What bugs me is when people approach me and ask me why I don’t paint black women. Just because I am of color does not mean I am obligated to paint my race. Most of the time I don’t even paint realistic skin tones so some of those girls in my work are in fact of color. And I have plenty of work I have done using of color women as well as projects dealing with race, lots of my work deals with race and gender. I feel in order to talk about blackness you have to talk about otherness. No one really ever asks me what my art is about or what a specific piece is about they just see it for what the image is rather than even trying to figure out what I am saying. It’s already difficult being a women artist but then being of color and then I think it becomes even more difficult being queer and doing work that I do because I feel like its taken as me drawing/painting naked women because it’s me expressing my sexuality (so I’ve been told). My work doesn’t really have anything to do with my preference of gender, my work is based off of media, and series of personal narratives which depicts what type of women reference I use. I’m not an artist who focuses on african american culture as whole, it comes into my work but it’s not something I will only focus on. Once you have a style in art that is what you are really known for and it puts you in a really hard to escape box. I’m not claiming a style yet I’m not claiming a title as an artist. I won’t call myself a feminist artist, yet…My work does deal a lot with those issues and is similar with other feminist artists but I’m not mature enough as an artist yet to claim that title. Race even gets brought up by my professors. I did a piece on my dad and because I painted him black (not skin tone black but actually black) and other dark hues my professor asked me why if he was the white one in my family. Nothing in that piece was realistic none of the colors and I told him because it wasnt a piece about race I wasn’t focusing on his color. I’m working on a piece currently dealing with me not feeling like I could ever be the women of color who I look up to and admire because of my mix of races forever putting me in this awkward juxtaposition. When I brought this up to my professor who is a white male, proceeded to ask me if for references of women will I be using ebony and or jet magazine. Its comments like those that always rub me the wrong way…like why did that even come out of your mouth
idk I wanted to write more but I think I’ll just end it here
"Are you really black and Jewish?" he asks, slurring his words, pitching forward in an old raggedy armchair my roommate has covered with an equally raggedy white sheet. "How can that be possible?"
Maybe it is his drunkenness, or perhaps he is actually trying to see me, but this boy squints at me then, peering at my nose, my eyes, my hair. I stare back at him for a few moments, eyes flashing with rage, and then take the red knife from his tanned and tapered fingers. As he clutches at the air above him, I hold it back and tell him in a voice I want him to be sure is black that I think he’d better go.
But after he leaves through the (still) unlocked exit door, I sit for quite a while in the dark.
Just sent the most informal letter lol ayeee I don’t even know if I were to get this internship if I could actually afford it… Paying rent in philly and paying for some place to live in Canada, guess I’ll figure it out when I have to.
There are no directions, no guidelines, no pointers, or help tips for the nights were you don’t feel like a human…when you don’t feel like you are whole. I scraped my insides in hopes I would find something in the rubble but there was nothing, there never is. Tennessee Williams once wrote “We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it” On Nights like this I am watching the fire swallow everything, including myself. I wonder if I was ever whole, or if I just came this way and will forever be this way. I don’t want to spend my life searching for whatever it is I’m missing to find out it never existed and this is all made up in my head. That is probably my biggest downfall as an artist, I spend most of my time in my head creating as the world just passes me by.
I decided not to go home for the break due to more important obligations aka art. I wasn’t really bummed about it until I saw all my brothers tweets on how he and my father are cooking thanksgiving dinner for the two of them. We really don’t do holidays, last year was the first time in probably a decade my dad cooked for thanksgiving and that was only because I brought nej, my dubai princess home. My father and brother are great cooks so I missing an epic meal and i’ll miss seeing them eat at the dinning room table which has only been used twice in the last 8 or 9 years living there. I plan to spend most of this break in my studio and in my apartment doing work and now that I have netflix that should kill some time as well