"Fire Frequency" (June 2020)
This week was a reflection of all the seeds I have planted over the last three years coming to harvest. This image represents the little me, growing into a higher me. This past week there were moments where I was in such a place of joy and disbelief with how far I have come, that I felt like I was vibrating. "Fire Frequency" is a visual representation of that feeling.
"Shedding Skin" (October 2020)
This past week was a complete blur. With an exhibit opening this past Friday, I have been even busier than usual. When things slowed down this weekend, I felt many of my feelings that had been buried, finally caught up with me.
This weekend, with my girlfriend out of town and my big project completed, I was left to deal with a flood of unresolved emotions. Emotions like the guilt I carry for feeling I’m not doing enough for my mother, fears I have around letting go of control, accepting help, and trusting loved ones' intentions. It wasn’t until my impromptu meeting with my therapist on Sunday, I was reminded that to move forward with peace in my heart, I have to let go of the weight I am carrying.
"Shedding Skin" is not only about the shedding you must do as an individual who grows, but also the shedding that is required to join lives with another. Romantic relationships will oftentimes show you things about yourself that platonic relationships simply can not. If you’re putting the real work in, they will force you to let go of the old things within you, that no longer serve you so that the two of you can grow.
I chose the primary colors of red and blue on the right and the left because when combined they make purple. Purple, in this work symbolizing spirituality, the subconscious, and magic. The energy to the right and left in this painting are fading as the energies in the center break free of their old skin and grow into something new.
"Push Through" (September 2020 )
This week’s Moody Monday is a reflection of me taking the time to feel the events of the world on my shoulders.
This week I just hadn't been feeling right. I couldn’t find the words to explain how I felt because everything had been going really great. I even feel like I’m finding a good balance between my 9-5, my business, and my relationships. When I’m feeling down and can't figure out why, my go-to thing to do is to work out and meditate. On Thursday evening after my workout and meditation, I turned on a podcast that I don’t listen to often but it was right on time this week. The host was looking back on all the loss and injustice the world has experienced this year and I began to cry, a well overdue cry. It was such a release and it felt like I had finally tapped into what was weighing on me. Once I got to the source of the feeling I was able to release it by taking the time to feel the pain and loss around us.
The blue in "Push Through" depicts feeling the weight of the year on my shoulders and especially feeling it this week. It also represents the tears that allowed me to release those feelings. The orange represents energy and movement. This energy and movement push into the green that represents growth. This bottom portion depicts how even through the weight above, I still have to push through for continued growth.
This week I am honoring my feelings, mourning the loss in my community, and pushing forward because that’s all you can do.
"Vocal" (November 2020)
Last week I found myself speaking out a great deal, some of which were important and productive and some of which were unkind and destructive.
I was most proud this past week when advocating for myself in ways I hate I even have to. For the first time in my life, I experienced what I can only describe as unconscious bias in the health care system. It's pretty scary to put your health in the hands of doctors in an area where you have no expertise and trust them to ensure they are acting in your best interest. Even scarier is when you know something isn’t right and saying so is met with pushback. Only to find out your suspicions were right all along.
I was most ashamed this past week when I talked way more than I listened, causing me to fail to understand something that could have been very simple. My unwillingness to listen caused what could have been a minor argument into something lasting much longer than needed with the woman I love.
This week, I am reminded of the power in words and to wield them with great intention. This week I remember to use my voice to stand up for myself and people who can not advocate for themselves. I will remember to listen more than I speak and when I do talk, to ensure my words are presented not only with good intentions but with love and care in mind.
"The Break" (August 2020)
These last three to four weeks have been rough for me, but now I’m finally feeling like there was a break in my sad mood. Last weekend my girlfriend surprised me with a weekend getaway to Chicago, which was more than needed. This week I was also able to tackle every item on my to-do list, leaving time for me to create more and put together Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center's digital community gallery.
While driving home from Chicago, after it had been raining on and off all day, there was a beautiful break in the clouds that captured not only my eye but summarized my feelings for these past two weeks. "The Break" is an impressionist depiction of the sun breaking through the clouds that day.
This week I am thankful for the time I took to have a break from it all. I’m reminded to stay strong through the hard days because brighter ones are always ahead.
"Life Cycles" (August 2020)
This week, like the last few, was a hard one for me as I prepare to put some support in place for my parents. I'm not one to reach out for support, especially with this situation because this isn’t something that a talk can solve. I was reminded that although others can’t resolve your problems, it is okay to reach out to talk. I received that support from my best friend and my girlfriend. Me reaching out to my friend and telling her what I needed, was new and humbling for me. Like the great friend that she is, she came through for a great walk and talk at the park.
