The Black DaVinci

Posted on: December 9, 2018
Views: 1148


Based on the poem of James Weldon Johnson and the trials and tribulations of Augusta Savage, Lift Every Voice is my most ambitious series to date and dedicated to the strong joyous black women in my life. While I find that traditional methods of painting- figurative and portraiture- best speaks to the soul and depict real life experiences, I have also spent the last decade perfecting the art of dynamic storytelling through creating and illustrating comic books. What better way to tell a story than by constructing a canvas similar to a comic book panel? This serious will include traditional canvases and my acquired objects .
Instead of just displaying my art on a wall in normal traditional form. I want to give my audience a new way of experimenting and viewing my art. By inserting a new method in my practice, I will be adding an extra dimension to transform the perception of a space.

christopher williams

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MFA Student

Major: Painting

Graduation Year: 2020

Artist Statement:

At the young age of 10, art became my only catalyst as a form of therapy when I was stabbed in my left hand at church. The seven inch knife that severed my tendons was my early introduction to the world of art. Shadowed by the pain and anger, I developed a love for color which in turn brought joy in my life. My subjects include family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and myself. Empathy in portraiture to me is much more than an artistic convention of a realistic painter. I started to create my own mythology from history, inserting the black body in context defining new ways of introducing primary colors. I paint these visual symbiosis and its correlation to race by carefully studying one’s skin tone. I spend time deconstructing a complex hue to its basic formula. I love to enhance the fierceness and detail of the eyes in portraits, because the eyes are the windows to the soul. My observations leads to a emphasis on surrealism and realism.
By blending my figurative and folklore work with fantasy and pattern. It is my constant goal to portray color with a realistic narrative that you can feel. I let the pain in my hand that’s present from my childhood dictate the colors I will use. Often the color is blue, but at times varies with spectrum of intensity. Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolize trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. For example, my painting titled “African Gothic,” the heroine is a weather goddess with a cloud afro. I have her hands reaching for the heavens, guiding the viewer to use their imagination on what she is calling upon. The red back ground enhances her purple skin, is a very emotionally intense color. Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.
Just like the knife that carved my creativity, art is a double-edged sword. If you don't respect your weapon, you can damage yourself and others. My art's purpose is to be uplifting, colorful and tell a story. As an artist, I take on the responsibility to paint these various subject matters by bridging the gap between culture and race. Empathy has inspired me to continue to use bright primary colors to express my stories, thus deepening my practice by researching the meaning of color as it pertains to other cultures. I am applying for graduate study to further my education and progress as an artist. I see myself in seven years teaching new students advancing their artistic talents.