Candace Hunter took second place in our Afrofuturism Cover Art Contest. Hunter is a prolific collage artist who won the prestigious 3Arts Award, the mother to a teenage girl, and an avid reader. Meet Candace through this interview and have your day transformed.
Your collages are extraordinary, where do you find the material for them?
Familial history, Black history and the words of my favorite writers inform what I do – Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler and John Donne!
Octavia E. Butler informed the art you submitted to the contest, do you have a few favorite quotes or passages by her that you think address today’s divisive political climate?
I don’t think that anyone could ever have just one Butler quote – she was so prolific and challenging, but, if I were forced to choose, it would be the opening manifesto/prayer from Butler’s book, “Parable of the Sower”…
All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING
What is your favorite aspect of Afrofuturism?
The term, Afrofuturism came about after my first dalliances with Science and Speculative Fictions. The writings of Samuel Delaney, Octavia Butler and then Tananarive Due, were not originally categorized as such. By the time that Mark Dery coined the term, /I was already in love with everything that would soon fall under that canopy.
I am a child of Afrocentrism, a lover of histories, an admirer of beauty and an avid reader – all of the things that Afrofuturism would embrace as an “ism”were already embraced by me and seen/explored in my work.
You’re the mother to a teenage girl, does motherhood inform your artwork?
Ha! I think she informs me much more than I inform her. Being a teen today is such a fast paced thing and they are truly the creators of the next Brave New World. I am thrilled to laugh and learn with my teen.
This past fall you became a recipient of the 3Arts Award and your work has been displayed locally and regionally, what jumpstarts your creativity and keeps you in such a prolific place?
Oh what a joy it was to win the 3Arts Award! To be in the company of so many wonderful artists is a dream. But the award did not put in me in a place to create more – that impetus to continually work comes from a work ethic learned in my home from my grandfather and my parents. I work. Whether I am “feeling” something or not. Work must always continue or else it is a play thing.
What message would you give to artists who feel discouraged or stymied by our current presidential administration?
I don’t think this question solely applies to artists, but to so many people, so many disciplines. Last Fall, I had an Artists Talk on the campus of UIUC, in which the questions lobbed at me had been polite and congratulatory, when a guest, a graduate student, an immigrant, spoke to me tersely and accusatorily about a specific piece. I had to take a breath, look him directly in the eye. I realized at that moment that his response to my work was one born of anxiety. I addressed that anxiety and the anxiety that most in the room were feeling as we approached the Presidential election. By the time that I finished, never taking my eyes from his, we were both able to breathe and respect one another’s position. So, I suppose that the answer is to respect yourself, respect your work, respect differing views and keep on working!
What is your favorite thing about the Chicago art scene and how does it make you feel?
I remember a couple of years back that a friend of mine who moved to Chicago in October from Los Angeles, said, “What? You have an Art Month? An entire month that the city celebrates artists?”, and my response was “Yep”.
The amount of work generated out of Chicago is mind-boggling and I am proud to be an artist from this city of Big Shoulders.