Modern Griots: Elton Leonard Jr.


Visual artist Elton Leonard Jr. describes the spiritual, social, and political aspects of his work:

My artwork takes a critical view of cultural, political and erotic perspectives. In my work, I reconstruct the American dream and fantasy images that are part of our childhood and adult culture. Having engaged subjects as diverse as black women’s rights, spirituality, African-American liberation and African culture, my work reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces.

Often times these themes are combined into visual feminine elements that feature surreal and abstract backgrounds, juxtaposed with symbolic spiritual images, and often embellished with vibrant colors. The colors orange and yellow (that I most frequently use) establishes a dream-like surreal quality, suggests notions of calmness, peace, love, happiness and safety; which formally unifies the disparate figures in each portrait.

While I use a variety of graphic as well as digital materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. Although there may not always be material similarities between the different projects they are linked by recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work.

My work for the most part is a major recording that reminds us about the beauty and sweetness of women and how to find the goddess within all of us. Believe it or not, we as humans are all Artists in one shape or form that is personally unique to us; for we have to ability to create our own lives and most of all our own destinies.  My artwork is the very blueprint of who I am.

Source: Pangea’s Garden

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