A Poet Among Visual Artists

Matt in Class

By Mark Flanigan
Photo by Hailey Bollinger
CityBeat

Matt Hart sits for an interview with CityBeat in the small café at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he currently serves as associate professor in creative writing and the chair of liberal arts, and from where he will soon embark to Ann Arbor, Mich. for a poetry reading later this evening.

It will mark his 34th such engagement in the two months since the simultaneous release of his two newest poetry collections, Radiant Action (H_NGM_N Books) and Radiant Companion (Monster House Press), the former comprised of one 130-page serial poem. Previously, Hart has published six collections of poetry.

If it all seems like a lot, it is also part of his larger point — his books and their poems are bursting at the seams with vitality. “Your aesthetic is really just the ways that your values are manifested in your work and the choices that you made to get them there,” Hart says. “So, here is one of the things that I value: I value inclusion over exclusion, in the extreme.”

Visibly tired, his hands nonetheless begin to punctuate each sentence by pounding on the table as he continues. “(That) is why I want to try to say everything in every single poem,” he says. “I want the poem to be as big as the world. That value of inclusion comes through in the writing — it’s not that I refuse to edit or rewrite, because I do — but that I want every poem to be as much as it can be and activate possibilities. I am deploying language into the world, rather than employing it to do something in particular.”

Hart’s route to poetry and teaching has been circuitous. Born in 1969 in Evansville, Ind., he grew up there and in the nearby Ohio River town of Newburgh, Ind., until he left to attend Muncie’s Ball State University, where he studied philosophy as an undergrad. Immediately afterward, he went into the master’s program at Ohio University, where he chose to study the 20th-century Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

He didn’t finish his master’s then, but in hindsight learned a crucial lesson from his studies. “Wittgenstein talked about the possibility of language, what it can and can’t do. It’s where I feel I learned that poetry doesn’t have to be true, it only has to be real; poetry doesn’t have to prove anything.”

Before finding poetry as an outlet, Hart had been singing and playing in Punk Rock bands, with some genuine success. Yet, it wasn’t until he took a poetry workshop in the hope that it would make him a better lyricist that his trajectory changed when he witnessed an elder student read aloud “Feeling Fucked Up,” by the late American contemporary poet Etheridge Knight.

Hart quotes the beginning from memory:

“Lord she’s gone done left me done

    packed / up and split

and I with no way to make her

come back and everywhere the world is bare

bright bone white   crystal sand glistens

dope death dead dying and jiving drove

her away made her take her laughter

    and her smiles and her softness and her midnight sighs—”

“I remember thinking, ‘You can do that in a poem?’ ” Hart says. “You can make a big noise with just your voice and your body? The next day I sat down and tried to write a poem for the first time without a prompt, and I’ve pretty much been doing that every day for 30 years. That was a conversion experience.

“I had been playing in bands since I was 15, but I was changed,” he adds. “That’s why I believe in the power of art to connect us, to challenge us, in really generative ways. I was changed in a moment.”

In 1999, six years after moving to Cincinnati and — with Eric Appleby — starting his own publication Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking and Light Industrial Safety, Hart went to the MFA Program for Writers at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College’s, in part because he didn’t feel as if he was a legitimate poet without studying the technical aspects of poetry.

He remembers thinking, “If I go to graduate school in poetry and they tell me that I’m not good, I will quit.”

“And I am so grateful that nobody ever did that,” he says.

Teaching at the Art Academy, Hart communicates an overriding sense of compassion, but one coupled with discernment; more than anything, there was excitement, life and engagement, reminiscent of his recent poems.

In a post-interview email, Hart explains the importance of his class to the Art Academy’s curriculum. “We’re trying to get students to do something wildly unpredictable in accordance with their vision,” he says. “But to do that they have to be able to grasp their vision. Articulating it helps give it shape, makes it a thing to be pushed, expanded, exploded. Articulation provides parameters that one can work with or against, and all art is made via this method.”

There’s an overriding, ultimately contagious, exuberance and passion to all of Hart’s work, whether it’s in his teaching, his writing or just in the way he sits in the Art Academy’s café, preparing for a trip to Ann Arbor.

