In my senior year at RISD I read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and it spoke to me vividly as an artist. I related much to Lauren’s search for some religious discipline that could alleviate the hopelessness around her. Art making became that discipline that alleviated hopelessness for me, and in the way that Earthseed chose Lauren, art making seemed to have chosen me.
I’ve built this interest around audio and the conversations existing around me. Growing up in south Houston, I felt like a voyager between these performances of masculinity and blackness. I listened to the poetics of phrases, dialects, tones, and pacing, which I believe, eventually led to my sound pieces. I use sound as a means of erasure and diluting. What is left are these looping sounds or phrases that remain after the performance is done. Manipulating sounds and dialogue places the audience in a mode of heightened listening. The experience with these sounds loop into a memory, similar to the way they’ve looped into my subconscious.
Flash photography became an important way for me to think about color and atmosphere. Deana Lawson’s “Cowboys”, reminded me of Texas, and brought out discussions of subjectivity and surveillance. My interests in the medium of flash began at its ability to portray vast darkness, much like I experienced in Texas. Eventually flash led me to the history of prisons and how light is used to impair prisoners. Flash had this debilitating presence to whomever it subjugated, and I wanted to create content that could work against this action.
My paintings are generated by photography, and are only made to serve the purpose of the image. I do not care for painting being an object as much as I’m focused on it being an image and a medium in which photography can slow down. I have a similar process to my sound pieces in which the remixing of imagery from photographs erases certain content and heightens others.
My work questions the stability of respectability politics. Whether assimilation and other means of changing ones being, prevents violence. The conversations black men have with their children. Fears or experiences that have been passed down through heritage. How our bodies can do damage to ourselves without a threats real existence. The way we surveillance our selves and communities. Dangers that build irrational fears. Confronting ones sexuality and vulnerability. These experiences or the lack there of, is part of what encourages my artist practice.
The same way Lauren found her Earthseed community, I found my community within the art- ists who questioned these subjects just like me. Artists like Jacob Lawrence, Deana Lawson, Toyin Odutola, and Henry Taylor. My aspirations are to eventually build works strong enough to be included in conversations with the artists and thinkers before me. To develop artwork that is entrenched in heavy research around issues of surveillance and integration politics.