Last week Sunday, I met with some members of the Black August Cocoon Collective that Ola Ronke of Free Black Women’s Library started for the month of August as a way to bring together a community of black woman to do a series of activities and rituals that will later result in us creating a zine.
Since the Sunday coincided with a new full moon in Leo, Ola had each of us pick a card from Earthlyn Manuel’s Black Angels Card deck. The card I got was the Joker. At first I thought that was strange because I don’t think I’m much of a funny person or a jokester, but I have been studying trickster archetypes and gods like Eshu/Elegba, I do love word play when it comes to my writing practice and as the book explanation says, I seem to have a liveliness that attracts others to me.
Take a look at the card and read the description for it (click on the pictures for full size):
We have come to the end of the year 2016. It has been a year filled with loss and with the unbelievable happening, but it has also been a year filled with amazing opportunities and door openings. 2017 is a year coming in like a lion’s roar and our futures seem uncertain, but let us go forth together, facing our fears and welcoming the new opportunities that will be opened with the seismic changes coming our way.
I will leave you with a few visionary artists I learned about during my trip to Barbados and hopefully they will inspire you as we head into the new year. I will see you all in 2017!
Nakazzi Hutchinson is a sculptor, painter and interior designer who is of both Jamaican and Barbadian heritage. She creates life-sized figures and masks out of organic materials. As she said in her artist statement:
Today, I am presenting my second surprise — my new logo for my blog! My friend from high school, Estella Yu, designed it for me. I love it and as I told her, it’s like my own bat signal. Another thing about the Aker image I noticed that I didn’t until now is that the shape of the lions’ tails, going up the their backs and to the sun has an unintentional sankofa shape! Hmmm?
Anyways, below is my interview with her about her journey as an artist and the logo:
1) How did you know you wanted to be an artist/graphic designer?
I kind of knew since I was little that I liked art. My favorite thing about picture book stories were the illustrations that pulled me into the imagined world. They inspired me to draw my own pictures. My mom also had a lot of influence on me growing up, since she used to fix and make jewelry as a side job and I would sit with her playing with beads. She is very crafty herself and I valued her opinion on the quality of my artwork. As I grew older, I continued pushing myself to develop my abilities. While I did well in other subjects in school, art was the only one that I ever felt really excited about. And I was really good at it too.
I never really planned to become a graphic/web designer. It sort of resulted from a number of things. I wanted a career in art that wasn’t solely performance/exhibit based. It is so difficult to sustain a livable salary with this because entering works into exhibits is extremely competitive and costs of transporting work can get expensive. Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted my work to just be pretty objects to serve as decorative pieces in a stranger’s living room. More and more I liked the idea of creating artwork that is also functional and can help others. I also realized that plenty of companies rely on their websites for their businesses so there is always going to be a need for designers. Especially since graphic/web designers now also create formats for smartphones and tablets and such. I thought, not only will I help others but my artwork will be all over the Internet. I took a web design course in grad school, got hooked and started freelancing.
2) What has your journey as an artist been like?
Aside from knowing that I wanted to be an artist, the rest has been a journey of self-discovery. It was a lot of fun learning so many different types of medium on my own as well as in college. I am grateful to my undergrad experience for giving me the chance to try more traditional hands on approaches such as print-making to sculpting wood. I wasn’t just creating on a whim anymore but rather learning to research my subject’s purpose and defending my choices of expression. It’s a thrill for me to reveal my completed work to a client. It was also really hard because I constantly second-guessed whether I would have been better off sticking to a practical career like pharmacy or nursing, which seemed like what all the other Asians were studying. Although I’m almost done with school, art is a profession that needs constant curiosity and practice. Even now as web/graphic designer I am constantly trying to learn and keep up with the latest design trends and techniques for coding HTML.
Denver born painter, muralist and illustrator, Joshua Mays is a self-taught, visionary artist who has featured his murals all over the world. He draws inspiration from “science-fiction, dreamscape exploration and futuristic visions.” In his interviews, he says often of the importance of the arts on STEM fiields; for example, he said “creative ideas that are presented by the artists end up inspiring the explorers, the scientists, the future…Leonardo Da Vinci would draw a picture or plan of flying machines because he had these dreams of human beings taking flight.” Tomorrow, he is opening his exhibition, Beyonder in Oakland, California’s SoleSpace, Take a look at more of his work on Graffuturism.
* Artistic Freedom Ltd. is producing Roxie15, a short film about a “virtual reality programmer working on the project she hopes will change her life. Things are good, until the software she has created is infected with a virus. Things go from bad to worse when the virus comes after her.” The film takes place in New York in 2051 and will start shooting in April. Read more about it here and donate.
*Another film, Afronauts, is also in the works. Frances Bodomo, who also did Boneshaker, is heading the project and here is the synopsis: “Afronauts tells the alternative history of the 1960s Space Race. It’s the night of July 16th, 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. There’s only one problem: their spacegirl, Matha, is five months pregnant. Afronauts follows characters that have not been able to find a home on earth and are therefore attracted to the promise of the space race.” So far, model Diandra Forrest and actress Yolanda Ross are in the film. Donate at the indiegogo page.
* I want to thank Ian Burzynski for his recent donation. If you want to donate to my blog, the button is on the right side of my page. Any amount is appreciated! >>>>>>>>>
*Don’t forget to continue support for the Oya: Rise of the Orisha film centering on the West African orisha being turned into modern day superheroes. They are posting concept art for the orisha Oya on their facebook page. and watch the latest interview with actress Luiana Bonfim playng Tanit.
* I haven’t posted this in a while (mostly because I put it on the backburner while doing other things), but I am still looking for people interested in creating a logo for my blog. If interested, click here for more info.
*Metropolarity announced a workshop in Philadelphia about incorporating race, gender, and sexuality in sci-fi writing with Alex Smith, founder of the Laser Life sci-fi reading series and founding member of the Metropolarity arts collective. There will three workshops on April 8, 15 and 22.
*Hey everyone! I just want to let you know that if you enjoy my blog and want to see it continue, please consider supporting it by donating at the side (–>). Any amount is welcomed. Thanks!
* I was thinking about creating an official logo for my blog. I have a basic design based on the initials of my full name S.V.F., the drawing for Aker and the chnoubis. I am not an artist, so I don’t have any way of fleshing it out. If anyone is an artist and interested in creating a better version based on the logo and images below, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any chosen will have a post dedicated to them (and maybe I’ll write a poem for you, too)!