I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.
It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.
Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.
Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.
If you live in the Boulder area and you are looking for some unique gifts for your loved ones:
Come check out the BOULDER CREATIVE COLLECTIVE‘s Holiday Jubilee! Experience some freakin’ rad local artists, apparel brands + more in their awesome warehouse space in East Boulder! Coffee + cocktails will be available for purchase.
Afro Triangle will be selling original drawings and paintings, fine art prints, portrait commissions and more. I’ll see you on Saturday!
Let’s Talk Writing
In keeping with the theme of Women Behaving Badly, I want to take some time to showcase the women in our community who are making a difference right now. This week, we are showcasing women who use the written word to speak their truth. These women are going to talk about who they are, what they do, and why they do it.
Robyn Vie Carpenter-Brisco – Let’s Get Stoned – 21-Days-on-Your-Path-to-Joy
Cassi Clark – Breastfeeding Is a Bitch, But We Lovingly Do it Anyway – www.breastfeedingisabitch.com
Jennifer Kincheloe – The Secret Life of Anna Blanc – Tattered Cover, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble
Check back in for more information about these talented ladies. And if you haven’t seen the show, it will be up until the end of September, so come early and look around.
Tonight’s the night! I know you’ve been following the progress of this show since April. Now come check out the full exhibit of Women Behaving Badly. I’ll be at Coffee at The Point (710 26th ave) from 7pm to 10pm, or until they kick us out, whichever happens first.
There’s going to be live music, spoken word and a question and answer period about the art itself.
8pm – Marthe Ndongala – Spoken Word
8:20 – Zainab – Live music and vocals
8:40 – Pardees Goshtasb – Live music and hip hop
9:10 – Adri Norris – Q&A
Follow the link below for the map and more details.
Who is she?
Rigoberta Menchu Tum is a K’iche’ political activist, an indigenous Guatemalan woman who promotes indigenous rights and fights for the rights of women in her country. After losing most of her family to the Guatemalan civil war, which lasted form 1960 to 1996, Menchu worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of that war to justice.
What did she do?
In 1982, she dictated the book “My Name is Rigoberta Menchu and this is how my Conscience was Born”, winning international acclaim and calling attention to the ongoing conflict in Guatemala, as well as the ill treatment of its mostly Mayan people. Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for “her work in social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She created the Rigoberta Mentu Tum Foundation, which helped indigenous Guatemalans in exile return home.
Why does that matter?
Rigoberta Menchu Tum gave a voice to the indigenous people of her country and paved the way for justice to be served. There is still a long way to go before the country is completely healed, but many people are dedicated to the task.
You may be thinking to yourself, “those look like shell casings….” Yes, those are shell casings that I glued to the piece to enhance the violence of the time. 30 years is a LONG time for a civil war.
I’ve been so busy getting ready for this show, I’ve forgotten to post my last few paintings. Time to rectify that little oversight.
This painting is of Katherine Johnson.
Who is she?
Katherine Johnson was a computer for NASA, back when it was a job description, not a machine. She and a number of other Black women answered the call when NASA was looking for women to work in their fledgling space program.
What did she do?
One of the West Area Computers, Katherine Johnson did the calculations that astronauts relied on for some of America’s earliest space travel. She was so good at her job, even after the electronic computer had been invented, astronaut John Glenn requested that Johnson personally check the machine’s calculations before he took off for his mission on Friendship 7.
Why does that matter?
Katherine Johnson and other pioneers in her field are living proof that women have a place in science and technology. Without her efforts, American astronauts would not have left this planet when they did, and humanity would not know as much about Earth’s place in the universe.
I pushed myself a bit further on this one. I even managed to hunt down a toy space shuttle to indicate Johnson’s importance to the Space Program. I’m enjoying the 3D elements and will definitely be playing with that more in future paintings.
I have experienced some success with these jewelry pieces and have been having a great time making them. I must say, it has been an interesting journey coming up with different variations for these bracelets. There’s something about looking at the materials in front of me and seeing the possibilities for each new piece, coming up with different ways to put them together. Anyway, here are the newest creations.
Some of you may be wondering what it is I’m looking for when I agree to do a portrait of someone and whether or not they pose for me.
Well, I generally prefer to work from photos, the reason being that a photo captures a moment in time. If I have a model posing for me, I’ll be able to capture their likeness but would be hard pressed to capture their expression because that fades over a very short period of time. The model is now staring blankly into space. To me that doesn’t make for an engaging picture.
I prefer to have my clients send me their favorite photos. I do this because of the emotional content of the photo, both in what is visually there, and what memories are surrounding the actual taking of that photo. Here’s an example of a photo I used in a portrait:
This was always one of my favorite photos of me as a kid. I love the expression that says, “I’m up to something, you don’t know what, but you’re probably not going to like it”. I remember that was when I still lived in Barbados with my folks and we would go over to my Auntie Peggy’s house for dinner and the older folks would hang out in the back sipping rum and talking, while I would run around seeing what kind of trouble I could get into. Here’s what I did with it:
There is more abstraction than the portraits I have been doing lately, but the feeling of contrast between the mischievous kid I was and the adult I am is there. Here’s another one I did from a home photo:
My buddy Al lost his grandpa a few years back and asked me to do a painting for the family. They got together and chose one that they felt best showed who he was, this guy with a subtle sense of humor who had worked hard all his life and had these blazing blue eyes. Al told me specifically to emphasize the eyes, since blue eyes in a Mexican man are rare and his grandpa’s eyes always seemed to have this glow to them. Here’s what I did.
These examples are of older paintings I’ve done. These days I try to emphasize my subjects by not painting a background. I want the personalities to come through without distraction. This gets us here:
I’m loving the simplicity of this style which has the added bonus of reminding the viewer that it is in fact a painting. As I hone my skills, I’m getting closer and closer to photo realism, which has been a lot of fun to explore. But I don’t want to just replicate what a camera can do. I want to do better.
With Father’s Day around the corner, I was all set to put out my Father’s Day promotion of $250 for an 8×10 portrait of your favorite dad. I’m still gonna do that, but looking around at my friends’ profiles, I see a lot of new babies, so I’m adding an extra bonus for new dads with a $200 painting of your new bundle of joy. The first 15 to respond get this deal, so make some moves!
Here’s what one Mom got this month: