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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
As a young artist growing up, I was very influenced by my small dominantly African American town in Southern Illinois. My family has always made sure that I was aware of where I came from and what I represent. This would include not only my family, but also my culture and the way that society has historically viewed people of my skin color. My community, my family, and my culture were the first things that I had to look to for inspiration and remains my biggest inspiration in my work to this day.
When considering different ideas for a piece I tend to think about how this composition will welcome the viewer into the world of the artwork at hand: Is this piece meant to be more visually pleasing or do I want my audience to feel like they have just had a full conversation? For example, my “Blue Women” piece was meant to be simply visually pleasing while also celebrating my identity as a black woman using a color that is commonly used in portraying black/brown people in art. As shown in this piece I enjoy creating in a realistic style accompanied by balanced compositions and a full range of values and textures.
Among the artists that inspire me would include the amazing Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, and Ernie Barnes. Kara Walker really stands out to me because along with the fact that she is another woman of color, her work discusses issues dealing with inequality and violence in this country; something that I am greatly inspired by. Much like these artists I aim to get my audience to walk away with a better sense of who I am, my work, and my pride in my cultural background.
In my work my goal is to display my love and respect for my culture and gender. I want to depict African Americans and women through my eyes and allow the viewer to see how being an African American woman has affected me and my perspective of my identity. My preferred style is realism; therefore, I enjoy making pieces using materials that allow me to display my drawing skills. Materials such as graphite, colored pencil, and forms of printmaking are the main forms that I tend to focus on. My favorite form of printmaking to use would be lithography, using an aluminum plate. This process combined with screenprinting is a new style that I have tried with the piece titled, My Butterfly. I enjoy the tedious process of printmaking because it reminds me of the teaching that I received from childhood. It requires being focused with great attention to detail; lessons that were embedded in me at an early age. With this I create images depicting African Americans and women as the beautiful beings that they are.
Whitaker, Tia, "Through My Eyes" (2020). Professional Practices (ART 399). 93.