My development as an artist comes from spirit, knowledge and African American courage. I believe that Art is a spirit that has been hounded me, provoked me, impelled me, and propelled me. Art has been a part of my life since early primary school in which my Kindergarten teacher set me on my journey when she selected my art work to hang in City Hall. Funny to think back I did not think my artwork was as good as the others. I didn’t understand at the time because I didn’t draw or create like the other artists in the class could, but my teachers kept seeing something in my work that I did not understand at the time.
Later in my schooling, I was placed in an experimental Humanities Arts Program at Far Rockaway High School which required me to think beyond aesthetics but to explore how art can serve humanity. That training sharpened my intellect as my teachers exposed me to all forms of art that would affect my work and thinking. I loved that Art taught me how to “see,” gave me inspiration to live life in the most desperate, impoverished, and challenging times of my life. Art gave me a voice. I thrived on the courage and expression that Art has provided in my outlook on life.
After a spiritual pilgrimage to the museums of Paris and receiving my Doctorate degree in 2014, I came back home and stood naked before everything I created. What did art want with me? I was able to break my work down into 3 categories. Spirit, knowledge, and historical/biographical record. Among the subject matter, I found abstracts, documentation of the Black experience, and record of my own being all done in narrative form. I started showing my work with great intention and submitting my work into national juried exhibitions, several of which I was selected.
I created Civil Rights art, autobiographical art , and abstracts that are pulled from another universe in my mind with a language of its own. I also began to evolve into mixed media collage and assemblages—using anything to tell the stories in my heart. My artwork began evoking discussion and people compared me to Dana Schutz after my painting of Emmett Till made international news after her painting of Emmett Till was highly protested at the Whitney Museum. But Ms. Schutz has her own stories to tell and I have mine.
My work is highly narrative and intuitive. Embedded into my work are symbols and cryptic brushstrokes. Painting to me is a form of writing. Everything I produce has something to say. Sometimes I borrow a style or recreate a small piece from old masters to tell narrative from my point of view. For perspective, I often embed a collaged photo of my baby picture which closely resembles the thinking cherubs in Raphael’s Sistine Madonna painting. Paintings that usually have my baby picture embedded in it often have the title “Harlem Baby” in the title, named after the place in which I was born. My finished works transmits a surreal, expressionist, historical,