A line runs from my art practice through the nurturing practices of my great grandmother, the family quilter. Grandma Elsie not only constructed colorful, elegant, and sophisticated quilts for her eight children, she also made garments for everyday wear. From her I inherited an appreciation for quilting, fashion, and art.
I grew up in a strict, Christian household on the northside of Indianapolis, in a predominantly white neighborhood. Raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, I learned the value of the Black community. But surrounded by whiteness, I dealt with loneliness and social anxiety. I didn’t want to be seen or identified by my white peers. After school, I would recuperate by watching 106 & Park on B.E.T. Watching videos of Lil’Kim, Missy Elliot, Crime Mob, and Lil Wayne, I witnessed people who looked like me. 106 & Park introduced me to Black hip-hop culture, which influences all aspects of my practice.
I best express myself through sketching. My drawings are colorful, abstract, gestural, and ultimately unexplainable. Even I can’t quite comprehend what comes out of my sketchbook. Due to my learning disability, drawing has been my most direct form of communication. I approach the making of quilts as a sketching process, working quickly to creatively process the sense of alienation that comes from being a Black man in white spaces.