July 24th, 2018
Very early on home became an important concept. Home ownership and the American dream was my mother’s main preoccupation my whole life, she achieved home ownership in my thirties.
All on her own.
I started a theoretical and critical study of “home” through my formal university art education. I tried to piece together a personal understanding along with a larger model of success and belonging. It was easier and safer to create a distant analytical relationship to home. If I thought about my body as home or a safe place it got uncomfortable quickly based on early life experiences.
I have felt really uninspired lately and I feared it was about to become a permanent state but then my thoughts went in a new direction. I thought about why I still make art I am not necessarily a rousing capitalist success and I definitely hear and receive lots of “no’s” and few but very precious “yeses.”
I live with my mother and of course feel incredibly self conscious and embarrassed about this but I still can’t let this “art” thing go. My old muse “home” I think is the reason. We have experienced a lot of life recently and mostly sadness, fear and loss but something else has happened. My mom has really started to decorate her house in this new way and it actually includes pieces of my work and the experience of seeing my work everyday in a house affirms why I make art. I make art in the context of a larger function and that is to reflect life. A full life. It really is not about being an “investment” or knowing a lot about art in an academic or expert driven way it is about a fuller expression of who you are, who you want to be. What you want your life to look like and reflect.
I started to think of the massive influence of my maternal grandparents especially my grandmother Henrietta. She had no formal education beyond high school but she was refined, well read and interesting. My grandparents were the type to have glassware with their monogram: on wine glasses, beer glasses, highball glasses. She was not an art expert but she was proud of the pieces of art she had in her home and wanted them to be a reflection of herself, her values and her lifestyle. A wholeness. I finally understand I make work not for an expert or collector I make work to adorn someone’s life, another expression, a fuller realization of who they are and how they want to live.
My art is for individuals that know what they want their life to look like and feel like they are not worried about what’s cool or keeping up appearances they are most concerned about living life how they want to. They go on holiday, they eat well and drink exceptional wine and spirits, read good books, engage in spirited conversation, dance, dress how they like. Hold strong beliefs not necessarily going along with all popular opinions care deeply about their homes and general environment are not afraid of refinement, they are understated, intelligent, gallant people who care deeply about culture.
My dream client list:
Just finished New Grub Street by George Gissing
Currently reading: Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna
Cire trudon abd el kader
July 19th, 2018
What do you do with a thief? Do you let things go? Do you try to get it back? How do you create new worlds and ways of seeing yourself? Different valuations? New skills? Start from scratch, letting go of all previous beliefs and impressions.
July 11th, 2018
Mom needed emergency oral surgery for a fractured tooth, infection, abcsess and impacted wisdom tooth. Ruby doesn’t want to take a nap. I have not slept since June 27th. She is back the police are here, I have to get mom out of bed we have to follow the police to the crisis response center. My head hurts. My chest hurts. Thank God for Kabrina. No sleep again. All of my work is an attempt to create a safe space.
I think about this article all of the time now.
July 7th, 2018
Virtous, Independent, Creative, Compassionate, Tender Hearted, Determined, Music Loving, Animal Loving, Humor Loving, Dancer, Moody, Smart, Always learning new things, Extremely Curious, Eccentric.
July 6th, 2018
Tenderness. Moving past the place of fear and anger into deep sadness. My mom is crying “her baby, her baby, please help my baby.”
She/We have contacted all of the authorities, begging and pleading for help. No one is helping us, no one is helping her baby. I wonder how many people are just like her, like us, crying out for help and there is no answer.
July 5, 2018
Excerpt from Black Bible:Rainbow Serpent
(July 4th, 2018, my heart shattered. I put you in my room with cartoons, milk, a chocolate chip sandwich cookie, blanket, a bubble gun and cousin Linda. Your mother jumped our fence by passed 5 large men, and 3 women to open the sliding glass door and enter the house “baba” banned her from in 2017 after she called your grandmother ( her mother) a “fucking stupid bitch” within seconds of being invited in. Baba created a sacred safe space in that moment that has been broken twice since he created the forcefield. A day earlier your grandmother broke baba’s safe space by allowing her to come inside and see that we were not keeping your father in our house. We have never met him and wouldn’t recognize if we passed him or any member of his family on the street, your mom has told us that he is racist and has repeatedly referred to his own child as a “nigger baby.” Your mom my sister was also convinced that her former friend was also in the house shooting up drugs. Another total stranger. You were crying and you were scared of your mom’s anger and grandmom’s lack of control. So I forced your mother out of the house, you and grandmom followed her and I called the police. Two nights earlier your mom tried to break into the house at 1am, she ripped the screen from your window and threw a bottle at the front door with such force that it left a permanent dent in the metal door. Over the next three days and nights none of us slept your mother texted and called over 200 times a day each day until she reached her mental limit and returned with accompanying fireworks it was afterall July 4th.
