Filtering the Input

"Somali Spirit" work progress detail
"Somali Spirit"
 mixed media collage: oil pastel, chalk ink, paper on MDF
24"x5"  ©2014
Inspiration comes in many forms: a vividly colorful sunset, a glimpse of an ancient scroll, a photograph, the design of a mask, the way another artist uses disparate materials--the list is endless. If you ask me how I come up with the ideas and designs in my work, I'll often say everything I've ever seen and done goes into each piece.  While that's not literally true (what a mess that would make on one substrate!), it goes to the heart of what I believe the artist's life is about; filtering the input and molding it into a cohesive vision for each piece. 

For my newest work, I'm going in a bit of a different direction, which combines my recent series of African textile patterns with collage elements.  In this, I'm inspired by the work of African American mixed media collage artists, two of whom I've met personally. 

I met Romare Bearden, the world renowned collage artist, when I was working with his collaborator Harry Henderson on the book "A History of African American Artists".  I was a sophomore at Wellesley, had just declared my Art History major, and was chosen to research some primary source letters for references to the neoclassical sculptor Edmonia Lewis.  Mr. Bearden invited me to meet him at his 5th floor walkup studio in Harlem during my Christmas break. He was very gracious; autographed a book for me, and I was awed by the works in progress I saw in his studio--the first "real" artist's studio I'd ever seen.  Unfortunately, my visit was curtailed, due to his five cats and my allergies, but I've never forgotten it.

I met Charlotte-based artist Monique Luck at Festival in the Park.  Her large-scale mixed media collages are luminous, with great movement and luscious color.  You can see more of her work here.

As for this new direction my work is taking; I'm still refining and learning--it'll be exciting to see where this part of my journey will take me. 

Romare Bearden, with one of his five cats
I saw this piece "Mecklenburg Evening: Heavy Freight"
at the Romare Bearden show in Charlotte, NC a couple of years ago. 
I love the way the sky is painted, and the layered landscape.
Monique Luck with several of her
large-scale mixed media collages


Penny A said…
LOVE the new work! Thanks for the story behind the thinking for this new direction :) Already looking forward to more!