When asked if he ever finds himself self-conscious about that fact, he pounds on the table and says, “I refuse to live in the darkness of this time. I want for people so badly to have the things that they need. I want us to love each other. I want to be a believer, you know? I don’t have a particular faith, in a religious sense, but I do believe in the human spirit and I am going to write that as hard as I can.” ©

Excerpt from Matt Hart’s serial poem “Radiant Action”

I’m wondering about heaven (as a metaphor,

of course, since I don’t believe in heaven,

but I’d like to) and hoping that someday someone will

recognize themselves in this, and it will be as if

a great blast of electric light came into

whatever darkness they possess, and

     as a result

they will be spurred to their own furtherance,

their own thoughts, the discovery

    of their own

sources of energy, their own new works

with beginnings and endings, entwined

    and entwining,

revealing better than I ever will the history

of this life, what it means to be awkward

     
in awe,

to be human in our time, to love one another

with perfect abandon, with total resolve,

descriptions of descriptions of waves forever

breaking into each other

Father, Son Artists Paint CVG Airport

Live-art-murals-at-CVG

Staff Report
The River City News
A father and son duo are bringing the walls to life at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
Two post-modern pop murals will be completed next Wednesday for travelers to enjoy thanks to a partnership between CVG and Covington-based creative firm BLDG.
Kevin T. Kelly and Jack Kelly have been working on the art at the airport. Kevin, 56, is a graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati and worked in New York City as a studio assistant for pop artist Tom Wesselmann for six years. His son, Jack, 23, graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design and lives in Cincinnati where he works as a freelance commercial artist.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase true performance artists and their pop art to our passengers,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG. “We’re excited for this partnership and to see the end result that will adorn our Customs area in Concourse B to welcome guests to the region.”

Kevin T. Kelly
Kelly’s work is decidedly “Neo-Pop” or “Post-Pop”. Infused with a postmodern sensibility, contemporaneous subject matter, and executed in what the artist refers to as a “hyper-chromatic” palette, the paintings are not only redolent of contemporary issues and politics, but excel as studies in formal definition, composition and color. Allowing for open-ended lines of query and interpretation without the burdensome weight of didactic pretense, Kelly chooses to establish a dialogue with the viewer vis-à-vis the painted image rather than wag his finger sanctimoniously from an ivory tower like so much “Activist Art” does today. The work has been described as: “Roy Lichtenstein meets Dennis
Hopper on Steroids.” It’s a wry, complex admixture of sardonic social commentary, the six o’clock news and the Sunday funnies.
He currently lives and works in the Greater Cincinnati area. His paintings have appeared on the cover of New American Paintings in 2000 and 2003. His work is featured in numerous public and private collections both in the United States and abroad, including Breitling S.A., The Kinsey Institute and Procter and Gamble. In addition to having taught as an adjunct professor at The Art Academy of Cincinnati and the Baker-Hunt Foundation in Covington, KY, he has also written critical review for Cincinnati CityBeat, Dialogue magazine, New Art Examiner and AEQAI.

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly, born in New York City in 1993, recently graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design with his B.F.A in Illustration and a minor in Fine Art. He has recently moved back to the Greater Cincinnati area where he has been working as a freelance commercial artist.
Jack’s work bridges the gap between many diverse media ranging from motion graphics, to pattern and textile design, to illustrative graphic posters and apparel design. His visual style incorporates the fundamental skills of draftsmanship, strong composition and graphic reduction with an emphasis on utilizing limited palettes. His working methodology has developed from his interest in commercial illustration and traditional printmaking techniques such as silkscreen and intaglio.

The Carnegie showcases a massive survey of stripped-down style from Edie Harper and Tony Dotson

EdieHarper
By Kathy Swartz
CityBeat

The Carnegie is currently presenting two solo exhibits, each to give a deserving Cincinnati artist time alone in the spotlight. But sometimes 1 + 1 = 3. By pairing Tony Dotson with the late Edie Harper, exhibitions director Matt Distel has created a super-sized — and super-enjoyable — look at stripped-down visual language, with more than 300 examples in all.

For the first time, Harper — so often referred to as “the wife of Charley Harper,” the Midcentury Modernist known for his geometric paintings of wildlife — is receiving a solo retrospective of her diverse career. Who knew that she was not only a painter, illustrator and photographer, but also that she mastered sculpture, enameling and weaving?

