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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Highlight for Felicia Follum Art + Design

I found the idea of sharing the highlight of my artwork of 2011 with you while reading the Art Biz Blog and decided that it would be beneficial to post about my most significant accomplishment of 2011.

The accomplishments that I am the most proud of revolve around my most recent art exhibition and body of work, Make it Plain.  Make it Plain was my first solo show, none of the work was created for school in any way and the amount of research that went behind the work was huge.

I am extremely excited about the work itself. I am proud of the quality and quantity of the art. I am proud to say I have a cohesive body of work.  In addition to the work itself, I am excited about the responses from both the community.

The African American and Diaspora Studies, Religious Studies and Philosophy departments all supported my work and I was even asked to submit my exhibition to another gallery on campus. The African American and Diaspora Studies department encouraged students to attend my show and writing their final papers on my body of work was an option. The 234 Gallery focuses on social and educational artwork.  I was contacted after the application deadline and encouraged to apply to display my work in their gallery.  I am proud that my art exhibition will be on display in the same gallery as a photographer for the National Geographic.

Thanks for all you support and time spent reading my blog and looking at my work. I couldn’t have achieved what I have without you.

Check back tomorrow to see my goals for 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

James Cone's Black Jesus

This poster is designed to represent James Cone's theology as a part of my Make it Plain art exhibition.  James Cone was a theologian who made the idea of a black Jesus famous.  James Cone believed in a Jesus that was with the oppressed people of the day; in the 1960's the oppressed peoples were black. 

Cone was responding to all of Christians who believed in a white Jesus and a white God that supported to oppression, murder, enslavement, and oppression of blacks.  James Cone responded with the idea that Jesus represents the oppressed peoples, and the Jesus Cone talked about was black.  When the racism supporting 230 lynchings in a year is still prevalent 70 years later there is a need for the Christian faith to evolve for the better.  James Cone did that in part by building on Martin Luther King's black theology.

Cone combined Malcolm's ideas of self love and Kings philosophy of loving others.  Cone  used MLK Jr's Black Christian theology (which still had some grit if you read his actual sermons).  James Cone is known as the founder of Black Liberation Theology .

People who have heard of James Cone in response to the anti Obama campaigns, have heard incredibly distorted views of what black Liberation Theology actually is.  These same people seem to forget the circumstances that men like James Cone and Malcolm X were responding to and living with on a daily basis. 

Through my conversations with anti-Cone and anti-Obama extremists, it seems that verry few of them have read Cone, King or Malcolm beyond what we get in high school and none of them have studied American history from any other perspectives than standard European-American history.  Not that this is bad, they just done seem to have a grasp on a variety of people groups experiences.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Photo featured in the Laramie Boomerang November 10, 2011
This Noose painting was an experiment 
created during the 1892 process
Noose was painted on top of wall art 
again showing the contrast between fake (though beautiful)
and honest.  Speaking to the covering up of the past.
This idea of covering up the past is not as clear as in History Can't be Undone...
I chose to include this work in 
Make it Plain beacuse it had a strong use of lights and darks.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Graffiti Drawings

I recently started a shop on ETSY where I am selling personalized name tags ( graffiti style drawing) in various graffiti styles.  I typically create a new style for each drawing (although some letters look really cool in a certain style).  I also like to include shapes or backgrounds that relate back to the person and his or her interests.

I will be posting more of these drawings as a part of my Make it Plain Walk-through series of posts.  The drawings included in my Make it Plan art exhibition featured some significant leaders in African American religious culture. 

If you would like a chance to win a free drawing, be sure to like my Felicia Follum Art and Design Page on Facebook.  You can see a larger variety of my artwork there.  If you would like to purchase one for a gift or for yourself, be sure to let me know.  The example below is a drawing I gave to some friends for their wedding.  These unique drawings do make excellent gifts.  It is framed in a simple glass frame. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

1892: 230 Lynchings in America

There were 230 people lynched in 1892 and this piece is dedicated to each of those individuals.

Lynchings in One Year

1892 (originally titled 230 nooses) is the piece that started the idea of using nooses. Through research I found that there were 230 people lynched in 1892.

Viewing X and Cone in Historical Context

I had been trying to figure out how to help people understand Malcolm X and James Cone, two historical figures often misunderstood. Using nooses to show the extent of the overwhelming hatred, racism, ignorance, and bigotry to which they were responding seemed like a perfect solution to help people see the necessity for their intensity. I wasn’t sure where I was going with this idea of creating nooses or how I was going to display the 230 drawings. All I knew was that I had to make over 20 every week to make enough in time for opening night.


