My paintings are based on photographs of my mixed race family. My skin tone
gives the impression that I don’t struggle fitting into the majority, which is untrue. I use
photographs of my father’s side of the family because I feel there was so much beauty
in their lives, even as they struggled to live up to white standards. I see the abstraction
of my figures as symbolic of imperfection, as is all creation through human hands. By
attempting to fit into either category of black or white I find myself as a grey paint stroke
overlapping the two, not completely blending into one color or the other. Acrylic paint
can be moved and maneuvered smoothly; it doesn’t mix easily and dries quickly
allowing me to create unblended shapes. The thick unblended strokes I make represent
my experiences as a mixed race individual, my lack of acceptance in modern and
political society, and my struggle to fit into one race or the other.
When starting a painting, I usually feel anger or sadness for my family members
and what they have had to live through. I demonstrate these emotions through my color
choice. The purple in my work is the most consistent throughout my pieces, to
represent my blended ethnicity. I use a lot of pink in my artwork to symbolize the
universal love of one’s self and others. I add the ghostly blue to suggest the idea that
these are memories from the past.
My paintings explore the complicated and controversial relationship our country
has developed between blacks and whites; although much time has passed, there has
been little progress in mending the relationship between the two. I believe in education
and creativity, and through my imagery I aim to educate others on the minority figure as
beautiful, relatable, powerful, and belonging in art just a much as the white figure. I
struggle with my light skin, and that I am considered passing. I struggle to find my
place between my own two cultures and within my current mixed relationship.