Harper, who passed away in 2010 at age 87, had been featured alongside Charley, who died in 2007, in major shows at the Contemporary Arts Center and Cincinnati Art Museum. She also received smaller solo exhibitions during her life. But E is for Edie: An Edith McKee Harper Retrospective encompasses a half-century of work, dating to her student days in the early 1940s at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. 

Dotson, whose cartoon-like folk art is familiar to Carnegie audiences from The Art of Food extravaganzas, created 50 new works for his first solo show in four years. “I wanted to set him free from a theme and let him express the insanity happening in his head,” Distel joked during a preview tour. 

Though Harper and Dotson are separated by generations and tone, the prolific Cincinnati artists share an affinity for basic shapes and childhood memories. “Both practice deceptively straight-forward image-making,” Distel said, “but to different ends.” 

Dotson’s exhibit is titled An American Outsider. The 45-year-old is a self-taught painter who combines recognizable pop-culture icons with biting social commentary about racism and myths we’re fed as kids. His materials are junked wood and house paint.

Dotson’s depiction of a Disney cruise ship is a full-steam-ahead assault against “The Wonderful World of Stereotypes” seen in the studio’s early cartoons and WWII propaganda films. White folks, represented by smiling circles in the shade that Crayola used to call “flesh,” enjoy the nice view on the deck, while Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans and American Indians are packed in steerage. Walt Disney has been frozen and tossed overboard.

“I do not play by the rules,” Dotson said during a gallery talk at the opening. “I see things through a 6-year-old’s eyes and put my spin on them. I paint like a child that’s been warped.” 

In Dotson’s version of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred and Captain Kangaroo string up that interloper Barney the dinosaur.

Though Dotson built a towering, 20-foot sculpture of King Kong and the Empire State Building under the Carnegie’s rotunda, Distel does just manage to contain Dotson’s impishness downstairs, reserving the upper galleries for Harper. Even so, visitors can’t consider one artist without thinking about the other. 

“I could have been one of her kids,” Dotson remarked, as he compared their minimalist styles. 

Harper (who was the mother of another local artist, Brett Harper) was focused on form but inspired by sweeter subjects — like nature, her cats and family gatherings. Yet she also took a tongue-in-cheek approach to everyday themes and even the Bible, with fun titles like “Super Supper” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Moses?” 

Arranged chronologically and by subject, the Harper exhibit reveals an inquisitive artist with a sense of whimsy — one who freely moved from one medium to the next in order to grow creatively. In a 1947 self-portrait hung at the entrance to the show, she crosses her freckled arms, smirks and cocks her head as if to say, “I’m really too busy to sit still for a painting.”   

While at the Art Academy, Harper demonstrated she was a skilled at Cubism and Surrealism, painting portraits with alien faces. Once she settled into her sparse Midcentury Modern style, she applied that lens to any medium or subject.  

During World War II, while her beloved Charley was overseas, Harper was using an actual lens as a photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers in Cincinnati. The “dullsville” job meant taking pictures of experiments with soil, concrete and airplanes, but she also created fine art by focusing her camera on the same kinds of lines, shapes and patterns that she already was painting on canvas. She received a solo show of her photographs in 1961 at the Contemporary Arts Center. 

Formalism was her overriding approach to seeing the world. In one upstairs gallery, Distel marveled at a square weaving with an open circle in the center as being “unmistakably Edie.” 

When she took “a new look at the Old Book,” as one section of the exhibit is called, Harper wasn’t motivated by religion but an opportunity to create interesting modernist visuals using the Bible’s narrative. As the work was being installed, Dotson especially envied Harper’s sparse geometric paintings depicting the Apostles. 

“I made a Last Supper for Art of Food that I thought was as simplified as you could get,” Dotson said. “She did 12 circles and some lines and blew me away!” 

Both solo exhibits were blowing people away on opening night. According to Distel, this is the most art The Carnegie has shown at once in a long time. And for Harper, one more huge display could be ahead. 

ArtWorks, which honored Charley Harper with a downtown public mural in 2012, says it hopes to add Edie to its 2017 portfolio. But now that The Carnegie has revealed how broad her talent was, will the side of one building be big enough?  


AN AMERICAN OUTSIDER and E IS FOR EDIE continue through Feb. 11 at The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky. More info: thecarnegie.com.

