How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
I actually find that question really interesting because in my life there wasn’t a time when I knew I wanted to be an artist, when I was young I would always draw and sing, but it was always something that was just there. However, to take a step back I wouldn’t personally label myself an ‘artist’, and there are two reasons why. In society there is a preconception associated with the title ‘artist’, the title is associated with prestige and status, a reason why we have celebrities. The second reason is because I define art as “everything in existence” as art is subjective and based on perception, and if that’s true for me then in my eyes everyone is an artist. At the same time however I do understand how people work, categorizing things helps us better manage and store information, so with that said I don’t really mind either way being called an artist I just don’t label myself as one.
You’re a multi-disciplinary artist, graphic designer, and filmmaker, do you have a major project in the pipeline?
I’m currently producing, directing, and starring in the first feature film I’ve ever written, Greene. The film follows the story of a black gallery owner struggling to come to terms with his grief all while this same property is being foreclosed upon. I feel as though this film is one that wishes to speak boldly on black love, loss, grief, and mental health. The film also partakes in the conversation of how African Americans are perceived in the fine art world. For me Greene, as a film, is one that wants to exist outside of the confines of stereotypical representations of African American life in mainstream media and swing in rhythm with pieces such as Moonlight, Atlanta, and Insecure. From a personal stand-point this film is also a study for me, of many things, but one of the main goals that I’ve set out to accomplish with this film is professional distribution via a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu etc… So far we are 10% of the way into production with a timeline to finish production by May 1st and post production by June 1st.
Who or what inspires you?
I draw inspiration from everything that I experience, whether that be via sight, sound, smell, taste, touch etc…, and in doing so I’m able to effectively remove the limits on what I can create giving me the potential to step into the shoes of any artist and understand how they perceive the world.
Your current focus is on afrofuturism and black surrealism, who are your favorite artists from each movement?
There is a distinction to be made between afrofuturism and black surrealism (referring to afrosurrealism) but the two are inclusive as is the case with all art. With that off of the top of my head I would say easily Joshua Mays, Taj Francis, Sara Golish, John Jennings, and Stacey Robinson. These are the artists that come to mind when I think of afrofuturism and afrosurrealism.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
I don’t have a favorite. I like to find the potential experiences in any medium.
What do you think is the most important message art can send?
Art sends many messages and every message it sends is important. The sole purpose of art is understanding, whether the artist realizes this consciously or subconsciously. What art does is it allows one to step into the perspective another, it let’s you see the world as they do. This in turn promotes understanding and connection as everything that you perceive becomes everything that you create.