What is a remix, this fun, no-strings attached, creative practice that I’ve developed in my rematriation years? Here is a statement I wrote about it for my art shop:
I am primarily a painter who works on canvas and fabric. Working with mixed-media has also been part of my tradition where I layer painting with collage and text to build complex narratives. Remixes are what I call small, unique artworks that I create by collaging print elements of my previous paintings with new images, designs, text, etc. I normally do not sell my original paintings, so remixes are an opportunity to collect a favorite image as a reworked, small-scale, more affordable original. Like my brother, who I watched experiment with different break beat samples on turntables, I like exploring this practice of messing around with previous images, incorporating influences from my more recent work and experimenting with other media, messages and imagery.
Crossing waters, rematriation, repatriation, even the blowing of all your things around, left floating in hurricane waters, has a way of forcing you to look back, reflect. The Sankofa tradition of looking back to your past. What are your ancestral teachings? What are the lessons this existence has brought you? What do these teachings reveal? How have you used them to move forward? How consistent have you been in your ideas, convictions, beliefs? Have you allowed them to expand, evolve?
Creating this new collection of remixes and other pieces has been this for me. A stroll down memory lane. A consideration of all my interests, passions, what’s changed, what hasn’t. Most of all, it feels free, fun. To not create for an exhibit. To not create with the pressure of a deadline. Some of these I rocked in various five/ ten/ fifteen-minute intervals, the space I set up my kids’ shower and wait for them to finish, me in my studio, alone, quiet, even if five minutes is all I got. Throw down some lines like a graffiti artist sprays a throw-up on a wall before the cop car circles around. Throw down different colors, media, paint, ink, collage like a DJ layers vinyl after vinyl, break after break to create a new beat. Do this with several pieces at once. The next day I do it again. Throw down more layers on the same pieces. On different pieces. A week later, a few completed pieces emerge. No pressure. No ties. Just a commitment to creative flow, whenever life allows. Ke