“The Orient – Expressed”

dianamarra

By Pamela Dillon – Contributing Writer
Dayton Daily News

Be inspired by the simplicity of Asian beauty when you view a series of four by Diana Marra: Serenity Series, Sumi-e Series, Elements Series, and Designer Series at the Middletown Fine Arts Center. Also included with the four collections are smaller works and notecards.

“The Orchid and the Butterfly” is an example from her Serenity Series. Her watercolor on rice paper is mostly untouched, with the elegant lines of the orchid leaves enhanced by a beautiful butterfly flitting among the delegate golden petals.

“When I first started my business In 2011, I visited art fairs … and noticed too many mixtures of design color, and framing. I wanted a more unified and contemporary twist on the ancient art form of Chinese brush painting,” said Marra, a Cincinnati resident. “The simplicity of brushstrokes and design … gives one a feeling of peace and tranquility.”

Marra was able to follow her lifelong dream of becoming an artist when she retired from Formica in 2008. The former global product manager started studying brush painting at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She has also studied art techniques with Karl Feng in Montgomery, Ohio, and Ning Yeh in China.

“Happy Dragon” depicts a work in her Sumi-e Series. With the single color of black, Marra is able to make her subject come alive. The ebony of the dragon’s back spikes and long claws make a nice contrast to the lighter touch of the scales. One almost senses the dragon will jump off the paper.

“Centuries ago, this art form was created with tones of ink on rice paper. I wanted to honor the tradition and create some works with only ink, and the absence of color,” said Marra.

Her Elements series were tucked in among the others, as MAC had four large walls for her to use. The series was a collection of abstracted small studies, not final artworks. The title of this series was a grinning nod to her very first concert, Earth, Wind, and Fire.

“I found I wanted to hang the show with less art/more wall space, and kind of blurred my delineations of each series,” said Marra. “Combining basic elements with Feng Shui; I wanted to create the five elements with Earth-Wind-Fire-Metal-Water as a theme.”

The Designer Series was a practical use of color, design, and contemporary trends.

Some in the series use splashes of brilliant trending colors of national brands, like Sherwin Williams. “Golden Floralbunda,” a work reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe’s macro florals, is an example of this.

“Oftentimes I was giving the client that which they did not even realize they needed,” said Marra. “The utilization of Asian materials, various rice papers, are used to create a collage of materials, more so than an actual painting. As I love to do custom works, bits of memorabilia from the client could easily be included in these collages.”

Four of her paintings now showing at MAC will be exhibited at the Atrium Medical Center in Middletown directly after the exhibit. Besides working in her studio, she continues teaching art and has recently completed a Japanese Garden “to support her aesthetic.”


CPS My Tomorrow Vision 20/20 Partners with AAC

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The Community Education Department of the Art Academy of Cincinnati is busy administering a new artistic programming at Chase Elementary and Woodford Paideia Academy schools as part of the CPS My Tomorrow Vision 20/20 plan.

“CPS is pleased to partner with the Art Academy of Cincinnati to enhance and expand arts integration in these two elementary schools.  We value their history and tradition of providing exceptional artistic training to students of all ages,” says Dr. Isidore Rudnick, who led this artistic initiative through My Tomorrow, a multifaceted program that is rolling out and expanding throughout Cincinnati Public Schools.  “The Arts & Culture Programs at Chase and Woodford Paideia focus on educating the whole child through a broad range of academic and artistic opportunities including field study days at The Art Academy.

A driving force behind the CPS My Tomorrow program is preparing students for life by developing the 21st century skills required for success in virtually every profession.  These skills are rooted in critical and creative-thinking abilities. Visual arts disciplines foster these important skills as students combine and apply artistic and intellectual disciplines to imagine, create, realize, and refine new solutions in conventional and innovative ways. The Arts & Culture Program features an integrated and dynamic curriculum that includes residencies with some of Cincinnati’s most respected artists, world culture studies, and music and dance classes.

“For nearly 25 years, the Art Academy has supported and strengthened local elementary, junior high and high schools with in-the-classroom art classes, after-school art programs, summertime art camps, and programs offered throughout Greater Cincinnati, throughout the entire year.  To solidify this relationship with a contract signifies that both parties recognize the ongoing value of intentional art integration to enhance the student learning experience,” says John Sullivan, president of Art Academy of Cincinnati.

