Friday, July 31, 2015

Educating Illinois, too

The University included a profile of me and my work in the strategic plan progress report. Cool. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jonathan and Nate Join the (In)Visible Men

I'm amazed at how fast this work went. I started June 10, 2015 and finished five and a half weeks later. I have no recollection of the time spent and the pics of the process is the only evidence. All that remains is erasing stray pencil marks, signing, and varnishing.

I love the tension in the space between Jonathan and Nate. Here are the pis that show how this piece developed.

Artist Talk at the Foster Gallery, First United Methodist Church in Peoria

The artist talk was a wonderful engagement for the church congregation and friends in attendance. Robert Braswell, one of the models attended and participated as well as former student Lester Hudson and his family.  My good friend Erin Thomas and her family also attended as well as Bradley English faculty Dr. Jeannie Muzzillo. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All That's Left is Pants

Second layer of base paint applied and vacation is about to interfere with completing this next week, ugh!

Peoria is Seeing Black Men

(In)Visible Men opened in Peoria this week. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Nate continue to get close to completion. 

Here is a pic of the Sunday Arts section of the Peoria Journal Star.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Alone With Three Giants

There is something exciting about seeing a figure emerge from a canvas. Jonathan's head was first to be completed. I love the espresso colors of his skin and the look of defiant indifference in his face. When I invited him to pose he emerged from his apartment looking as if I'd just woke him up. Nate on the other hand had been eager to be included in the series and is here for the summer working the Shakespeare Festival. He is a gifted actor having performed a spoken word piece at the Milner Library exhibit in February.  When he rehearsed the work in my office I was amazed at his emotional delivery. I probably confuse my colleagues when students who major in performance arts come to my office and I invite them to demonstrate their craft.  

Without a deadline I'm free to work on this piece at my own pace. Yesterday I spent the evening painting Nate's shirt and touching up his arms. I don't remember talking once I entered my apartment for the evening after work so painting allows me to be alone with my thoughts and The John Coltrane station on Pandora. 

Ironic update...Jonathan just dropped by my office to say hello. He's working in the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the building. He was smiling as he asked about the painting and happily mentioned Nate's addition to the piece. Jonathan is a good student.

Update part 2...Jonathan stopped in again at the end of his shift and we chatted longer. I learned he lives in a dangerous part of the southside Chicago with his mother. He's an only child and said he never ventures out at night for fear of getting shot. College is his escape and he seems eager to bond with positive male role models and wants to be one. He met Nate when he arrived on campus and Nate introduced him to My Brotha's Keeper, the organization I advise and how our paths crossed. He said Nate is is mentor, wise choice.