In addition to the 230 nooses, this piece actually morphed into several other works including Negro Family Tree, History Can’t be Undone, but It Can be Erased, American Dream, and Noose. The variety of works developed through the process of making 230 drawings.  I experimented and the experiments ended up being separate works.  The text hidden in this piece is composed of quotes from KKK leaders and essays I read while researching for Make it Plain.  These quotes and more text will reappear in a post about one of my books exhibited in this art show.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

History Can't Be Undone...

Detail of center image
...but It Can Be Erased

This piece is a series of three prints made from a pink eraser.  As they go from left to right they fade.  This speaks to the forgetting of and changes to history over a period of time.   The center image is torn out and placed on the top of another print underneath.  The covered print relates to covering up the past and the idea that those who have the power teach us the history they want us to remember, while those who choose to look a little deeper will see the truth.

The title is from a lyric from the band Spoken and is an incredibly powerful idea.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Negro Family Tree

Interesting Welcome

Negro Family Tree can be seen from down the hall before you enter the gallery space.  People recognize the framed pieces and how it looks like a shrine, altar or simply photos that your grandparents would have of their family.  As you get closer, you realize that these images are not portraits but nooses.

The piece originated as I was playing around with 1892 (I will post more on that later) and ways to display the 230 drawings; I decided to frame some. I enjoyed the irony of framing something like a noose.  The feeling of having something morbid, yet beautifully drawn in ink sit on my desk, in the studio, while I was working as intriguing.  I wanted to share that feeling with others, so I decided to take the 15 framed nooses and make them a separate piece based on the idea of not knowing details of ones family history but rather knowing the way family members died, an idea of which Malcolm X spoke.

Exhibition Feedback

From those I talked to about this piece, my goals of depicting a beautiful shrine in honor of someone from outside the gallery space did work.  The piece was met with sad shock upon the realization that this shrine was composed of noose portraits.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Make it Plain: Exhibition Walk Through

People have been asking questions about my current show and I would love to share some insight with you about how the show came together as well as the research behind the works. I will start with explaining the over all concepts and then will create a couple posts about individual artworks.  In this first post I will explain the overall concept behind the show, using my artist statement.  In the next few posts I will describe the research and concepts behind the individual works.
What you see as you walk into the gallery.

Artist Statement

The drawing technique of ink and wash along with the communication aspect of graphic design are both influential in my current work. I tend to focus on social issues; the most recent work deals with the history of African American religious culture.

This body of work addresses various aspects of African American religious culture. Make it Plain deals with some of the history behind a small sample of African American religious leaders as well as a variety of religious traditions. My goal with this show is to give an overview of basic African American history (that we are not taught in school) as well as a basic overview of how slavery, African American history, and African American theology interact with each other. I addressed the culture that individuals like Malcolm X and James Cone were responding to to help the viewer understand American history from a more diverse viewpoint.

I understand that the history of colonialism and slavery, as well as the effects of both is not a pleasant topic but it should not be ignored, swept under the rug or sugar coated. My goal with this show is to present the raw reality of America’s past and the history of African American culture as a response to that past.

The end of institutional slavery did not solve the many problems of racism in America. Malcolm X responded to this hate by saying that the African American population must learn to love themselves. James cone combined the self-love of Malcolm X with Martin Luther King’s ideas of loving others to form the view that we must love ourselves so that we can love others. Cone also discussed a Jesus of the oppressed; a Black Jesus that oppressed people can relate to.

Felicia Follum

Monday, November 21, 2011

Works of Wyoming Internship

Fellow artists, family and friends. I would like to introduce you to Works of Wyoming. I am currently the AmeriCorps intern working primarily on social media marketing as well as working in the gallery space and gift shop. (Last year I worked as the Graphic Design Intern for WOW and the WWBC. You can see my blog for that here.)

As the social media marketing person (I would love to say coordinator, though I do not officially have a title) I have been posting some marketing tips on the WOW blog. My current goal is to post every week on either Tuesday or Thursday and sometimes both. In addition to weekly social media marketing tips, there are basic professional development tips for artists, some fun projects and of course announcements for our workshops and shows.

It would make my day if you would check out the blog and share it with your friends, especially artists and small business owners who could benefit from our services.  In addition to sharing the blog with people, I would also love to have more examples to post.  If you would like to have your social media site, plans, or strategies in the blog, please comment below or contact me on the WOW Facebook page.  If you would like to contact me through WOW feel free.  Their phone number is 307.742.6574 and the email address is wow@uwyo.edu.

If you are not from Wyoming and would like help with your social media comment below for more info.  If you are from WY not a part of WOW you should look into becoming a member.


WOW Blog
WOW Facebook

Art Facebook Page (I don't add people I don't know in real life to my personal page, so be sure to go to FeliciaFollumDesign not FeliciaFollum. Thanks!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Make it Plain: Malcolm X Documentary

My Exhibition was named Make it Plain in honor of Malcolm X.  Here is the documentary on Malcolm with the same name.  I chose the name because I wanted to make the history plain to people.  I didn't want to sugar coat reality just as Malcolm didn't.  He said what many black people had been thinking for some time.

