Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black Artist

So! I finished this up at work the other day and I had been to lazy to type it up. I finally forced myself to do it. After reading through, I decided to present it in its raw form. I am an artist, I can do that :). So without further ado:

The more work I look at and the more work I see that is considered "Black Art," I am drawn into the underlying meaning or underlying theme I should say of "Good" VS. "Evil." No matter how much of a disconnect I try to between my work and trying to fight the labeling of my self as a "Black Artist"...the closer I get to closing the gap, there is always this automatic push and pull going on. 
As far as "good" and "evil," I think the disconnect struggles because I desire to be the "evil" Black Artist. Alot of people thag I know who are not of the so-called art world look for that "good" Black Art; that Black Art that is in someways highly "romanticized" Black Art. I recall showing people my work and having them tell me my work looked good but why did I have to show black people like that. They acted as if I created the lynched black man or the raped black woman. I even had a friend say to me why can't I create pretty pictures. I kind of relish in the fact that my work seems somewhat "evil" in the eyes of others. Devil's advocate is a role that I just love to play. 
In art school and the art world, its easier to play the "evil" artist because you are critiqued on the overall aesthetic quality of your work. Not just the imagery is questioned. We are put the rigors of defending our work and the choices we have made regarding the subject matter. In the "outside world," we are handled differently. The viewer more often than not, judges the work purely on its visual aesthetic. "Oh this artist has rich colors," "oh look at that Black Jesus," or "he/she really captured the essence of a strong black family." I am perfectly ok with being the bad guy. 
Showing where we came from to me is a great way to pay homage to our race. These haven't always been happy times. I feel as a "Black" artist it is our duty to continue to keep and maintain a historical record of the Black Diaspora. I mean I dont set out to create "evil" Black Art, its just I always hope to create a dialog with the viewer that will have them questioning certain things or having the viewer confront this "evil" events and remember. I mean a lot of good came out of these bad times black people had. Its great that as artists we can show the achievements and good fortune of black america but I also think uts good that we never forget the bad as well. I recall one of our "black oppurtunists," (thats a topic I dealt with in one of my first ever posts) said that "...Jim Crow didn't die, he just became James Crow, ESQ." To me that statement holds so true even now in the days of the Obama Administration. 
The funny thing about that whole diatribe is that I have always struggled with an artist identity. I don't want it to be "OK" for me to use the word "NIGGER" or to show black people being lynched because I am a "Black" artist. I want the viewer to be shocked that in this day and age to see some one "ballsy" enough to tackle the subject matter. I have tried to tackle less sensitive work, i.e. Copper Goddess and Abstract drip paintings, but every time I start projects like these it seems exciting at first; then it quickly becomes boring to me. I feel as though I am not creating for myself but creating for acceptance into the "good" Black Artist society. And while I want the viewer to be intrigued and drawn to my work, I still have to be sure that I am really leaving my imprint on my work. I can't create "safe" work. I think thats one of the faults in myself and my work thats holding me back. Trying to play it "safe." 
Going forward in the future, I am going to try my best to unleash HELL in my "evil" Black Art. Lol. 


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