Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Sugar

This body of work includes, painting, mixed media, sculpture, installation and video under the umbrella of Sugar as a means of expressing a broad range of impressions and experiences related to the African Diaspora. It does not attempt to deal specifically with the production or sale of a product as much as it is meant to use sugar as a thread that winds through history shaping our reality and informing our culture. The sugar industry itself has been so far reaching over several centuries that there are countless aspects of black life around the globe that can in some way be traced back to it. In a global economy where corporate power often overshadows national boundaries brand names have come to symbolize lifestyles and experiences that are relatable and for purchase internationally. In this context Sugar brand refers to an industry, a food product, a historical legacy and overall symbol for “things desirable”.

Paintings make up a large part of the work in this collection. The first step in the process of their creation is researching and collecting images to work from. Images that shudder my insides whether in a positive or negative way get reproduced as paintings. Before painting happens they are digitally transformed to give them a graphic, industrial aesthetic that also lends to abstraction. On hand built wooden panels I layer spray paint to create dense colorful landscapes over which the graphic images will be painted. I project the images onto the panels and paint directly over the projection to map out a grid. Over time the grid is painted into a refined image that is in itself a reinterpretation of the digital image. Through all of this process the original photographic image is transformed into an organic, multi-dimensional, coded message communicated as much on a subconscious level as a conscious one. They revolve around three loose themes, sugar as a metaphor for love, African royalty and resistance to oppression. Pinks are at the base of the brand’s color scheme saturating the images with sweetness.

Black Love, Acrylic and Latex on Wood Panel, 72x48

Princes of Toro, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Wood Panel, 32x48

Benin Queen, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Wood Panel, 32x48

Behazin N'em, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Wood Panel, 32x48

Baltimore Car Surfing, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Wood Panel, 72x48

David Vs. 5.0, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Wood Panel, 72x48

El Salvador, Acrylic and Latex on Wood Panel, 24x48

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Last Night I Met This Princess

Check out how life can confirm itself. So as an offshoot of my Sugar series i'm working on this series of paintings in which the subject matter is that of African royalty, especially from around the late 1800's and early 1900's. I love the stamp in time. I love the international flavor. Some of the flyest photographs I have ever seen. I wonder about the cost(s).. for this level of flyness. They were international people, as in international trade, of all sorts. I wonder If they sold us to them. Did my ancestors' hides pay for that imported cloth so gracefully draped around your torso? And even still I'm drawn to these images. We are a beautiful people. Or is it that we just make any situation look fly? Two nights ago I started this painting. It's still in progress, but the basic expression has been made. The crazy thing is, last night I met a sista who reminded me very much of the princess whose image the painting is based on, the princess of Toro from Uganda. The resemblance went beyond her hairstyle, which was similar, or her eyes, which were similar, but there was something in the way she carried herself that was similar too. Was like the process of painting this princess conjured her up in reality.

This art thing is a trip.

Would love your feedback on the new style. Kind of a neoclassicalafrostreetpop. Check it out...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Work for 2015

Painting really is a discipline. When it's an active practice it can seem to push forward its own evolution. This is a sneak preview of where my practice is pushing my work within the Sugar series. Much of the aesthetic is a rollover from my tee shirt design work, digitally processed work executed in paint on mounted wood panels. I'm excited about the way these techniques can be used to make images that are both photo-realistic and abstract at the same time. All of these are works in progress.

King and Queens, Spray Paint, Latex and Acrylic on Mounted Wood Panel, 32x48"

Burning Cane Field, Latex and Acrylic on Mounted Wood Panel, 32x48"

God Save the Queen, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Mounted Wood Panel, 32x48"

Will the Real Madonna Please Stand, Spray Paint, Latex and Acrylic on Mounted Wood Panel, 32x48"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sugar 2.0, April 2014 at Sole Space, Oakland

What comes to your mind when you hear or read the word "sugar"? Do you get warm feelings of satisfaction or maybe cringe with pinned up guilt? Do you think of it's origins or place in our society? It's history? I first began to use sugar as a theme for a series of multi-media art works in 2011. Initially it was a vehicle for getting into Black History Month. Certain words seem to immediately send our minds into the depths of "Black History" especially as it has been experienced in the western world over the last few centuries. I think "cotton" is one of them. But I don't think "sugar" is the same type of symbol for most folks. This series is a reflection of my study of and relationship with sugar.

