I have chosen this theme of urban life through fairytales and nursery rhymes because I think that it is important to preserve one’s heritage and way of life by creating things that uphold the memory, history and values of a
given culture. I also believe that culture should be shared with others so we can appreciate the interesting qualities and attributes they have to share. The word, “urban” means to be related or belong to a city. As I think about this word, I think about city life and those who live there,
which in many cases the city is largely populated by racial minorities. When I say city I am referring to non-suburban areas and more specifically the ghetto. Along with living in the ghetto comes a ghetto mentality that some people have as a result of their circumstances such as limited resources, the low-income project housing, and the oppression of society that under-privileged and under-represented people
experience. My goal is to take the positive elements of urban culture, which are a strong sense of family and community, both Ebonics and slang languages that are alternative types of speech influenced largely by hip-hop culture. Being African-American also motivates me to
highlight my cultural background and the things that make it special like soul food, hip-hop inspired fashion, and the unique ability to be resourceful in order to make things work.

My approach to digital imaging has taken on a very graphic style. The common vector-based drawings that are created by graphic designers are an aesthetic that I find to be very appealing. Rendering images with clean, crisp lines in just black and white is my favorite technique. Patterns that emerge in my work are photo-realistic drawings mixed with loose, freehand strokes. The aesthetic qualities do not stand alone, but in order for me to feel that an image is completed is that there must be a significant amount of detail put into the
composition in which adds a child-like playfulness to the drawing. At first glance my work looks to be a cartoon designed for a juvenile audience my intent is for this to be visually stimulating and understood at different levels by different people. People will have different experiences and perspectives that provoke certain thoughts about what each image means. With that in mind, I believe that achieving a deeper understanding of the subject is dependant upon age and perhaps cultural exposure and background.

When I make art about urban culture and African-American themes, I am reminded that I have to stay true to myself and create art that comes from my passions and aspirations of making positive change in how urban culture is portrayed and portrays itself and how it influences others who take part in it. I begin a piece the same way I approach hip-hop choreography. I first absorb the lyrics or story and sketch images that could best interpret keywords. I know a piece is finished when I can tell the story by just looking at the image and when the composition has balance and is visually pleasing in space, shape, line, and color. When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of
accomplishment. Being that I choose to use alternative digital print methods, it takes many attempts sometimes to achieve a successful output. As a digital artist, I am not satisfied with my images’ finished product to be displayed on just a computer screen or framed but I feel
that it is important to incorporate traditional media in order to output my work. When people see my work, I would like them to read each image and all of its detail and to think of reasons why the substrate fits the image The materials that I use are recycled pieces and substrates that are not considered equal to photo or drawing paper nor worthy of being used to display artwork, but for me, alternative digital print is one way that I can emphasize this urban theme and create a stage in which to take-in each image.

  • Joined: August 2007
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