GO SOLO: my first solo art exhibit


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Me standing in front of “Eternity”, mixed media on deckle paper, 2003.
Deckle is a removable wooden frame or “fence” used in manual papermaking. In a related sense, it can also mean a deckle edge which is a type of rough cut edged paper used in the book trade.-definition from Wikipedia.com

Hello, my precious readers and visitors! This post is about my first solo exhibit on September 8th, 2012, and so it is overdue, but better now than never! The exhibit lasted until October 30th. Following the body of text below, I have posted photos from the event.

I was asked to have a solo exhibit at a South Carolina art gallery my instructor from Claflin University (my alma mater in SC) and his wife own. I’m originally from Connecticut, but moved to SC at 14. My painting instructor in college was Mr. Alvin Staley and his wife is Mrs. Bretta (also an art instructor). They are both extraordinary artists. They also have a daughter, Kizzi (whom is also an art teacher), and a son, Altroy. Both of their children went to Claflin as well. I was extremely grateful to be asked. This presented another opportunity to show my art/skills and an opportunity to re-connect with people I had not seen since graduating & since I moved to FL last year (my Mom-whom I hadn’t seen since July when I moved, college mates, teachers, friends, church members). Preparing for the art exhibit was hectic only because I made it so (I waited kind of late to get material together: foam core to mount my works-foam core is basically stiff board with a foam core-and acetate-acetate is flexible, synthetic material used to protect work…it’s kind of like flexible glass without the glass part). I commend my roommate for being very helpful while I became a wreck preparing! I worked for hours, sitting on the floor, measuring & cutting & mounting & covering & taping…it looked like a Hobby Lobby or some other art supply bomb went off and left art shrapnel all over the floor; bits and scraps of foam core, acetate, tape and supplies EVERYWHERE. But I got it done, thank God! I also had reproductions made of smaller pieces and of graphic art to sell at the exhibit. Because of other concerns, I couldn’t leave for SC until the day of the show (I live in FL, now). So we left early morning for a four hour drive. On the way, we stopped to pick up my Mom (the main supporter of my artistic endeavors since forever; she introduced me to art) & to pick up more art for the show (two 30″ x 40″ pieces; the framed one had to go in the trunk…well not all the way in as it stuck out a LOT!). All seemed to be going well as we headed to the gallery and then about 15 min. before reaching the gallery…….rumble rumble rumble…….the tire went flat! It was TOO monkey, chimpanzee, donkey kong HOT for all that! Good thing I wasn’t trying to meet some dude for a date or something; too sweaty! I was all nervous from that point…just thinking about being late. I kept my cursing in my head because that wasn’t going to help matters, plus my Mom was right there! Well, we had to pull off to the side, take the art that was in the trunk out in order to get to the spare tire. Put that on & then we were off to the gallery, thank God, again! Got there real late. My Mom & my roomie helped me take in my art and then my roommate went to get the tire changed. Mr. Staley, as curator, had me hustle to help him place each piece in particular areas. I was helping to cut pre-made labels for my artworks, but I left my Mom to do that so that I could help situate the art and my reproductions. Mrs. Staley and her son did an awesome job getting the refreshment table ready. Despite the lateness and only an hour to an hour & a half to get things in place, we all got everything together and done by the time people started to come in!! Again, thanking God! It was like light speed level work!

It all paid off and the fruits of that hard work & hustling could be seen with all the people that came to see the show and enjoying the show. I was glad to see every single person! I thank everyone for taking time out of their evening to hang with me and my artwork! I caught up with people, answered questions about my art and laughed a lot. It was great and the background music (jazz & Christian) set off the show very nicely! I didn’t get to eat a whole lot (which goes totally against my very nature), but I did have some food and some Swedish meatballs…I made sure to get at those.

It was a beautiful show & I thank God for yet another opportunity!

Extra note: As part of the exhibit stipulations, I left 5 pieces to be displayed there for a year. After the exhibit finished on Oct. 30, I wanted to go and pick them up at some time, but then I received an invite from the Claflin art department for my works to be featured in a joint art exhibit of art student alumni works. So they remained in SC for that (Nov. 15-Jan. 1). I visited SC to see my Mom for Christmas, but didn’t get to pick up any of my work since the gallery owners were with their family, too, of course. I was just in SC, again, this May to participate in a friend and his mom’s Claflin alumni (Beaufort, SC branch) scholarship luncheon event (my 2nd time being asked to feature & sell art during this event). While in SC, I picked up my artworks that had been returned too the Staley’s gallery (except for the five on display for one year). Visited a dear friend of mine, went to visit with my Mom & other family and then went on down to Beaufort for the even that followed the next day (June 1). The next day at the event was awesome, too. I sold art and two were bid on (profits went toward scholarships). I will write more about that event in another post, though.

