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

Noose

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.

Experimenting

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.