomforting prejudice that builds reality. In response, I have created a painting that represents the black male figure in a way that unifies the power and beauty of classicism with the stereotype of the contemporary “street image”. The viewers’ idea of the black male figure determines their response to the painting. What one sees is a reflection of their expectations and experiences with the black male. The understanding of identity is challenged as the painting fosters a multidimensional and definite power relationship with the viewer. If one can overcome their stereotype of the black male, the classical pose welcomes them into the space, however a space they may not feel comfortable in. The painting references early American Portraiture, in particular Gilbert Stuart’s Lansdowne Portrait, in which George Washington presents the new world of America. Artists like Kehinde Wiley and Barkley Hendricks have also helped influence the development of the painting. Through research of their work combined with my ideas, I use an age old tradition of an oil painting in an attempt to create the perfect marriage between society’s preconceptions and the beauty of reality. The painting implies that reality is not universal, it is what one perceives. Additionally, there is a hidden beauty found within the stereotypes that are created by society.

A Brief Description

I am in search of ideas beyond the factual; beyond the view of black and white as I am merely just a blend of colors myself. My work is driven by the feeling of not knowing, or seeing something in a new perspective in order to change ones values or beliefs to overcome a certain obstacle or way of thinking. Considering ideas of perspective, I am interested in a power relationship that directs the way the things are perceived within my work and within shared ideas that create culture. In my work, changing perspective is, in a way, changing hope or an attempt to make someone believe. I am concerned with addressing larger issues beyond art and am not interested in creating work that is always comfortable but rather, creating art that challenges and critiques the way one thinks. My work implies that art should make one see something they’ve never seen before, something in a new way that makes life’s experiences worthwhile to question.