Okay, I blabbed on enough! Here are the photos from my first solo exhibit (shot very well by my friend Maurice)! ENJOY and thanks for reading/viewing!!

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The entrance to the gallery with my exhibit poster.

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Visitors signing in!
This is Glover Richberg and his friend. Glover is a fellow Claflinite. He was also an art student and a DYNAMIC one, at that! Awesome artist.

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My artworks are on the free-standing partitions on the floor space.
My artwork was hung on both sides of all of these partitions. The artwork on the walls are on permanent display and are Mr. & Mrs. Staley’s and their daughter Kizzi’s works.

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My artworks are on the free-standing partitions on the floor space.
My artwork was hung on both sides of all of the partitions. The artwork on the walls are on permanent display and are Mr. & Mrs. Staley’s and their daughter Kizzi’s works.

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The first and last pieces in my 8-piece senior visual thesis series. Except the first was hung on the right and the last was hung on the left; Mr. Staley didn’t realize the image order for these two and so it was a minor mistake. I didn’t notice until later! Oh, well! They were in the show & that’s what matters.

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My reproductions were for sale. I did make a profit, too! I also had to price the originals that were on display for the exhibit. Of course those were much higher in price! The framed card is the original card signed by Pres. Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama, in 2010, in appreciation for two prints (of the Obama portrait) that I sent to them in 2009.

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Top: “Watch Out, Dorothy!” Screen print on paper, 2002
(the subject is leaping over buildings wearing red shoes, hence the name “Dorothy” in the title).
Bottom: “The Angel”. Mixed media on paper, 2007 (I created this drawing for my church & a reproduction is now at my church)..

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“The Angel”. Mixed media on paper, 2007.

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Left: “Hoop Self Portrait II”. Oil on canvas, 2006-2010 (the original of “Hoop Self Portrait I” was sold some years ago).
Right: “Ment-ill-ity”. Mixed media on mat board, 2003.

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“My Mother”. Mixed media on paper, 2004.
My Mom really loves this portrait. Only thing is that I drew the nose too long, so I have to fix it still. Can’t have a Scottie Pippen nose!

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“The Realization: Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States”. Mixed media on paper, 2009.

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“St. Kitts in Neutral”. Oil on canvas, 2011.
I used a color photo that I shot while in St. Kitts. I communicated this photo into a black & white painting.

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Top: “Ani.motions”. Mixed media on paper, 2012.
Bottom: “self portrait-legs and arm”. Charcoal, graphite on paper. 2010.

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Top: “Baby Portrait”. Graphite on paper, 2010.
Bottom: “Birthday Portrait”. Charcoal, graphite on paper, 2012.
Both of these works were done for clients & they received the reproductions.

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Top: “Japanese Woman Before Screen”. Mixed media on paper, 2007.
Bottom: “Mary J. Blige”. Charcoal, graphite on paper, 2010.

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“Premature”. Screen print, 2002 (this is a screen print and much smaller version of the mixed media, 30″ x 40″ piece you will see further below in this post).
Bottom: “powpowpow…wow!” Mixed media on paper, 2008 (inspired by graffiti and urban art).

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“So Selfish”. Mixed media on mat board, 2005.
This is a statement about the ugliness & inhumanity of gun violence. As most know, now, art can also be a tool to communicate positives & negatives about society; social art.

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“Survive”. Mixed media & feather on mat board,. 2004.
A statement about God’s gloried triumph through the victories & survival of three different struggles: African/African American, Jewish and indigenous (Native American) peoples.
I used my left hand to model all four hands and just did alterations to each, like enlarging fingers for example.

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“Breaking Pain”. Mixed media on mat board and paper, 2003 or 2004.
Again, I used my left hand as a model for both hands. I just enlarged the fingers & other alterations.

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“Race Relations”. Mixed media on deckle paper, 2006.
This is a visual statement about humans being the same and that the differences are slight. That we are all equal and valuable. The darker peoples of the world are represented (in a very general way) by the map of Africa on the left and the lighter peoples of the world are represented (also in a very general way) by the map of Europe on the right.
Again, I utilized my left hand and arm as a model.
This is the definition for deckle from Wikipedia.com-Deckle is a removable wooden frame or “fence” used in manual papermaking. In a related sense, it can also mean a deckle edge which is a type of rough cut edged paper used in the book trade.

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“grimy self portrait”. Charcoal on paper, 2010.

