Studio Notes: Past Artwork and Artistic Practice

In the past I mediated my time between writing and making art – which really relieved my college days stress. Half of the year I took fine arts classes and the other half I took English and Philosophy classes. Being able to demonstrate my knowledge by creating physical works such as painting, sculptures, photography, allowed me to be free, and create the world I experience. DSCN0867Spring 2009DSCN0896DSCN0894DSCN0857DSCN0895

Recently, art making has served the same function for me outside of school. Engaging in events such as “Skessions” at The Next Door Bar in Houston has acted as a reprieve; I taka moment from helping others to improve to improve upon myself. Collaborating with other local artists has been encoraging and has allowed me to be communal despite my tendency towards being introverted.

Recently I began trying out ideas for larger paintings at this bar. 

Skessions April 2017

From this sketch I recently began to paint a work that I have meditated on for sometime. Fascinated by the idea of trees sharing a central heart that both feeds and helps large groups of trees communicate with each other, I began to think about what was at the heart of the land which I was born upon and what image communicates the reality of this place. The overlap of the imagery of trees and the history of the land of the United States naturally leads me to think of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. 

Southern trees bear strange fruit/ Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/ Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze/ Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

 

Exploring this I rooted myself in this idea of bloodfruit that has been nurished by the carnage of Black bodies. I imagined a rich canopy of green, and a beautiful pastoral scene that at its heart is corrupt. While creating this image I found myself indeed carried away by the beauty of the scene. In order to remind me of the buried unseen truth, I painted the bodies embeded in the roots. Lastly, to remind me not to become entraced by false realities I included two figures: a Black male child and a White woman partaking of the fruit. These two figures sum up the what is at the heart of the American Landscape in my opinion (see: All the Men are Black, All the Women are White, but Some of Us are Brave). The strange fruits of America consumed but never fulfilling.

“Strange Fruit” work in progress

With this work I am beginning a series of works collected under the idea of things unseen. I am excited for what is to come!

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