My primary medium is acrylic paint. I enjoy this medium because it can be moved and maneuvered smoothly. It doesn’t blend easily and allows me to work in thick strokes with my palette knives. This is a good way to represent my focused subjects and the situations in my paintings taken from family photographs. I am of mixed race. I use photographs specifically of my father’s side of the family who is black, because I feel that my mother’s Caucasian side has been well documented by many photos records, by themselves and American history. The thick unblended strokes I make help to represent the experiences of the mixed race individual, their lack of acceptance in modern and political society, their struggle to fit into one race or the other, as the paint itself has its own resistance and will not blend easily.
The theme in my work is identifying my racial background as both Caucasian and African American. I created a series of artworks exploring the complicated relationship our country has developed between those that are different from one another, and the more complicated issue of being mixed race, and not being accepted by any race. My artwork reflects who I am entirely as a person, as my racial identity makes up a lot of who I am, and relates to specific characteristics about myself. I want to show that the minority figure is beautiful, as well as relatable and powerful.
Being mixed race, I struggle to find my place of belonging between my own two cultures. I am ashamed of my light skin, and that I am considered “passing” as a white person. My skin tone gives the impression that I don’t struggle fitting into the majority, which is untrue. Attempting to fit into either category of black or white I find myself in a grey paint stroke overlapping the two, not completely blending into one color or the other.