Friday, March 30, 2012

James Cone Graffiti Art

This graffiti style name drawing is in honor of James Hal Cone.
James Cone is an African American hero and the founder of Black Liberation Theology.
Make it Plain focused on religious leaders such as James Cone and Malcolm X. 

Cone is a fascinating theologian who combined the idea that you should love yourself first (Malcolm X) with the more well known ideals of Martin Luther King. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social Justice Today (and This Week)

Trayvon and his father
In the past two weeks I have had two sets of parents come talk to me about race and how it impacts their young children. One is the mother to an adopted son from Africa who had to watch her little preschooler come home and try to scrub his blackness off because he was told he was dirty and wasn’t allowed to play with the other kids at school. Anther, the father of a young girl, who had to deal with his daughter coming home crying and saying “I want blue eyes.” In addition was also a major event (The murder of Trayvon, a 17 year old boy) that made many people rethink the race situation in America.

The mom with the preschooler is now dreading telling her son that just because he looks a certain way, he will need to be careful in certain neighborhoods, he will not be able to wear certain colors or certain clothes. Even if he is on the honor roll and gets into a good school, people will assume it was affirmative action because he couldn’t possibly do it on his own.


Noose
The father with the girl gets to explain to his daughter that she is beautiful even though everyone she studies in school, everyone she is surrounded by, models she sees, and the majority of people in power do not have the same skin tone, eye color, or hair texture as she does. She will need to learn to love her own beauty in a world that does not call her beautiful but rather exotic or ethnic.

I am reminded of a story I was told about two police officers sitting in a bar across from one of my friends talking about profiling Native Americans just for fun.

I am reminded of the time(s) I have been profiled, followed through stores, or stereotyped simply because of the color of my skin. I am reminded of family members murdered because of their race (and their successes in a white neighborhood) and I am reminded of violence toward myself and my friends because of my dark skin.  I have been told what it is like to be black in America by many white folks and I am here to tell you what it is really like.

People ask why I chose to use nooses in my artwork.  This is why.  People need to see that, though better, things are still a mess. We are not beyond racism. Racism is learned and we have not adequately taught our preschoolers to accept others. We, ourselves, have not learned to fully accept others. We have not acknowledged these problems, nor have we decided to actively fight against them. 

The nooses not only force us to think about racism in its present day form, but allow us to remember those who have been murdered because of their race or other forms of prejudice and hate such as sexuality, or gender, even modern day slavery.  We are still fighting this battle...

Some helpful links

Black is Beautiful Pin Board - This is an excellent way to help focus on images of people that look like you.  Also turn off the television

Tips to help your child see themselves as beautiful even when people at school do not

My Black is Beautiful - Celebrating African American women

More of my Artwork

Body Image
Native American
Human Trafficking

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shabazz Ink Drawing


El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was Malcolm X's Muslim name. 

I have posted some about Malcolm on my SCKRLGN blog and other spots on this blog. You can also find information on Wikipedia (Most of it seems fairly accurate when compared to other sources, though it is still Wikipedia).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Make it Plain: Round Two

RSVP on Facebook
I am proud to announce that Make it Plain (click to read more) will be a part of the 16th Annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice this year.

The opening for my solo exhibition will be held in the 234 Gallery (in the University of Wyoming Union) on Wednesday, March 28 from 6-8pm directly following a talk by Tim Wise (one of my favorite social justice speakers out there).

The show will be up from March 19 - 31.

If you missed my Make it Plain solo exhibition the first time around, be sure to check it out now.  I am proud to say that the first showing was quite a success and I believe this one will be as well.

It is in a larger and more prominent gallery space which only makes the work shine more.  The exhibition will be slightly different due to works that have been sold, recreated, or altered.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

KONY 2012 Campaign Critique + Analysis

As I mentioned, I fully support what the guys from Invisible Children are doing and I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of “exposing” them…They have been pretty transparent for the past 10 years, at least in my opinion.

I am instead going to take more of a marketing and design approach to their campaign…
It is clear that the KONY campaign was well thought out.  I would like to look at some of the social media and marketing strategies used in the creation of this beautiful campaign.

Plan – The plan is the most important aspect of a viral campaign. Having the 20 “Culturemakers” and 12 “Policymakers” was well thought out. Having these people back your plan and begin to spread the message all at the same time via social media was wise.

Unity through KONY
Concept – The concept behind this being a presidential election, using red and blue coming together for a cause, and the various slogans all create a cohesive design.

Poster 1 – I immediately fell in love with the donkey and elephant coming together to create peace poster. The marriage of strong concept and beautiful design was certainly inspiring.  With the two sideds in politics there seems to be a split that many mainstream Americans want to bridge.  Few people are hardcore left or right.  Many people tend toward to middle, at least on some issues.  This campaign acknowledges that desire to meet in the middle and work together which many politicians seem to have forgotten.

Poster 2 – The Shepard Fairey poster was also wise. Fairey has a very recognizable style that has been associated with change, hope, and politics.

Poster 3 - I am not a huge fan of the "Cover the Night poster" because the handwriting font is difficult to read (though it is possible it was actually handwritten..Kudos if it was).  I do like the photo.
Zine Cover

Video – So far everyone I have seen bash the campaign does first comment on how well the video was made.

Grass roots – is a big deal right now…with the Occupy movements and other grass roots movements this campaign, though I am assuming it was not planned, took place at the perfect time. The zine and petition work well for the activists out there.

Event – All of this leads up to one event to raise awareness and support with the goal of making a difference.

These are just my current thoughts.  What do you think?  Is this a campaign well done?

Check out some of my KONY art and more of my thoughts on the campaign!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Salon de Refuse: The Morning After

Me with fellow Student Art League (SAL) members. 

