How did you get started as an artist?
It started as far back as my mind will allow. My father was an artist, not by trade but by raw talent. Born in Harlem, he grew up on a steady diet of going to the many fine New York City institutes of art. He honed his talents while attending the High School of Music and Art. Six years later, I would observe this artist [my father] for the first time sitting down and sketching in our living. I had to have been about three or four years of age. That single moment would have one of the biggest impacts on my life. From that epicenter, a ripple effect of all things “art” would take hold of my life. And with my parents’ unconditional love, providing artistic resources and support, I would excel at my own artistic visions at an accelerated rate that lasts to this very day.
What has been your biggest accomplishment, thus far?
I would have to say my work bringing me to an arena where I had the opportunity to lend my talents to an incredible cause. I donated a large work to Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night, an event that raises awareness and monetary means to fight and better understand Parkinson’s disease. My painting, which was signed by the champ, raised an unanticipated amount of money for the cause. I saw it as a moment that allowed me to work with one of my heroes and through my talents allow me to participant in something far greater than self.
What motivates you to continue creating such unique art?
It goes back to that moment where I first saw my father sketching. That moment that gave consciousness to something undeniably innate. That quest, passion and fire to be artistically creative was formed and resides deep within me at a root level. It is a force that guides me rather than me guiding it. It is an uncontrollable desire to observe life, ingest it, interpret it and then transform it into my own personal dialog of expression. Without pause my mind instinctively asks questions regarding visual interpretations when scanning across the landscape of life. It is art that makes life poetically rich while fulfilling a fantastical nature in human beings. Even without financial reward art would remain a constant in my life as the creative process and execution of visual language flows nonstop.
What has been the most difficult thing to overcome?
As an independent artist financial stability is the crux of one’s ability to carry out a well thought out plan. To be held back from a fully realized creative vision because of the lack of capital becomes a sad state of affairs. The dreaded “dying on the vine”. In business you must have start up capital to launch a mission or product. The lack of funding can put you in a spin that eats up your creative time with multiple endeavors that remove you from that which you are trying to achieve. Even with the most faithful it can force you to fall in the trap of thinking small thus remaining limited. To contend and excel in today’s art world you must be prolific and produce content at a rapid rate. If you don’t generate the means to operate then you are acceptable to dying on the vine. If you don’t have the means to invest in your business what becomes the answer? Providing that you are a true talent first and foremost remain faithful to who you are and what you have set out to achieve. Be the first to sign up to the fact that you will have to work that much harder to achieve your goals. Let smarter and faster be your allies in winning the day against financial limitations. And last don’t forget others are achieving their goals so why not you.
What is your favorite piece of self-created art? Why?
I subscribe to the notion that you are only as good as your latest piece. And the pieces that I am working on at the moment are by far my favorite works to date. For they are the culmination of my lessons learned from the execution of past work and the fusion of new interpretations and twists on life. These two processes form a rich path to create an impactful body of work. I am in an artistic space where decisive visual thoughts are fully comprehended and are in abundance. A magical space where I would think an artist would want to be.
What does success look like for you?
Success for me would be having the ability to live out the life I have envisioned. Doing and creating things I want to do without pause. Not being held back because of the lack of financial means. Success is having a successful career that affords me and my family the ability to live without struggle. To handsomely contribute to the many causes I believe in. To actually be in a position that grants me the power to make true positive change.
What notable people have your art as part of their collection?
A short list of clients who have collected my work:
David Wertschafter – former president, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
James Lassiter – Overbrook Entertainment – Hollywood producer, Will Smith’s business partner
Kate Hudson – actress
Kevin Spacey – actor
S. Epatha Merkerson – actress
Charles King – former W.M.E. agent to Hollywood A-listers, president and founder of media holding company Macro.
Tariq Trotter – Black Thought of the band The Roots
Rob Stone – Cornerstone Promotions, founder Fader Magazine
Rockell Metcalf – president and chief counsel at Ameriprise Financial, Greater New York area.
Carlos Fleming – former IMG vice president, W.M.E. Talent Management
Sean Carter aka Jay Z – mogul
Dream Hampton – cultural critic and film maker
Marc Lamont Hill – academic, journalist, author, activist and TV personality
John Coles – film and television director. “Law and Order”, “Sex in the City”, “House for Cards”, “Homeland”
Novella Nelson – actress
Iain Softly – Hollywood film director
Pras Michel – Fugees
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully in love, married, and a couple of little ones running around filling the air with giggles and laughter. Career wise having secured representation from top notch galleries.