Last month (May 2019) the editors of Excellence Reporter, a website based in France, asked me to respond to these interview questions: "What makes a compassionate city or community?" and "What is the meaning of life?"
The way my creative instincts work these days, questions of this kind tend to inspire both verbal and visual considerations. Anyone wishing to check out the verbal part provided Excellence Reporter is invited to visit the following pages:
The visual results came in the form of two new works of Silk-Featherbrush art now available at Fine Art America and Pixels.com. The one seen just below is titled Journey towards a Brand New Day, and the other further down is called Battle for the Beauty of the Sun.
Journey towards a Brand New Day is my visual metaphor for engaged citizens around the world taking stands against different forms of social and political injustice while simultaneously celebrating their appreciation of life and each other. They are motivated more by visions of compassion and unity than by political sleights of hand.
Election years, like the one we're in right now (or soon will be as 2020 approaches), tend to come with built-in headaches. But there's also a lot of beauty in the way diverse communities assert themselves to participate in a process where the outcome is usually uncertain. Protests currently taking place in Hong Kong are one form of such expressions.
On this canvas we see waves of determined chromatic lines moving toward a shadowy horizon. Streaks of magenta reflecting against a cobalt blue and indigo sky symbolize emerging potential and hope that sometimes wavers but never completely fades.
The Extraordinary Adventure that Life Is
I see the image here titled Battle for the Beauty of the Sun as representative of resistance to different forms of extremism which increase polarization and encourage violence as a means for resolving conflicts. Although done with a minimalist approach in the Silk-Featherbrush style, it is meant to convey movement toward balance and fulfillment.
In addition to the questions posed by Excellence Reporter, the composition of Battle for the Beauty of the Sun was also heavily influenced by my reading of Asian author Yang Jisheng's Tombstone, the Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962. TOMBSTONE in particular reminded me of some human beings' strange habit of intentionally corrupting or destroying the abundance of beauty which surrounds us on a daily basis. But how fortunate we are that many more employ their energies toward the exact opposite: preserving and creating all that which makes life the extraordinary adventure it is.
Harlem Renaissance Centennial
The trick to getting the shot for “Taking a Walk Through American History” was getting as much of both the pedestrians-walking sign and the Confederate Monument in the distance into the photograph as possible. It was difficult because the monument, in Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia, was to the west and the sign was facing traffic going north on Drayton Street. A ladder might have come in handy but I didn't have one.
The street sign combined with the aging distant monument aligned beside it struck me as a powerful symbol of the division some American communities are experiencing over how to handle controversy involving Confederate symbols, often associated with advocacy for white supremacy, in public spaces. Some city administrators have dealt with the issue by placing the statues and similar representations in museums, which preserves the items and the history they represent. Other administrators have hidden them completely. Some citizens (like certain folks recently in North Carolina) have torn them down and tried to destroy them.
The monument seen here stands where Civil War camps were once located, so the historian in me would like to see it modified to tell a larger story rather than completely demolished. In an article titled "Re-Envisioning the Confederate Monument as a Portrait of Diversity," I suggested Savannahians consider adding several diverse figures to the structure. It could then be re-designated as a historical marker illustrating the different stakes and values for which people were fighting during the American Civil War. The primary theme would be a unified America rather than a self-destructing confederacy. Visitors would see in it, hopefully, a more comprehensive narrative on American history as opposed to one biased version of it.
© August 2018
"Climate Change Is Not Fake News FIRST EDITION" is mixed media horizontal landscape-formatted artwork consisting of urbanscape photography, layered oil, digital painting, custom-designed matting, customized framing, and signature Postered Chromatic Poetics digital processing.
This print is the first of a pair examining public narratives pertaining to how reports on climate change are perceived and interpreted. The colors at the center of the image reflect those which have dominated 2018 reports on global warming. The large formatting of this artwork makes it an ideal choice for filling an open wall area.
Have We Reached a Tipping Point?
Some claim we are experiencing a period of increased warming as part of a natural pattern of changes in the Earth's atmosphere. Others say we are experiencing the direct impact of human disregard for the environment. This, they say, has brought us close to a "tipping point" likely to have increasingly catastrophic results.
The divisions are so clear-cut that one U.S. presidential administration (Barack Obama's) readily signed up for the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming. But the next administration (Donald Trump's) just as quickly nullified U.S. participation in the program set to begin in 2020.
No matter which side of the debate you stand on, video footage of huge shelves of ice breaking off from the Antarctic, raging fires devouring communities in California, heatwaves causing Europeans to faint in the streets, and horrific rainstorms in India and elsewhere are unsettling. Therefore, they are forcing more and more dialogues on the subject.
Aug 21, 2018
I am profoundly grateful to the 3 women who modeled for "Suzannian Algorithm Finger-Painted on an Abstract Wall Number 2." Each is highly-accomplished in her own right and did not have to accommodate me compiling photographs of them to use as references for the creation of this artwork. In the end, their group portrait has been combined with an abstract painting background and custom digital matting with the overlaid text of the title poem.
As stated in the first part of this post, this artwork was created and is presented in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance and the brilliant artistry of Suzanne Jackson. It is one of two different images featuring the same poem. A significant percentage of sales from prints, t-shirts, cups, and other products featuring the artwork is slated to go toward supporting the Five-Decades Retrospective exhibition of Ms. Jackson's art scheduled to be held at the Telfair Museum Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia (USA) in 2019 from June 28 until October 6.
Award-winning author and artist acclaimed for works in multiple creative genres.