The first group of works in the series included collage, stencils, drawings, writings and sometimes glitter in a mashup on various wood surfaces. My intention wasn't to make any specific points or list a whole bunch of detailed information on the topic, but instead to use it as inspiration for making interesting art. Sugar 2.0 is the next evolution of the same artistic process. The new work includes graphic paintings of tender, intimate moments between loved ones, lots of photo transfer onto wood panels, sometimes collaged to create layers of meaning, lots of stencil work and some thick coats of enamel on several pieces... Oh, and a mural in the exhibition space! On some next level expression fa sho. Growth.

Lastly, I'm doing a special limited edition tee shirt for the show. We're doing a special release on the 18th, midway through the show. The design is going to be something different than any other shirt I've done so far and truly reflective of the art works in the show, but simple and stylish at the same time. Hotness! Yall just watch.

Peace and respect, E

Sunday, December 1, 2013

16 Cowries for Miami 2013

I'm pleased to write that the 16 cowries series is once again active and I'm producing new work as part of the series. At present the paintings from 2008 are on exhibit through mid March at the African American Art & Culture Complex in San Francisco. Showing that work lead to me doing a mural in the space and it was the first time I had "thrown" shells for a complete piece in several years. It was nice to know that the formula was still very accessible to me and very productive. When I thought of what work I wanted to take to Miami for Art Basil 16 cowries seemed perfect. So, these 5 canvases represent the rebirth of the series. They are similar to the '08 pieces, but have evolved in a new direction that I'm excited to unfold with more painting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BIO / artist statement


my flesh is California

my roots grow upward from Texas

and Louisiana




my spirit vibrates

in African frequencies

been professin’ painter fifteen years

Shona style stone sculptor

ten years




prefer candlelight

over incandescent or florescent

running into my people on the street

over driving

and smoking over drinking

first art instructors:

Uncle Butch

Grand Daddy Early

Pops’ photography

Isley Brothers

Mama’s craftwork

long black cadillacs

and panthers


Chuck D.

reached into my ears

and opened my eyes

El Haj Malik El Shabaz

modeled clear conviction



Gladys Knight

the whole Harlem Renaissance Movement

moves me


Curtis Mayfield


Village Bottoms massive

our collective

I paid academy of art college

to instruct their instructors

was humbled and blessed

with careful guidance

at Laney college

made family by Nicolas Mukomberanwa

at home in Africa

still a nigga

to galleries and police

at home

in america

my art speaks

these experiences

intending to be

beautiful and attractive

harsh and cold

rich textured

smooth and refined

hot like fire


within one body of work

with many varied chapters

visual music

soul stirring imagery

raw-ass mindfunk

blackstrap molasses

straight to the bloodstream

I been called on

to do this

by ancestors


and I




Saturday, July 7, 2012

16 cowries

This body of work came out of the simple desire to "just paint" without having to think too much. I wanted a theme that would facilitate visual freestyle sessions without producing too much randomness or being purely abstract. The theme is taken from a method of divining in the spiritual practices of Ifa tradition in which the diviner throws 16 cowrie shells and reads the positions in which they land. I don't claim to be a diviner, but I was inspired by the idea of "throwing" 16 cowrie shells onto each canvas and deriving meaning from the resulting patterns. At first the result was just 16 abstracted shells and eventually, as the series progressed, I allowed words and other images to come in and out of the picture plane as they came to me. I considered whatever came to me in the form of inspiration to be the voice of the divine. Once each piece had 16 shells the painting was done. The bulk of the paintings in this series were done between 2006 and 2009 although they still emerge from time to time.

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / a love supreme

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / fuck tha police

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / seeds

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / sex

eesuu orundide 16 cowries / who's right