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Artist ID: 2389

My work is about the ideas and lessons I’ve observed through the conflicting nature of my personal identity and my religious affiliation. I am an African American Christian that grew up in the church and grew older in the south. When it comes to making art I always start with a question. I question the things that often go unquestioned in Christianity, such as the history of mistreatment of black people by the people that promise god to love others. In my piece Sunday school (2021) I talk about the segregation in modern-day churches that even though we try to be more inclusive in our religious practices we still have black, white, and multi-cultural churches instead of just church. The complexities of modern-day church culture which is considered new and fun and loving but the underlying feeling of not belonging or being accepted in god’s house is still there. I also discuss the topic of identity and comfortability when it comes to worship as why do I feel more comfortable worshiping around people who act and look just like me? Why does god have to look like me for me to praise him? Is my identity what I worship I think inwardly about identity and what is more important my race or religion, the thing that was placed upon me or the thing I chose. I use casual poses and lighting as an homage to the baroque artist Caravaggio and his dark twisted religious imagery. I usually find myself questioning the logic behind spending hours re-creating photographs and turning them into digital paintings when the process usually puts me in a depressive state. When it comes to aesthetics it's all about realism or appearing as like the source material as possible. When the viewer discovers that work isn’t a photograph the appreciation for the craftsmanship makes them naturally more invested in the piece. I feel that my audience is not just the museum-goer but everyone. For real change, we have to break boundaries high concept art puts in between the general public and the art connoisseur. Art isn’t just a soapbox to sell it’s a recording of what you were thinking and feeling, what was meaning fun to you at the time of making this. My work is a timestamp of who I am as an African-American Christian and the things people like me struggled with.

I’m an African American Christian from the south. I’m originally from Marathon, Florida but moved up here when my mom was attending FAMU. I grew up in Tallahassee Florida. While I was attending Godby Highschool, I took a lot of digital design classes where I learned to use editing software like Photoshop. After graduating from Godby, I was accepted into Tallahassee Community College where I took my first art classes and discovered Jean-Michelle Basquiat. Learning about him made me confident a black man could actually be an artist, after I got the AA degree I transferred to Florida State University I received my BFA in studio art at FSU in 2018.I usually make art in response to situations involving black culture. Like in this piece, the response is the feeling of exhaustion and not knowing what to do next in the midst of a lot of racial tension. Then, I use religious themes and stories. For this piece, I used the story of Eve and how her choice was so impactful. I use black subjects in my work to show my experiences as well.

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