#3 - HE SAY, SHE SAY
It's been a while! But I'm back. For this post, we’ll look at two pieces. One I made in 2012, the other in 2019. Let’s start with the piece from 2012.
I started this portrait a few months after the pieces I showed last week. It was September 2012, I had just graduated college, and had no idea what I was going to do with my life or career. I went directly from high school into a 4 year university - so 16 years straight in the education system. I was used to having a schedule, being disciplined and responsible. Even as an art student I had multiple projects assigned on a weekly basis and was expected to turn everything in on time.
When I graduated, I was left with more questions than answers about my future as an artist, and my future in general. Even though living in the real world was disorienting, it was exciting. I was 22 years old and had the time and freedom I always wanted. I was still listening to a lot of hip hop, and still anti-mainstream - with the exception of a not-so-underground rapper I had listened to since high school.
Lupe Fiasco, the subject of this portrait, was the MAN in my opinion. I wasn’t really into his commercial hits - but everything else was gold to me. Even though I wasn’t in college, I still wanted to continue my practice as an artist and develop my skills. In an effort to “keep things simple”, I decided to focus on one word to make the image. “HOPE” seemed like the best word to use. For me, Lupe was that one MC that comes out every so often that brings back the values of the golden age of hip hop. He didn’t have to use profanity, and was an amazing storyteller. This piece took me about 6 months to finish.
Fast forward to September 2019 - I had just turned 29, and definitely not like the kid fresh out of college I was 7 years ago. Between this time I had travelled throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe (mostly by myself), took on a bunch of different jobs, changed hairstyles, made new friends, lived on my own, and went through some break ups. In August 2019, I had a breakup that made me lose all faith in men. I had never experienced the level of anger I had after that relationship. Anger towards my ex, but more with myself for not “seeing things” only until the fog of the relationship had lifted. Up until this time I thought of myself as pretty strong willed and not one to put up with any bullshit, but after that relationship I felt helpless.
The older I get, the more I find myself seeking out the comfort from other women to help me through hard times - which is exactly what I did after that break up. I had never felt more connected to the females in my life until then. More so, I was connected to female artists who helped me pick up the pieces of my former self. Leading to this second piece of female rapper Rapsody.
I had never heard Rapsody’s music until August 2019. From the first song I heard, I was blown away. I played her album Eve on repeat for months, and slowly but surely built my confidence back up. This portrait is actually small (about the size of a half sheet of paper) but means more to me than any other piece I’ve made so far.