The CPS-AAC Partnership came to life on December 8th when students, parents, teachers and artists came together for conversation, exhibition, and music at Chase Elementary Family Night at the Art Academy.

Sandy Russell – Breaking Down Walls

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“Breaking Down Walls”
Photo by Sandy Russell
Written by Doug Geyer

When Nicéphore Niépce captured a view of his estate in eastern France with his camera obscura in 1826, photos have been capturing our hearts and minds ever since.

Whether via film or chip, there’s something magical in arresting and holding moments of history both sweeping and grand as well as personal and pedestrian. Goggled explorers encircled by wisps of snow on the summit of Everest and our neighbor’s dapper snowman.
One giant leap for mankind or tiny feet taking their first, small steps.

The ability to bend light to our will is only part of the power. It’s in the viewing and sharing of those frozen images that the photographer transports themselves and others through time and space, connecting us to places we’ve never been, people we’ll never meet, and events we should never forget. We experience both the heartrending and heartwarming through images mimicking passports, held in our hands or framed on a wall.

But as anyone who’s ever clicked a shutter or tapped a screen knows, it’s all too easy to lose those moments in basement boxes, shelved scrapbooks, and archived JPEGs. Bringing photos back into the light takes intention. Sharing them takes passion.

426 Raw Walls 2 brought both intention and passion together and a dedicated artist’s photos into the light. But what happened on the evening of October 7, in a raw warehouse on Findlay Street goes beyond an Alumni Association fundraiser and to the heart of what the AAC is all about.

“To create and sustain radical, forward-thinking, contemporary visual artists and designers whose creative contributions make a substantial difference in all the lives they touch.”

A friendship that started at the AAC between two, non-traditional students is part of why that mission statement is more than words on a website.

Sandy Russell (BFA ‘02) and Jennifer Grote (BFA ‘03), were slightly and more than slightly older than the typical student. At 44, Jennifer followed her dream of being an artist while still working as a nurse. She and her grown children were in school at the same time after she accepted a scholarship to the AAC. At 25, Sandy felt an instant kinship with Jennifer when they first met. Their ongoing relationship, in tandem with this Alumni Association opportunity, would ultimately inspire Sandy to reconnect with over a decade of photos inspired by the events of September 11, 2001.
Sandy already had a trip planned to New York City as part of an AAC student group. As the reality of what transpired at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and that isolated field in Shanksville, reverberated around the globe, she didn’t change her plans just her senior thesis. She wanted to chronicle the wave of patriotism that was swelling up in response to the now tangible threat of terrorism. Heading out pre-GPS, without a place to stay, Sandy embarked on a trip that would evolve into an annual pilgrimage. She was driven by a desire to document all the various ways people from various backgrounds, nationalities, and races were coming together in a rare display of solidarity. Year after year, mile after mile, and roll after roll, she kept her vision in focus.

And life happened.

She got married, had children, a full time job. But she kept traveling on her own dime with limited time. Going to the same spots the same time each year but meeting and engaging with new and different people and fellow pilgrims. First responders, military veterans, families, citizens, protesters, humans.

The sites changed and evolved as well. “The Pit” was slowly and respectfully transformed into “Reflecting Absence” – a memorial of trees and twin fountains perpetually flowing into twin pools. The names of all 2,977 victims, as well as the six who died during the bombing of 1993, inscribed on bronze panels forged around the perimeters. The memorial at the Pentagon came to life over time to honor the 184 who perished there. And the smoldering scar in the Pennsylvania field grew into the Flight 93 National Memorial to remember the 40 who gave their lives to save countless others.

Sandy saw it all through the years but didn’t always see her photos.

“The last two years that I went, I took the pictures, downloaded them on the computer… and I never even looked at them.”

It was Jennifer’s encouragement as they worked together to organize this year’s Raw Walls event that empowered Sandy to pull together her work and display it for the very first time. And not just a few chosen for framing but over 500 5×7’s. Even still, a fraction of all the moments she’d captured.

“She planted the seed. She really did. I’m sure she knew the possibilities before I did.”

While walls were constructed in the donated space for AAC artists to exhibit their art, walls were also broken down. No budget walls, no space and no audience walls, busy life walls. Walls that can typically inhibit and discourage artists from displaying their work and audiences being moved by it.

