artist statement

My multidisciplinary practice takes the word "medium" by its dictionary definition. Meaning, the ideas are primary, while the medium or discipline of choice acts as an intermediary or "translation" to mold the concept and outcome uniquely. If there is another through-line in the process, it is an interconnected and deconstructive approach to making and unmaking meaning. That is, a practice where political incisiveness and personal abstraction share footing, where social awareness and emotional candor intermingle. Informed by my lived experience, distinct mediums offer varying degrees of immediate or incremental detail in form and content, where I can contrast literal interpretations with implicit meanings that play with perception.

 

My visual art reflects an interplay between form and content in the most implicit way: a self-contained visual language of surrealist and semi-abstract images flirts with values of light and dark, of complementary and clashing colors and tones. In written word (with and without music), I forge my own syntax and toy with metaphor to more explicitly explore the limits of the categorical, the previously delineated, the subjective, etc. In turn, composing instrumental musical with hyper-literate lyrics utilizes almost cinematic impressionism to situate idiosyncratic (mis)uses of meaning and experimental concepts. 

 

The less declarative, more freestyled visual work acts as a counterpoint to the intentional and more scrutinized written and musical efforts in combined effect— and as an ecosystem of artful practice. Ideas are free to be as creative as the form in which they are contained, while centering intersubjectivity, interpretability, and an ensuing, acerbic self-awareness.

In general, art offers an exciting refuge from one-dimensional views of causality, but being able to destabilize form, content, and perspective helps me acknowledge how the politics of my personal, sociopolitical standing inherently inform the nature of my expressions. In many ways I stand to represent a post-racial fantasy: a multi-ethnic middle class child-became-man, reared in a pluralist environment. That fantasy would have someone like me eschew the constituent elements of my identity (especially identification as "Black") in favor of the combination. Unfortunately, this line of thinking often oversimplifies the implicit categorization and bias that colors social interactions with one another, which can turn an ideal of "post-identification" into a method of not addressing systemic, historical issues of particular peoples.  

 

Through the freedom and whimsy afforded by multiple disciplines, I scrutinize the demands of my identity and others' while calling attention to that very seeking itself. If mediums of art are translations to communicate ideas, theories like Kwame Anthony Appiah's "rooted cosmopolitanism of shared humanity” remind me of my aspirations toward  “a form of universalism that is sensitive to the ways in which historical context shapes a practice."