The work that was not accepted into the Student Juried Show all goes into what is called the Salon de Refuse. The Salon is hosted and set up by the Student Art League (SAL) at the University of Wyoming. As SAL president, I have put a lot of work into this excellent show (I did have a ton of help and would like to thank everyone who did help). There were around 200 works and right around 90 artists in the show.
I love watching people look at my work 


The opening event and theme for this year is The Morning After, since it will take place the morning after the opening and after party for the juried show.

See more about what Student Art League is doing on WOW's blog and on SAL's Facebook page.

Although The Morning After is no longer up you can still see one of my posters that made it into WOW's current show.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Have Fun and Stay Out of Jail: KONY 2012 Stencil Art

Everybody loves graffiti style stencil art.  Which is why I figured I should create a stencil for the KONY 2012 campaign (see my other KONY art).  You can use the stencil to create posters, t-shirts or to decorate your parents garbage can.

To create your own graffiti style t-shirt using this stencil follow these simple instructions
1. Cut along the outside lines using an x-acto knife.  The negative space in the O's, 0 and P will not show up, but will still read perfectly well.
2. Place a piece of cardboard or old newspaper inside a t-shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding through.
3. Position stencil on fabric and tape the edges.
4. Follow spray paint instructions and paint.

BE CAREFUL not to get the paint on surfaces other than your t-shirt (or whatever object you are painting) and always ask permission before painting.

If you would like to purchase this stencil with my poster pack check out my ETSY shop.  If you would like to create your own go for it.  I used Impact and Adobe Illustrator.  Be sure to photocopy or make several prints if you want to go stencil crazy...As my high school AP English teacher wrote on the board every Friday, "Have Fun and Stay Out of Jail."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

STOP KONY 2012 Posters


There has been a decent amount of controversy over the Invisible Children campaign that has gone viral in the past couple weeks.  I fully support the advocacy campaign to raise awareness about Joseph Kony and the child soldiers in Uganda, Africa.  Invisible Children has been raising awareness about the kidnapping of over 30,000 children who are then forced to become murderers.  Invisible Children have been spreading the word for several years now but finally created a viral campaign.

If any of you would like to plaster these 11x17 posters up the night of April 20 along with the rest of the country, please let me know how many you would like.  I will be selling my illustrated posters for $1 each if you are in Laramie.  If you would like them mailed, just add shipping.  Leave a comment below for more info or head over to my ETSY shop

If you would like to purchase the kit from Invisible Children, check out their link here.

Check out the STOP JOSEPH KONY 2012 video that went viral below

Sharpton: Creating your own Graffiti Tutorial

Reverend Al Sharpton is a significant player in the field of African American religious culture.
Since I have a couple decent photos of this graffiti name drawing, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit about my process of creating my graffiti style letters.


 While I was creating these name drawings,
 I drew several versions for each name both in pencil and in ink. 


I always begin with doodleing some letters and seeing if I can get any to fit together.
Sometimes I will look up graffiti I like or have photographed to see if there are any inspirational graffiti styles or letters that I like.  If I find one, I create a font based on the characteristics of that letter.  The letters(s) I sue for inspiration allow me to create a unique style or font. 

I then continue to work on other letters of the name using a consistent style.
My typography class plays a huge role here. 
I learned about parts of letters such as the x-height, serifs, ascenders, descenders and several more aspects of developing fonts and typefaces.  I know to keep a consistent x-height and I usually drop rounded letters just below the baseline.

Once I decide on the rules I can create most any word I want out of that style.  I think I have created around 7 different graffiti letter styles.

After creating the outline I decide whether I want the text to be 3-D or flat.

The last step is to add a background and value.

See more of my graffiti photographs and inspiration.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Art Goals: March update

Artwork goals

     1. Have a new body of work ready to be submitted to the 234 Gallery.
         i. I would like to have a show (apply for a show) next academic school year in the 234 Gallery.  I have some basic ideas focusing on this subject and have began some posters and sketches of various ideas.
         ii. This body of work will focus on the broad topic of sex trafficking, human trafficking, sex slavery and/or the sex industry.
             a. See Human Trafficking to track my progress
     2. Create at least 5 posters that are not a part of the final trafficking show.
 I have created 2 posters so far.
One in response to Haiti focusing on world water and the other is based on Maya Angelou's poem Phenomenal Woman.
     3. Create at least 5 (total, not counting the flower drawings) posters or other artworks in response to Haiti.
 I have created 1 Haiti artwork and am working on another for my water color class.
     4. Create 25 ink drawings, not involved in an exhibition or another project.  But can be personalized name drawings.
         i. Make 10 social justice related.
         ii. Sell 5.
     5. Create upcycling projects to sell on ETSY.
         i. Post my T-shirt Necklaces or scarves.
         ii. Find maybe two or three other projects (decide how much art should be on ETSY or if I should focus on upcycling).   I am currently thinking that I will create two ETSY shops.  One will focus on my artwork and the organizations that specific pieces go toward and the other will be about upcycling.
        iii. Make an upcycling poster to tie my upcycling to my ay art...or discover another way to more clearly tie the areas together.  Although upcycling could really just be a hobby...
     6. Look into creating greeting cards, prints, and a 2013 calendar with my artwork.
 I made four Valentines Day cards for fun.  I am excited to create more prints.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hot Combs


I drew these hot combs while I was debating whether I wanted to go with African American religious culture or beauty for an overarching theme for my exhibition.  I went with religious culture but do still have some work focusing on beauty issues both from the "Make it Plain" exhibition and other work. 

See more of My Artwork

Body Image or Black is Beautiful
Make it Plain - my art exhibition