Fireworks are a truly dreadful experience when children live in your home, my mortal enemies are the neighbors that surround our home starting nights before July 4th with piercing and useless pops preventing an entire household desperate for rest from sleep. Each morning we would all drag ourselves around like scared zombies. Your mother’s mental health has kept us captive for over 3 years now. Something has shifted since Baba passed away in Late March, the month promises to come in like a lion and out like a lamb but stayed a lion. The demons, the “bob” the “jowday” that occupies you mom’s brain will not let her or us rest. I have to take a moment to call out the lack of help received from the Tucson Police and the Crisis Response Center I do not doubt that these are fatigued broken systems with too few resources. Systems throughout the United States that can’t function properly without support, it was perfect to see this illuminated on a broken holiday celebrating our country. “In this universe, which was created by a divine, organizing intelligence, there are simply no accidents.” I will return to the heartbreak. I kept you safe on July 4th in the loud and obnoxious haze of fireworks in a desert. Alone I acted. I forced my baby sister your mother out into the night. I used to protect her/us from her father when I was a kid. My childhood was protecting her from unnecessary trauma. In NYC they treated me for PTSD. Now I protect you. I felt alone as a child and I felt alone last night. Today I woke up, washed your hair, cleaned your peppa pig cup filled it with water, drove you to the babysitter, came home took a long hot, unicorn bath, after hydrating again with fresh squeezed lime filtered water, dancing alone. My prayer, All this love, sweetest taboo, unforgettable, God’s plan, Walk it like I talk it)
June 10, 2018
It has taken a while to come to terms with the fact that I have changed. Life has altered me and I can’t ignore it or resist it anymore. It’s time to get to know someone new.
Growing up I didn’t have a safe space. I didn’t glean the freedom and benefits that come from safety.
June 2, 2018
Reading Audre Lorde and “the uses of anger” stirs up all the feelings I had from working at Rivstar and having to beg white men for my paycheck. Everyone else was paid on time with no issues, just me. Just me who woke up 2 hours earlier to walk from Ft Greene, Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan every day and every night after work. I am the one who had to beg and request my paycheck every single week.
All the micro aggressions experienced in Switzerland a fellow artist wanting me to stop being so angry when discussing race and commenting on how she liked me better when I was just the artist who taught her choreography and not a black artist constantly bombarded by racism.
Being force fed that my femininity isn’t real or desirable. My femininity doesn’t measure up against white female femininity I’m too angry to ever be feminine to self-assured to ever be attractive.
Resenting my lack of access resenting my lack of fairness, help, support, Equality.
May 24,25, 2018
It took chest pain, lots of blood, bare chested ekgs, an overnight hospital stay, a heart monitor, tears, discomfort and an iv in my left arm to write this.
Where does sacrifice and disappointment live? What can it become? What else is possible? What could be better than this?
I hate admitting when I don’t know something.
I don’t know how to implement self care. “7 minutes in heaven” forced me to face fears, immersive vulnerability.
A black and white print, a myth called “La Madrada” the patron saint of “caretakers” and sacrifice. I created her to comfort myself and to stay convinced that I mattered that I hadn’t wasted time being a “good girl.”
I gain weight. I lose weight. I gain weight.
I am not poor because I am lazy. I am not poor because I am good for nothing.
Bad caretaker good artist
Good caretaker bad artist
I want a safe space. Safe from Trump and men like him. Safe from anxiety, chest pain, my 3 year old niece (that I am raising with my mother). Safe from grief and neverending loss. Safe from all of the judgment about being single, unmarried, undesired. I want to know what strangers are going through.
May 3, 2018 - I make art to keep myself company.
April 29, 2018-- the sweetest taboo, audre lorde -- the uses of anger, blue velvet, brandon.
April 28, 2018-- what does an innocent heart look like?
April 12, 2018 -- page of cups, don’t worry baby (beach boys), 11:11am, jupiter god of sky, thunder, thor.
March 29, 2018 -- 6:23am, Miguel Enrique Escalante called home.
February 13, 2018 -- we found a baby rattlesnake trying to slither in through the front door. He moved it to a bush in front of the house, the parents and other babies must be close.
February 10, 2018 -- a young man in a red shirt attempted to mug me walking home from the walgreens in broad daylight.
SELF PORTRAIT, 2002, 2014, 61 x 34, Organic cotton rope, copper hoops.
Growing up my mom was a single parent and always anxious about money she heartily passed on that anxiety to myself and my sister. She was obsessed with owning her own home someday it started to become my understanding of the American dream and success. The idea of home started to become an obsession. Thinking about home took me to a mystical and long standing feminine archetype, the spider. The spider can create its own home anywhere it spins an organic substance from its core. I wanted to do that, to feel safe and create my own home. I wondered what my substance should be. At the time I was working on the sculpture I was also studying American History specifically Thomas Jefferson’s home “Monticello.” I learned that at the time it was being built the slaves that built his home were considered the same commodity as the cotton growing around him. I was descended from “a cash crop” so I made my home cotton. I unraveled it to make it look like thread, like a web. This piece has a lot of stories even more than I am typing here… It is special.
I was fortunate enough to show it at the LeRoy Neiman gallery in Harlem and during the artist talk a woman stood up and said she felt that “Self portrait” spoke for generations of women that never had a voice.”
VIRGINS are an 8 print series.
The original meaning for the word “Virgin” is a “Woman wholly unto herself.”
I printed them with the help of my friend and master printer Toni Mosley of Blue Bathtub Press, Auckland, NZ. She was inspired after seeing the images and performance video from an exhibition I was a part of at La Ira de Dios in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My piece was called “I want you: portraits of my mother.” I wanted something that was just a woman, any woman who felt whole, the true virgin. It was exhibited February 2016, Black Lives Matter Exhibition, MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main Street, North Adams, MA
All were one of a kind and will not be duplicated.
ESTAMPITAS, 2.5 x 4.25, 3 x 4 in, paper, May 2015,
I shot the images for the “Estampitas” in Sicily and made them in Argentina. I have a handwritten poem or prayer on the back of each of them. While in Buenos Aires I was inspired by finding these little “Estampitas” everywhere, a local explained to me that they were historically an intimate way to connect and pray to the ultimate maternal figure The Virgin Mary. Since my project was also about mothers and virgins I made my own estampitas and handed them out to a select few to inspire the same intimate connection.