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Thursday, April 9, 2015

HUGS AND HIGH FIVES FOR THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE [VIDEO INSIDE]

H is for history.  It is never too early to document projects or anything really, especially when it has your DNA in it!  As I think about the history or should I say herstory of Afro Jazz up to this point, I would be remiss if I did not highlight the profound influence of the Harlem Renaissance on this artistic chapter in my life. 


Afro Jazz Art in Collage Layout
First ever-created pieces of Afro Jazz: Afro Apollo Jazz (top left) and Cotton Club (bottom right).


Hugs

If I had to describe both the Harlem Renaissance and my Afro Jazz art in one word, that word would be embrace.  The Harlem Renaissance was a highly creative time where the definition of being both black and free was explored across several mediums.  

I am at a time in my art life where I fully accept who I am as an artist, my creative process and what that acceptance and process produce--namely, Afro Jazz.  I am a black artist and perhaps more importantly, I am a free artist.  Defining for myself what constitutes fine art in a world with preset molds and notions is liberating.  

My Afro Jazz art is truly a style that reflects every ounce of my DNA.  Each piece is like a creative fingerprint embedded with my innermost creative thoughts on blackness and beauty.  I have never created anything so me.  If I were to birth twins in the middle of this post, they'd look like my Afro Jazz art: skin blacker than a silhouette, wooly hair fashioned into gravity defying styles, confidently sprawled out on a blanket of boldly colored brushstrokes, and their faces regally turned to the side.  As if to say,

We matter and we always have.     

High fives

With open palms extended high, I joyously clap the hands of those who came before me.  Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, Zora Neal Hurston, Augusta Savage, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, and Nancy Elizabeth Prophet (to name a few), thank you for making it cool to strut around in a personal paradise of permission.



To create is to celebrate life's bounty.

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