In the Studio #75

I got drafted recently to do a really interesting mural project at a power company in Easton, Pa called Hindle Power. It’s a monumental painting project for me and because it’s so big I’m using house paint to do the job. I’ve done mural projects before in the past, mostly in schools working with kids but nothing quite like this. I’m working on two panels approximately 12 feet square in diameter and made on incredibly sturdy frames. The client, Bill Hindle, wants the panels – in all there are 8 made by 5 artists – to line the side of one of his buildings on the company’s Easton campus.

Here’s the first panel at the beginning of the process
Here’s the first panel after the first week
Here’s the first panel completed

This opportunity reminded me of when I did things like this all the time when I was younger, and reminded me of the need to be always available to hustle. I’m thankful to my colleague and studio mate at the Banana Factory, Darrell ( that’s with two ll’s) George, for this gig. 

The next day after beginning this Hindle Power project I was invited to participate in an artist talk with the African American Business Leaders Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce with my colleagues Al Johnson and Devyn Briggs, both fellow artists at the Banana Factory. Though the zoom artist talk was mired in technical difficulties – and by the way can I say I hate that we have to resort to Zoom, damn corona – the meeting was a success as it reminded me of the importance of connecting my art with as wide a community as possible. Also it was another opportunity for collaboration and commiseration with some fine fine artist friends. We’re more similar, us black artists, than we know.

Here’s the advert for the artist talk given to the Afro-American Business Council

I managed despite the big mural project to do a little work on my Earth painting which I decided to title “Both Gaia and Ave ground Souls in their Father’s Eyes”, and I’m generally happy with the results so far. I’ve tried to document each stage of the process of painting this last work of the series with a mind to creating a movie of it. I’d like to include all the works in the set when I’m done with the work. It’s a daunting challenge because there so much material to put together and I’m no expert at media matters. I can’t seem to get Instagram or Facebook to upload more than a 40-second clip of my videos so folks really haven’t been able to take in the whole effect of making theses pieces so far. I hope by time I’m done with the Earth I’ll have picked up some video editing know-how.

Along with making the underpainting for the Earth piece I continued to tinker with Adela’s Bouquet and begin work on Gnostic 4. Also I bought my supplies for a group of drawings I’d like to do next month simply titled August, inspired by a Dr. Who Dat album cover I love which I posted here a few months back.

“Bear Journey” cover from “Dr. Who Dat”

All this studio work is exhausting but I do feel like it pays off in the end. I have a goal in my head of making at least half my income off my art in the next few years, and then a few years later making all of it from art. I have an inventory of art already to make that happen. However the prospect of relying solely on myself is scary. There’s tremendous safety in working a traditional job. I understand why people are reluctant to follow their creative dreams to their logical self-sufficiency conclusions. I’m thinking of a certain song, on that note…

Here’s the music I’m listening to in the studio lately. To finish the above thought there’s the Willie Nelson classic “Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”. A fitting song for artists to listen to, I think it keeps us all honest. The other song is from Kaytranda and its called “Vivid Dreams”. Here are the YouTube videos of these tracks.

This month kind of slipped away so fast with the mural project at Hindle Power. I hope in the next few weeks to get back on some regular studio schedule, but I’m thrilled that I’m starting to make money on my work or on creative ventures. My recent sales make me think all the good work I’ve put in the studio is finally paying off. So, if it takes a while for me to crank up the factory again so be it. Okay, so I’ll write again soon until then everyone be well and stay safe. 

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