The top half of "Life Cycles" depicts a dreary day, which mirrors my continued feelings. The yellow built-up with thick textured paint represents my support system holding back the dreary day. The two partial circles represent both I and my mother. I am light pink (pink representing something young/fresh) and green being my mother (something that is grown and reached maturity). Although not fully formed the pink circle grows larger as it prepares to take over for the green, and the green begins to recoil. Each circle with a hint of one another’s color as my mother regresses and I mature. Lastly, at the center is a crying eye, whose tears, even with support, still fall.
This week I am reminded, that with the right people in your life, there is support within humility. I will remember to ask for what I need from the people in my life and allow them to support me when I need it.
“Chalice Runneth Over ” (July 2020)
This week's painting reflects how full my cup is and how the universe continues to provide for me abundantly. "Chalice Runneth Over" is primarily inspired by my amazing black art speaks crew! I normally hate group texts but this group keeps me fueled up! All day we texted about any and everything art-related. I get off work and am immediately inspired to get into my studio! I’m so happy to have found a community of multi-talented BLACK artists!
This work is also inspired by being able to recharge and reconnect this week! This weekend my girlfriend and I spent time with two married couples and shared stories of love and commitment that warmed my heart.
The chalice (cup) is traditionally a symbol of family and tradition. I am inspired by the family I am creating and cultivating in both my artistic and personal life. These cool blue waves represent these cool-ass humans that continuously fill me up!
This week I am grateful for the people in my life that keep me motivated and energetically full. I am also reminded to take time for myself and to fill ME up as well.
"An Absolute Mess" (September 2020)
The last thing I wanted to do is come back with another low mood, but I’ve committed to being honest and vulnerable and this is exactly what this is. I also know that I’m not the only one who has been processing heavy shit and may need to hear they’re not alone.
This past week I visited my mom to continue to aid in her care. It’s hard watching her change but when I see her I have to put on a brave face for her and it’s really hard. I attempted to share some of my Moody Mondays about her and had to leave the room to hold back tears, reading what I wrote and watching her struggle to make it through a sentence, was too much to handle. I also made some time to spend with my dad this week, who shared with me that he too is experiencing early symptoms of dementia.
Somehow I managed to keep all of my feelings relatively well managed until Marché asked me when I came home, “how are you?” And I let it all go in a long and loud cry. I know God never gives you more than you can handle….but damn!
The built-up, primary color of blue in "An Absolute Mess" represents my continued blue mood. The built-up paint itself represents the weight of this on my mental, physical, and spiritual being. The splashes of bright color depict that even in sadness, there are moments of joy, and those can’t be overlooked. The sections of the painting that have been scraped away represent moments of clarity while the majority of the work is cloudy and mixed up.
This week, I’m just hanging on…
"STOP! I've Lost Count!" (July 2020)
"STOP! I've Lost Count" is dedicated to Elijah McClain and all the other black men and women who have lost their lives at the hands of white supremacists and the police.
I was almost brought to tears as I dripped the red paint over the white letters. I’m so tired of opening up my phone only to read about another unjust killing of a Black person. I have no other words for the sadness I feel. All I can do is put these feelings on the canvas.
This week I ask, how many more Black lives must be lost before they realize our lives matter.
"The Calm AND The Storm" (June 2020)
This week's painting reflects on the feeling of being all over the place! Last week I started a new job while really working to be on top of the “business” side of my art (accounting, sourcing new suppliers, managing social media, etc.) Additionally, I’m working to manage my personal life by dedicating quality time to my relationship and pouring into friendships. Each circle represents the juggling of multiple tasks and each line coming from them represents feeling pulled in multiple directions.
The colors are representations of what feeling all over the place looks like to me. The blue signifies the calm and peace I feel being able to juggle all of these things, doing what I love, and finding success in it. The coral/red express the innate frustration/ “storm” that can be caused when you feel like you can’t give your full attention to any one thing.
This week I am reminded that life is a balancing act and that I must make time for not only the business part of life but also life’s pleasures, neither one in excess, to live the most fulfilled life!
"Compartmentalization" (July 2020)
This week's painting reflects how I have, for better or for worse, been utilizing compartmentalization to execute on all levels. Although we all do it, and it helps us function when we can’t make sense of the world around us, I often wonder when we close the door on unfinished emotions or tasks, are we giving our best? Are we dealing? Are we healing?
This weekend Ché and I talked about how saying yes to one thing is also saying no to another. As I continue to take on opportunities, I can’t forget that saying yes, means that I am also saying no to equally important things in my life. The “no’s” have included sleep, healthy eating, working out, and time with my family, partner, and friends.
I used red on all the open doors to represent all the beautiful doors of opportunity that have opened for me. I chose to paint all the other doors in cooler blues, greens, and yellows to emphasize that although the cooler doors aren’t as flashy, they are just as important and draw you in with their unique design and color.
