I am not a portrait painter...
Painting faces (or people) is a practice that allows me to explore the complexities of humanity. Every person has a story. Every face archives experiences that are psychologically and emotionally embedded... but I am not a portrait painter. I seek to facilitate an engagement between my work and the viewer - with the viewer gazing upon an image... studying the face of another... speculating of their story... and identifying with their humanity. Life is complex and it presents an intricate maze of challenges and opportunities for each one of us to navigate. This is our journey, and I am exploring this journey through paintings... but I am not a portrait painter.
I am not an urban artist...
The conceptual basis of my works (specifically narrative works) comes from a time of the past, whether 40, 60 or 100 years ago. The art world is heavily urbanized, and I do not produce urban art. Regardless of living in urban environments over the past 30+ years, I realize how my rural roots have shaped my value system and world view. The great American migration shifted millions of African Americans from the South to more industrialized cities which has produced millions of urban Black people having little personal reference to the rural existence of their ancestry. I have chosen not to become another urban artist, but nor will I produce works depicting rural life. My aim is to address contemporary issues through Black figuration but only from the backdrop of a non-urban environment. Therefore, I am not an urban artist.
Who am I?
I grew up a kid in the rural South of the Arkansas Delta. He is the youngest of eleven kids born to a farmer and a community organizer (before such term existed). His Mother and Father left a legacy of challenging and reshaping the norms of the racial status quo in his surrounding home communities.
I came from a lineage black landowners farming in the South. In the mid sixties, my parents led communities in the organization of multiple boycotts against the establishment of local racial injustices. Despite suffering continual threats, harassments, and organized retaliations, efforts eventually led to a US Court of Appeals decision, ruling in the favor of forcing the area school districts into full desegregation.
I studied Architecture at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo CA before joining the US Army. I served 21 plus years in the Army retiring in 2014. Midway my military career, I began a pursuit of becoming a professional fine artist. With no access to art school, I engaged myself on a journey of self disciplines and personal discovery to realize this goal as a self-taught artist. The military afforded me the experience of living in places such as South Korea, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Iraq, and Kuwait; I believe that the culture of my childhood upbringing and my adult experiences being immersed into other societies has given me a broad perspective on life and the complex challenges we all face.
I see life as a continual experience of discovery. Contrasting things that are apparent or taught with personal discoveries creates a perspective that is unique to every individual. Being mainly a figurative artist, I seek to capture intimate settings to use as a gateway to ponder the complexities of the human experience, as well as the society that influences them. A comprehensive catalog of unique experiences is veiled behind every silent gaze of the human expression. My goal is to create work that is visually poetic; aiming to create an interactive experience in which the viewer is compelled to ponder possibilities that are likely reflections of their own experiences. I hope that my work can become a catalyst to trigger self-discovery of value, beauty, and significance among people who in some way may feel marginalized. Additionally, I desire to invite viewers to discover and value the humanity of people of various backgrounds and beliefs - exercising this practice in the observation and study of figurative art.