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Monday, June 30, 2014


Afropunk Bash Impromptu Photo Shoot at the Northwest African American Museum.

B efore I can get into this Harlem Renaissance Inspired Afro Jazz Collage we have to talk about the Afropunk Bash in Seattle this past Saturday.  Seattle showed up and showed out!  I mean can we say, "Calling all generations to the dance floor?"  No, for real though.  I have no doubt the ancestors did a few synchronized body rolls in 5, 6, 7, 8...! 

Your uncle, your grandma and somebody's auntie was out there getting it all over that museum hardwood.  

All the hashtags in the world could not describe exactly how much fun the Afropunk Bash was from the art, to the music, to the fierce afrolicious models strutting around like they were surveying the was definitely a Team Natural Takeover...and I was not mad at all.  Relaxers be damned.  
But what really got me was the unexpected overwhelming sense of melanin magic that permeated the whole building.  The black fist was raised high to the sky and it felt royal.  The only thing missing was a fully charged camera and a memory card with space.  I could just kick myself for that media fail.  You will just have to take my word AND my art for it.

Harlem Renaissance Inspired Afro Jazz Collage

During A Golden Evening of Art and Jazz, I debuted some new mixed media art collages to a group of women over wine and appetizers at Tuttabella's in a neighborhood of Seattle called Columbia City.   Allowing myself to be totally vulnerable and open to whatever they felt, liked, disliked, abhorred or dare I say it...loved...I was ready for nothing but their honest feedback.   Uttering those sometimes fatal five words, "So, what do you think?," I held my breath and waited... They loved it!  As we began talking about these jazz inspired art pieces and my departure from painting for this series, I realized how much my art had evolved.  I tweeted this via Twitter a few days ago and it remains true:  One of the perks of being an "emerging" artist is that you get to try new things at will.  I am digging the freedom I'm finding in this collage making adventure.  
Afro Apollo Jazz, by Jolyn Gardner Campbell
These collages are made with various materials, including African Textiles from Nigeria and paper.  Combining fabric and paper while finding the harmony and balance between different elements is jazz.  Going into this project knowing what materials I would implement but not knowing their exact composition until it presented itself has been a common thread that has linked many of my previous paintings.  I can see the potential of each brush and paint texture individually.  But it is not until the elements are all combined that you find yourself with a result that can only be described as something alchemical.   
Cotton Club by Jolyn Gardner Campbell
Raise your hand if you are a member of the Cotton Club!  You know who you are.  You're that woman that rocks a headwrap just because you can.  Not to mention you look extra fly doing so.  I'm a proud member since forever.  
I am working on a whole series including larger collages that involve the same concept and technique.   I plan to have new prints for sale in the print shop mid July or so.  
So, what do you think of my latest pieces?  What are your thoughts on the combination of art and jazz?  Share your thoughts in the comments.  



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