This week I am reminded that it is for our own survival to be able to compartmentalize, but true balance is achieved when one returns to the closed doors to address what's inside. Put it on your calendar, pick up the phone and call it, cry over it. Whatever it is you may be avoiding, address it head-on. BUT only as you have the capacity to do so.
"Peace and Flow" (September 2020)
After many weeks, I found myself at real peace. Monday I took some time to care for my mental health by sleeping in, spending quality time with my lady, and painting. I have also been working this past week to get more rest and have found myself waking up before my alarm goes off and moving through the day with mental clarity. This past week I also spent time working on the exhibit I am curating in partnership with Elementz Hip Hop titled: COVIsion-19. This exhibit explores Over The Rhine through the eyes of the youth and their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As we work to pull the final pieces of the show together everything is falling in place and I am so excited for the opening this Friday! Things have been moving in such flow this week and I am thankful for each moment of peace I’ve enjoyed.
With this week’s abstract, I wanted to depict one of the most peaceful moments in a day. There is something so warm and peaceful about a pink sun setting over still water. "Peace and Flow" is an abstract representation of a sunset whose water's optical illusion pulls you in and carries you through. I chose to gradient these colors to give the feeling of deep breathing. Taking in all good and releasing the weight of the bad
This week I am thankful. It is not lost on me that still moments like these are fleeting. I am reminded to breathe them in and enjoy them. I pray that these still moments carry me through the dark ones, and back to peace again.
"Love in Full Bloom" (July 2020)
This week's work is a reflection of love coming into its fullest self. This weekend my girlfriend and I finally got that quality time I mentioned a few weeks ago. We both planned special dates for one another, reminding us to take the time to reconnect and make time just for her and me. In these moments our love grows stronger and our bond deepens.
Over the past year, I have also been working to love myself deeper through therapy and affirmation work. For me, this work has taught me to accept my full self, flaws and all. This newfound self-love has taught me to know my worth and no longer accept anything less than what I deserve. This week as I was spoiled by the woman I love, I must still remind myself that I deserve this love, as my journey to deeper self-love continues.
"Love in Full Bloom" was inspired by a beautiful bouquet Marché gifted to me on our date. I often feature flowers in my work as a symbol of growth and change. I selected red for this work as its various hues remind me of both the surface and the depth that love can take us.
This week I am reminded to make time to love myself and to show love to the people in my life. I am also reminded that as my love for self grows, so does my capacity to love those around me.
"Reset" (October 2020)
Last week was my birthday weekend and I spent it camping in nature with some of my favorite people! I love nature because it gives me a chance to disconnect from reality and connect with the beauty God has created. Every time I go camping, I feel like I hit the reset button on life and can return to my routine with peace and a clear mind.
This trip was especially needed as my seasonal depression has hit me badly this year. Every year as fall approaches the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, my mood gets very low. All I want to do is stay in and sleep. Things that I typically don’t have to push myself to do felt impossible as I found myself with zero motivation.
One thing that I have been able to push myself to do last week was to get in some physical activity. For me working out helps me clear the mental fog that keeps me down during seasonal change. Last week I began taking walks on warm days and yesterday I began my in-home workouts again. It’s crazy though, how much the condition itself can make it hard to get to the cure. Sometimes I feel like there is a war going on in my brain, with my depression telling me to sleep and my right mind knowing that will only make things worse.
This week’s (not so) abstract work depicts a tree transitioning through all four seasons. In the exact center is a reset button. With each season in our lives (literally or figuratively) we have to hit the reset button. Rest our expectations, our behavior, attitudes, and beliefs, to usher in change.
"Crown Chakra" (August 2020)
I didn’t feel much like painting this week. I don’t feel much different than I did last week. I am still overwhelmed and all over the place with a to-do list that never ends. I didn’t know how I would create something new and reflective this week. And then BEYONCÉ! I call this week’s abstract work “Crown Chakra”. The crown chakra is responsible for transcending your limitations, which could not embody this work more.
This weekend I watched Black is King by Beyoncé. The fashion, the symbols, the music, the history were EVERYTHING. One thing that stood out to me was the many crowns she wore, reminding me of our regal ancestors and that I too am decedents of Kings and Queens.
This weekend I also reconnected with my two favorite Aunts, reminding me that I don’t have to look far to see Queens in my bloodline. I don’t talk to them often enough but when I do they pour knowledge of healing and strength into me that I carry with me always.
