African Americans function under a cloud of invisibility, only to be seen when hatred is involved, or culture is stolen. I can recall so many instances in which I had to diminish my voice for the sake of others or lower myself so that I didn't seem too loud and out of place. Through this body of work, and in every brushstroke, I’ve given myself permission to be bold, to be heard, and most importantly, to be seen.
My ideas of race and beauty are linked with paintings of the Baroque period. Those paintings were direct, obvious, dramatic, and encompassed a particular status that was not afforded to everyone. Those images enacted a change in the way I view myself and other African Americans, which encouraged me to create paintings that would change the narrative.
The portraits I create demonstrate power, beauty, and diversity. My portraits have a presence about them. They require you to really see them, read them, and understand them. They are intentionally large-scale with exaggerated facial features to challenge typical notions of beauty and to simply make space for African Americans in the realm of painting.
My hope is that those who come across the works I create not only enjoy the aesthetic, but also think about the context in which they were created. I invite viewers to discover and respect people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but I think it is equally important that my work can spark self-discovery of value, beauty, and significance among people who may feel overlooked.