A Portrait With a Pop of Color

Boy with braids (which is actually a boy with twists) was the first portrait of a boy I ever drew. I was looking to experiment with other mediums that would complement the monochrome hues of graphite.  Experimenting with mediums is something that will be a major part of my practice.

Boy with Braids, 2014

Boy with Braids, 2014

 

Boy with Braids, 2014

Boy with Braids, 2014

 

Boy with Braids, 2014

Boy with Braids, 2014

The Ugly Truth About Self Promotion

You know that moment when you’re browsing accounts on social media and you stumble upon an incredible artist and you are blown away by their work? And then spend all the time in the world admiring what they do and wonder, how do they open themselves up so easily to others, share so much about themselves and how can I do the same? I’ve been wondering about this for a while until I realized it’s time to do something about this.
There are a lot inspiring creatives doing their thing online, sharing their work and sparking conversations with admirers. What I’ve noticed is that most of them, whose work I really enjoy, self promote… shamelessly. They are fearless when it comes to putting themselves and their work out there. And as a result people get to know them as artists, get to know their work and to interact directly with them. The type of exchange I think we all creatives look forward to.

For the longest time I did the complete opposite. I think part of me thought or expected my work would be promoted automatically, like when you push a magic button and everything goes into autopilot  (Share, likes, comments, repeat). Thought it would be something like Post a photo to social media and then thousands like it and it gets shared a gazillion times. Hilarious, yes I know. It obviously does not work like that at all. So, I’ve decided to put some work into my own self promotion, get out of my tiny protective shell and get my work out until those gazillion observers realize that I exist and that my work is amazing ;) (*clears throat)

I need to focus on my own work. Not because I don’t care about the beautiful art other creatives are working on but because my work and giving it the time it deserves is just as important. And it needs to be seen as well. I need to make my own mistakes, learn from them and stick to what works. I need to share, post and do it shamelessly and fearlessly. Because if i don’t do it, most likely, no one will. And that’s the ugly truth.
Portraits of Black Women (IV, I, III)

Portraits of Black Women (IV, I, III)

 

 

Seeing is Believing

I usually imagine the artwork before I create it. I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be making and what it will look like before the pencil ever hits the paper. You could say I have an active imagination and I think that helps. As a result I have a long list of series I would like to create and accompanying descriptions for each one. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to make all the work on that list or if I’ll be interested when the times comes. But making lists helps me to get it out of my system. And since I don’t sketch much prior to working on a piece, usually because the work is inspired in photographs, I find that writing what the work is about beforehand is helpful enough.
Imagining the outcome before I start a project gets me in just the right kind of mood. The excitement and flow of creative juices helps in birthing a piece. I imagine as much of the process of creating each of the pieces from a series as possible. From the moment the first lines are drawn on the paper until it’s finished, framed and hanging from the wall.
In some cases it can be somewhat crippling to see something before it’s ever created but it can also be liberating to always thrive to achieve the best work possible. Crippling because you aim for a specific outcome you’re not sure will match the image in your mind. You expect work to look and feel a certain way. And if it doesn’t it could be disappointing.
 Liberating because if I do follow through with the images in my mind the possibilities are endless. When I focus and believe in the piece in my mind, I see great results. Better, much better than what I initially expected. That’s exciting to experience.
This approach doesn’t always go as expected. In some cases it back fire and I find myself looking at a piece that I really cannot stand looking at, which ends up in pieces in the trash. I think this happens to me because of lack of focus. But instead of being disappointed with those “mistakes”, they fuel the process of creation and become an incentive for more complicated and challenging work.
But the beauty of this is that the more I see, the more I believe I can make anything I set my mind to create. Even when the idea seems impossible or makes absolutely no sense, I believe. What I look forward to is to knowing no matter what. Instead of believing because of an outcome,want to trust I can put anything I want to express on paper or any medium for that matter. To achieve this I need to conquer my many fears, but that’s a story for a different day.
Portrait Study I, 2014

Portrait Study I, 2014

Portrait Study III, 2014

Portrait Study III, 2014

 

 

A Bit of Evening Aural Pleasure

I love to listen to all kinds of music when I’m working. To be honest I have no real preference, it’s more of a mood. Some days it’s a Jimi Hendrix, The Doors or Janis Joplin kind of mood. Other days it’s Beyonce or Jessie J. When I need to focus Mozart or Vivaldi will do the trick. Other days I need a little pick me up and it’s not even music that I listen to but motivational lectures by Les Brown or Tony Robbins. I listen to quite the eclectic mix of tunes and will share some of them with you in bite size pieces. But tonight I would like to post one of my favorite musicians, Lianne La Havas. Her voice is just amazing. Enjoy!