While creating "Crown Chakara" I listened to “The Gift ” on repeat, recalling all the regal jewel tones and dramatic costumes from Black is King. The seven shades of green represent my to-do list that runs seven days a week. This week, instead of capturing it as blue, I decided to see the week through a new lens of growth, rather than something that weighs me down, knowing that the journey is all a lesson. The pink circles around the crown, represent my creativity and inspiration, floating around close by, knowing that the transcendent Queen in me will find it again. The crown, covered in gold leaf, catches the inspiration and represents my ancestors watching over me
This week I am reminded that if Beyonce can do it, so can I! I know I can do all things as long as I say focused, stay committed to the journey, and to my creative process.
"Sun Set Blues" (July 2020)
This work is a reflection of the feeling of being sad and overwhelmed. This week started out great, but as each day progressed I began to feel increasingly overwhelmed. As I am abundantly blessed with opportunities, as am I with responsibilities. Responsibility to who I have committed my time to but also to myself. I have so much to show and prove and sometimes I can create pressure on myself that makes it feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
Just when I had reached my limit and had made it a point to not take on any new things until I had completed the items currently on my plate, I received a call from my stepdad, letting me know that my mother’s dementia continues to worsen. With this call, I decided I will be stepping up to help my stepdad navigate care for my mom moving forward. Even for those who know about my mother's deteriorating memory, many don’t know how deeply it affects me and I find myself crying more and more about her condition.
The progressively deeper hues of blue, represent the 5 days of last week and how my mood got bluer and bluer each day. The multi-shade brown circle represents me holding the weight of the week on my shoulders. The four shades of brown illustrate how the week has impacted me mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. "Sun Set Blues" composition also reflects the slow sunset of my mothers' memory and thus our relationship as I once knew it.
“The Measure of Blue” (August 2020)
This week my mood was up and down every day and my emotions were all over the place. Monday, I was still riding high off of the amazing event at Wave Pool but a cloud of sadness began to set as the week progressed. Wednesday, I went home to Cleveland to visit the doctors with my mom to get a clear picture of her conditions and to speak with social service agencies to ensure my parents have the support they need when I’m not there. I left feeling great about the progress we made but sad that I have to do these things in the first place. Friday, I spent the evening on a double date with my girlfriend and our friends. Time with friends continues to keep my spirits lifted, and the support I continue to receive from them is so needed, appreciated, and I can't thank them enough.
I’m learning that I like painting in dualities. "The Measure of Blue" is entirely shades of blue, which is exactly how I felt this week. Some light, some dark, but all a haze of blue. Each of the five pillars is the measure of which how deep the blues were for me last Monday through Friday.
This week is more about feeling the feels. I am reminded to look my feelings in the face, own them, and show them. The only way past is through.
“A Country in Distress” (February 2021)
This week's painting is not a reflection of the past week, but rather a reflection of the domestic terrorist attack that took place in Washington on January 6th, 2021, and the weeks that have followed.
It’s hard for me to express how upset the riot made me. I remember wrapping up my workday and hearing clips of the vote certification in congress. We turned the news off for no more than 15 mins, only to come back to White nationalists attempting to take the US Capitol. As I watched live footage of extremists breaking windows & climbing barricades only to be met with little to no action from police, I was infuriated!
According to the Department of Defense’s “Do’s & Dont’s for displaying the American flag”, the flag should never be displayed upside down unless trying to convey a sign of distress or great danger. This work poses the question: Who is in distress? We are living in a divided country (represented by 25 stars on each side of the flag) where both sides believe the future of this country is in danger. The Capitol building is represented in its true color, including the statute of freedom & then again mirrored on the opposite side with its colors inverted. The Capitol depicted as is, represents the status quo of this country. One that grants freedom to those it was designed for. This inverted Capitol, without the statute of freedom, represents the inequities that black, brown, & other marginalized groups experience in this country
We are living two distinct realities in the US. To fix it we must start with a real acknowledgment of how we got here. Until we can reconcile what these systemic inquiries are and how they impact our health; mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially; no matter what race you are will never make it out of our current state of distress.
“The Spiral” (January 2021)
Due to starting the year contracting COVID, lots of new year prep was delayed, sending me into a self-doubt spiral. Will my business be as successful this year as last? Will I be able to continue to balance my passion with my 9-5 job? Will I ever be able to dedicate my time fully to my art? In addition to these worries, I found out I had passed COVID to my Mother. After avoiding seeing her for the holidays, I went to visit her to tour an adult day service facility. In the short time I spent with her I had unknowingly passed COVID her way.
As usual, my girlfriend can always look at me and know when I’m in my own head. After holding my worries in, I let them all out to her. She & I had a long talk about releasing fear and moving in faith. I walked away from our conversation ready to reverse the downward spiral I had allowed myself to go on.
The black center represents the dark space I started the week in. The black then transitions to shades of grey and lastly to yellow, representing a lightened mood and new perspective. Outside of the last yellow ring, there are faint hues of yellow and gray. These serve as a reminder that each day is a choice. We can choose to spiral upwards or down.