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“Premature”. Mixed media on deckle paper, 2002.
This is the first in my 8-drawing Advanced Studio (Drawing) senior thesis. My professor was Dr. Terry K. Hunter, an extraordinary artist in his own right. This thesis was based on the journey of birth, life and death (with the figures symbolizing me). All of the artworks are mixed media, were done in 2002-2003 for Advanced Studio (Drawing) & are 40″ x 30″. This piece represents the development, in a supernatural view, of a child before birth (hence the egg, sperm and the cut-out images of three of the mitotic stages. The egg is intentionally under-sized and the child reaches out for the life awaiting it (the theme of which is continued in the earth below: life).
I gave this piece to my Mother after I graduated, she really likes this one.

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“Special Delivery” behind the window.

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“Special Delivery”. Mixed media, red thread & steel wire on deckle paper, 2003.
This is the second in my 8-drawing Advanced Studio (Drawing) senior thesis. This thesis was based on the journey of birth, life and death (with the figures symbolizing me). All of the artworks are mixed media, were done in 2002-2003 for Advanced Studio (Drawing) & are 40″ x 30″. This piece symbolizes birth, using abstract imagery. The child is symbolic, directly, of me & indirectly symbolizes the births of every human. It shows the partial body of a mother in labor; the pain of labor conveyed by the swirling representation of blood. Representations of blood are often shown in this series because it is essential for life; this piece utilizes actual red thread which also represents the child’s lifeline. This lifeline represents God’s presence. The child appears in agony because of the uncertainty of the world she’s being born into (the globe at the left). There is a divine protection of this child, however (the upright hand surrounded by glowing white).

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“Eternity”, mixed media on deckle paper, 2003.
This is the last in my 8-drawing Advanced Studio (Drawing) senior thesis. This thesis was based on the journey of birth, life and death (with the figures symbolizing me). All of the artworks are mixed media, were done in 2002-2003 for Advanced Studio (Drawing) & are 40″ x 30″. This piece represents the spirit, which survives outside of a deceased body, and whether that spirit shall wind up in Heaven or Hell. The coffin has my initials on it. Morbid, but reality.

The following photos are of visitors standing next to the artwork they like the most. I thought it would be fun to request that of them to do!

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My Mother and I with the piece she really loves. Her portrait!
My Mom has been very supportive throughout my journey with art and I thank her for it! She got me started with my love of art, actually. She also creates artworks and they are very good!

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My very good friend Jessica and her husband. This is the piece she really loves.

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Jessica’s niece and nephew standing next to the anti-gun violence artwork.

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My friend from church, Paul, standing next to my Mom’s portrait.

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Angela (the secretary of my Advanced Drawing instructor, Terry K. Hunter) and her daughter standing by “Eternity”.
Mr. Staley (one of the gallery owners & my painting professor in college) said this drawing is also his favorite piece.

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This enthusiastic visitor is standing next to one of my favorites: “darkness”, charcoal and colored pencil on paper, 2007.

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The portrait of my Mom gets another “Like”!
The Staley family’s artworks are on the walls in the background on permanent display. They are fantastic artists, as well.

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An art-loving visitor standing by her favorite: “When It’s Hidden”, mixed media & steel wire on mat board, 2003.
The piece is at once a self portrait (I am on the left, of course; no beard!) and is a personal statement about a relationship.

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Friends from church standing near their favorite piece; my self portrait.

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A wonderful lady I met through an inter-church choir standing by her favorite, which is also my friend Jessica’s fave.
It’s also my Mom’s favorite out of all the 8 drawings in my visual senior thesis.

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I am here explaining the premise of “When It’s Hidden” to a visitor.
It is great when people want insight to your work.

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Glover Richberg and Paul discussing my drawing.
Is Glover pretending to also lift the drawing (because that wood frame does make it VERY heavy)!

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My Mom and friends eating and conversing.
I spent more time with them AND the food later!

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My Mom gesticulating about something!

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My friends Lashon, Jessica and I cheesing it out!

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Friends Glover, Jessica, Lashon and I hugging it out!
Glover had a solo exhibit, here, himself some months later. I hope he goes very far with his work because he is truly an art genius! Like if Einstein were an artist…

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Had to include this! The art of sneaks! Jessica’s niece & nephew have fresh feet…

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2 thoughts on “GO SOLO: my first solo art exhibit

  1. Everything looks great! I love the presentation, artwork, atmosphere and vibe of your solo art exhibition. You deserve everything that you have done and God always looks out for his children. This is very inspiring and uplifting. The level of creativity displayed and your hard work pays off. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Hey, Andre!
      Thank you very much for viewing my post and thank you for the compliments, support & encouragement! And yes, God does look after His children, indeed. This is an opportunity He has provided and that I earned (instead of deserve, though I thank you for saying that, because none of us actually deserve anything, but we show God that we worked to earn something & He blesses us, as you know). I am glad this could be inspiring & uplifting. I’m glad that it all paid off and I hope for more opportunities like this! Thanks, again, Andre : )

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