Part 1

Some great Quotes
"When many were begging to be let into the house of the oppressor, he said to build your own house."

Malcolm and I have something in common...both of our biological fathers were murdered by the KKK because they didn't give in (and my adoptive father had his car bombed, arguably because he was white)...We both grew up in white neighborhoods with mostly white kids. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Haitian Abstract

Just thought I would share a photo that I took while in Haiti.
I like this image as a photo, but would love to push it a little further.
I am not sure exactly where I will go with this, but
I would like to draw the or paint something similar.
I really like the lines and shapes.

What would you like to see this turn into?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sneak Peak

Here is a little bit of what you may have seen around and a sneak peak at what you will see if you come to my opening tonight.

  I hope you can make it...For those of you who are out of town, I will be sure to post some more photographs of my art work.  The show consists of graphic design posters, graffiti style name drawings in ink, and a whole bunch of noose drawings to represent the culture James Cone and Malcolm X were responding to.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Idetity and Inspiration

Like any other business, an artist should have a visual identity. This identity should be clean and consistent throughout your social media sites, website, letterhead, and business cards. I just printed a bunch of cards this summer that do not match my updated branding that is on my website, facebook page and blog...I also made some others for my show opening.

I plan to use my current cards while I begin designing my cards. Every time designing takes place, visual research also occurs…Here is some of my business card inspiration (They only seem to work on some browsers.  I will work on fixing that for you). Which are you favorites?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why You Should Come to My Art Opening...

Opening: November 10, 6-8pm
Exhibition dates: November 8-17
...or at the very least check out and like my page on Facebook.

1. Commitment - I am committed to creating artwork that I am passionate about.

2. You enjoy great artwork - Well great artwork certainly is my goal and I would love to make you a part of the journey.

3. Make new friends - It is always great to get out and meet new people.  An art exhibition is the perfect opportunity.

4. Support the arts - Art is an important part of life. If you cant make it to my show, go to a local art exhibition and/or like my page.

5. Support a good cause - First of all you are supporting the arts and me.  In addition to simply supporting me, and the arts in general, but some other great causes as well.  I tend to have sales where a percentage goes to a charity or specific cause. Like my Facebook page for deals and updates.

6. Passion - I love artwork and I love using my art to make a difference.
Networking - I probably know people that may be able to help you out (and you know people too).

7. Networking - I am an intern for WOW, a professional development center for artists and I always emphasize the significance of networking (in real life).

8. You can teach me something - I love feedback on what art you want to see, but also love critique from other artists.

9. You will learn something new - I tend to focus my work on social issues and often use historical or current events.

10. Entertainment - Artwork is often entertaining and a gallery opening is something fun to attend.

11. Education disguised as entertainment - My formal training is in the field of conceptual graphic design...A lot of research goes into my projects.  I had a high school art teacher who was pretty cynical about our culture.  He was always commenting on how people want to be entertained rather than educated. Art is an opportunity for both education and entertainment.

12. Free art - My business cards for opening night have been custom printed.  There will also be at least one more opportunity for a giveaway.

13. Curiosity - I have given you 13 decent reasons for you to at least be a bit curious about my work. I am guessing you want to know a little bit more about me or my art. I have also been dropping tidbits of info in this blog, about my upcoming show and I am sure that some of them have sparked a bit of interest as well.

Now, why not - you are already on my blog and I am making it simple for you to check out and find my Facebook event page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Art Supplies I cant Live Without

People sometimes ask what tools I use to create my drawings or how I made a piece.  I will certainly post a tutorial or two in the future, but for now I will tell you the supplies and programs that I worked with in my most recent body of work.  These are some of the basics tools that I use to create my art.  The first few are for my ink and wash drawings. The next section addresses the supplies I use for my graphic design posters.  The last two are used to tie my various mediums together to create a body of work. 

Ink print from Make it Plain
Drawing ink pen
Watercolor paper
Mechanical pencils (lots of them)
Kneaded eraser
Misket (masking fluid)
Water brush (for traveling)
Watercolor brush

My MacBook Pro
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photo Shop
My Kodak camera (simple snap and shoot, but I love it)

Concept - Although the image to the left is a print it ties to the rest of Make it Plain because it addresses the American history in a similar way to other work from the exhibition.

What do you use to create?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photography Blog

I just redesigned my photography blog.  The reason for having it is so that I can reference photograph.  It is a bit like a photo archive.  The new design allows me to scroll through and see all of the work at one time.  I can then click on the image I want to see, or change it back to a typical blog view.  I am quite please.  Check it out.

Images from Felicia Follum Photography Blog...Haiti and Beautiful Haitian People

Do you have a favorite photograph?  Which one?  Why?