I began my creative life as a writer; but eventually words became inadequate to describe the images that formed in my head and kept pushing to come out, much like the narratives that pestered me until I wrote them down. I began to look for materials that would bring them to life beyond the printed page, and I found that transparency, visibility and memory were recurrent themes.
The term mixed-media artist is fairly broad; for me it means that I often work with text and a variety of materials, including glass, wood and metal, and I often use photography as another means of access. I often find inspiration in the past, either my own, or in a broader spectrum, particularly if it has disappeared from the public consciousness. For me, Los Angeles is an archaeological dig where all of the layers are above ground, thick with narratives and imagery waiting to be unearthed.
From 2010 to 2013 my work was focused on a community-based multidisciplinary collaboration I created called Project Bronzeville. The impetus for the project came after years of walking the streets and taking photographs, and encountering works such as Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Sonya Ishil’s Remembering Old Little Tokyo. I could not shake the sense that other lives had been lived there that were invisible to my present eye, and my feelings were later confirmed during a Los Angeles Conservancy tour of Little Tokyo, when the first words spoken by the guide were about Bronzeville.
In Memory Parade, a series of photographs and mixed media exhibited at LA Artcore in August and September of 2015, the subjects are ordinary folk at the Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles photographed after two extraordinary events: the election in 2008 of Barack Obama as President of the United States, and his re-election in 2012. These elections ushered in a kind of hyper-visibility for black people on the national and world stage. This hyper-visibility released tangible energy threads of optimism and fear into the national consciousness, and something is being made from those threads; exactly what that something is only time will tell.