Q: Could you share with us any details on your most recent work?
A: I’m working on a new print creation called “Jesus on the Road to Jerusalem, Jefferson Parish and Jackson Street.” Most of my pieces deal with religious themes and also items in African American culture. This new piece represents a classic story, in addition to some of my New Orleans roots and where our section of the Fisk campus is located here in Nashville.
Q: In your formative years, what led you to want to become an artist and who were some of your influences?
A: As early as I remember, I’ve been involved with art. For me, art is a spiritual thing that brings me joy. You can’t make art if you’re bitter and I feel that being an artist is my purpose in life. As far as influences go, at Alfred Priestly High School in New Orleans, Mr. Bradford was an itinerant art teacher who constantly inspired us. At Xavier, my friend and fellow classmate John Scott had an influence on me as well as the faculty at that time (painter Numa Rousseve, sculptor Frank Hayden, and Sister Mary Lurana Neely.) I feel that John is probably one of the premier artists of the 20th century.
I also learned early on that the experience and the process of creating art is where the fun happens. The final product is just a record or representation of what has happened, so I always look forward to getting to work on the next piece.
Q: What is your favorite medium?
A: With printmaking, the artist is called upon to demonstrate several skills all in one piece. I enjoy that medium along with the other elements that constitute it such as drawing, carving, sculpting and printing. In addition to those things, I teach repousse at Fisk. One of Fisk’s own, the late Greg Ridley, was one of the masters of the form and I think it is important to perpetuate his legacy by giving our students instruction in that form so that they may also create great pieces.
Q: How do you decide which medium to go with for a certain theme?
A: The idea or the subject for the piece determines the vehicle. The three dimensional sculpture that I recently finished, “Jacob’s Ladder”, began as a repousse, but the sculpture is the one that correctly illustrates the message and concept. I normally begin and complete works in blocks of time anywhere from three months to about three years. Within those segments of time, I get ideas for other works and begin them simultaneously.
Q:Where are a few of your upcoming exhibitions?
A: There will be a showing of some of my work later in the year at the University of Louisville, and you can see some of my recent sculptures just outside of the Aaron Douglas Gallery here at Fisk University. Also, a my recent works can be viewed online at www.southernartistry.org