Art Feature

Artist’s Statement

My work straddles the literary and visual worlds. As a writer and mixed media artist, I create complex, interrogative images that reflect the vernacular experiences, dream worlds, and psychic landscapes of the black community in the United States and larger African Diaspora.

My art has a strong focus on subtext. I often utilize distinct, recognizable and familiar images of people of color, popular iconography, and the juxtaposition of text to engage the viewer and deconstruct the ways in which our gaze reifies and distorts notions of culture and gender, race and class, power and privilege.

I am deeply inspired by popular culture and public history, as well as by the frenetic glamour of music videos and magazines. Using a variety of mixed media — acrylic, watercolor, handmade paper and found objects: old letters, vintage magazine advertisements, playing cards, old photographs, and receipts — I work to create “post-modern” American totems wherein the complexities of our present and our past(s) are evoked through purposeful layering.

African Diaspora folklore and mythmaking are the conceptual concerns of my current visual explorations. Informed by the gothic fugitive slave narrative of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the shapeshifter, telepathic, and dystopic visions of Octavia E. Butler, and the elaborate collages of Romare Bearden, my recent work in papermaking, letterpress and bookmaking explore retro-Afro-Futuristic and Afro-Surrealist themes of the “fantastic” and the “speculative”.

“Big Bang”, Mixed media on watercolor paper, 2011

“Do Androids Dream of How People are Sheep”, Mixed media on watercolor paper, 2011

“Etoile Noire and the Beauty Machine”, Artist Book (detail), 2010

“Kool-Aid in Space”, Mixed media on canvas, 2011

“Fugitive Android Poster” (inspired by Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), Letterpress on paper, 2010

“Encaustic Dandy”, Encaustic collage on handmade paper, 2011

“Blk Angel”, Encaustic collage on board, 2011