“To create and sustain… artist and designers… make a substantial difference in all the lives they touch.”

Sandy remembers on the night of the show how many were drawn into the world of her photos. And how many needed to step back and momentarily away, touched and moved as they were.

Though Sandy hasn’t been able to travel to the trinity of hallowed spots since 2013, her annual pilgrimage hasn’t stopped – it simply got shorter and more local. And she has brought along a very special helper. Her oldest son John, who was a second grader in 2013, has been coming with her each year.

“On September 11, 2013, after visiting several firehouses, we were at the station on Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine. As I was telling my stories, John was finishing my sentences for me. It showed me how much he was listening and how much he’d learned that day. He has learned so much about me as a person, as an artist, and about 9/11. More than he would have otherwise ever known.”

These moments with John are ones Sandy will never forget. And thanks to her dedication as an artist and the support of the AAC family, her photos and what they captured won’t be easily forgotten either.

(read Sandy’s overview of 426 Raw Walls 2 on the Alumni Association page)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DJ Gathers – Make it Inescapable

DJGathers

“Make it Inescapable”
Written by Doug Geyer

Most artists, like many who express themselves creatively, desire to share their work. To engage, inspire, and provoke others outside of themselves. To have a captive audience.

Darrin Gathers is no different.

Yet for this junior from Madisonville, he is driven by something deeper than the personal satisfaction of knowing his art is seen and appreciated, perhaps even purchased. DJ has something to say. But venting via Facebook, though common for his social media saturated generation, is not the medium he chooses. His anger will not be quelled, his vision not realized, by a posting here or a tweet there. As a young, biracial man growing up and into a world filled and fuming with social injustice, he has a singular goal for proclaiming that black lives matter through his art.

“Even though I’m a part of the first generation to grow up with social media, I don’t want to just talk about it on Facebook. With everything that’s been happening around the country, through my art, I want to make the message of Black Lives Matter inescapable.”

His dedication to offer his voice to those who are often unheard coupled with countless hours in his studio bears witness to why he was one of two students chosen for the New York Studio Residency Program. As a charter member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the AAC participates in the consortium’s annual program to give art students from around the country an opportunity to taste the Big Apple for themselves. To listen to and learn from other artists while discovering how they will make art that makes a difference.

But DJ’s passion wasn’t always so clearly professed or understood. With only two months left in his senior year of high school, he was preparing for a life of fighting fires and saving lives. It took a nudge from his mother to visit the AAC to help him realize there was no fire burning in his heart to be a professional firefighter. Once he saw the studios, envisioned having one of his own, a spark found ready tinder and he decided to change course.

“I didn’t want to just do something to earn a steady paycheck. I’d rather care about what I do.”

Like Ryan Khosla, a friend and fellow Residency recipient, DJ was drawn to the world of art while skateboarding and tagging in high school. Though at the time he didn’t envision himself moving beyond listening to hip hop, spray painting and simply enjoying the work of artists like Shepard Fairey, he was beginning to explore a world where he would ultimately become a contributor, an agent of change.

His time in New York this fall has fueled this ongoing exploration via the vast physical urbanscape itself and the inner world where his love for screen printing and collage has expanded exponentially.

DJ has also felt empowered by his mentor Oasa DuVerney. Oasa is a Brooklyn-based artist who often uses graphite and ink on paper as well as video to address social inequalities in the context of race, gender, and class.

“I’m impressed with DJ’s interest in creating work that has relevance outside of this very small art world, in spite of a less than supportive society that typically is not interested in art that is critical of the oppressive, white patriarchy that it upholds. It’s my hope that he continues to explore his voice and experience through art making because it is important and should be heard.”

To create a collage, an artist brings together various elements from different sources to give birth to a new, unified piece. Visuals that don’t typically reside in the same space somehow working as one to bring forth something of value because essentially they are different yet together. Screen printing relies on pressure applied by a hand guiding a fill blade or squeegee to push ink through a screen, persuading it through spaces it needs help to navigate.

Perhaps in the heart and hands of DJ, there are answers not only artistically but socially. Answers which are capable of bringing together people which aren’t typically residing in the same space. Birthing solutions both new and essential, applying the right kind of pressure to leave a memorable and lasting impression. Saving lives by starting constructive fires in the hearts of others eager to see equality for all.

Providing a way out through art that is inescapable.