I have always appreciated the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. In fact, I wrote my undergrad art history thesis about the public perception of his racial identity to his work. At The Broad, it was inspiring to see Basquiat’s work in a dedicated section. Must-see section of their permanent collection gallery!
One of the most stunning exhibitions I have ever seen, the William Pope. L: Trinket exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (March 20–June 28, 2015) was a truly immersive experience.
One quote to mention from the website by William Pope. L:
“This project is a chance for people to feel the flag,” Pope.L has said. “People need to feel their democracy,not just hear words about it. For me, democracy is active, not passive. With Trinket, I am showing something that’s always been true. The American flag is not a toy. It’s not tame. It’s bright, loud, bristling and alive.”
Photos from my visit below:
- Tell a little bit a bout yourself.
- I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and grew up in Los Angeles, CA.
- I moved to New York for graduate school. I now live in Brooklyn and I plan to stay in New York for a while.
- Firstly, what is (are) your medium(s) of creative expression? How long have you been studying and working at your medium?
- I’m a painter. I currently make abstract paintings.
- I’ve painted, drawn, made sculptures for 15 plus years. Trained in traditional oil medium.
- In 2012, upon realizing my painting concerns were less focused on rendering and depicting reality, I began to use water based mediums such as acrylics and more. In 2014, I completely dove in the deep end making abstract paintings. That’s when I completely abandoned oil and fully turned to acrylics.
- What is your inspiration to begin working on a piece? Where do you go to gather inspiration? Where do you and your friends go to view art and collaborate?
- I have always enjoyed painting and initially it’s all the inspiration I needed. Along the way, I realized painting became a thinking space; a place where thoughts take form and vise versa. So I take my inspiration from everyday life such as conversations, relationships, the occupation of forms or marks in public and private space, the human condition, existential issues, philosophy, political issues, Western societies, current state of existence as an individual (commodity, capitalism)…the list goes on.
- I go to many places throughout New York. I often go to museums, galleries (small and big), friends openings, and more…the MOMA, The New Museum, Studio Museum Harlem, The Brooklyn Museum, PS1 MOMA, Chelsea galleries, galleries throughout Brooklyn…56 Bogart in Bushwick, various Bushwick galleries and Open Studios, Art fairs, NYC wide MFA Open Studios, and more…
5. Where can people check out your work next? I have an upcoming MFA Thesis Exhibition titled Off Pink (working title) at the Kitchen in Chelsea.
- How do you define community? How has your work been inspired by said community? How important is the community to your work? How have you collaborated with community?
- I see community as a necessary structure of existence. Often groups of people coexisting in similar situations in life become a community. Some are more dependent on each other and more closely neat than others.
- Living in a modern-contemporary world, the definition of a community can be a bit blurry. One can belong to multiple communities. Nonetheless, I consider all who journey in my path and contribute to my growth and vise versa as a part of my community.
- Communities that I have been a part of in the past or will forever belong to, although they may not always be with me, have forever impacted the way I think and therefore it’s only fair to say that communities are important to my work.
- Not to mention being a part of Parsons’ MFA community has tremendously challenged and inspired me for the last two years. I have grown leaps and bounds because of the relationships that were cultivated through honest critiques and collaborations.
Communities around the the World are filled with good people living in fear. Enough is enough. We demand more empathy, more accountability, more opportunity, more compassion, more dignity, more power and more opportunity for all. We demand healthier communities, which means more from each other. The time has come to illuminate our resilience and to take back our communities and our hope. Together we must lift our voices, assert our power, be resilient, identify solutions and work together to MANIFEST:JUSTICE. Together we will build a more just future.