My origin as an artist began with a knife. Stabbed at the age of 10 at church, pain and anger plagued me until I discovered drawing portraits. Art making became my solace and brought me joy. I became fascinated with painting figures and their extraordinary ability to convey complex personal narratives of race and gender.
Over time, painting figures helped me to develop a deeper understanding of color, empathy and storytelling. Like many African-American artists, I paint from my experiences and trauma society places on me. However, using bold colors to capture my subjects, I experiment with both surrealism and realism in my art making. I seek to reveal their joy, triumph, struggle and anguish in a narrative that my audience can feel.
However demonstrating empathy for my subject matter is more than an artistic convention. It is my vehicle for connection, educating others and sharing my experience as a Black man. Developing authentic empathy, I have found is like walking to the edge of darkness and then summoning the courage to take one more step to understand what lies beyond our differences. These steps are necessary to overcome bigotry, hatred and indifference.