On Monday morning, the Obama's portraits were revealed to the public at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery. I remember a few months back when the Obamas announced the artists that they chose for these pieces, and I was so excited! Kehinde Wiley is one of my most favorite painters. His work just paralyzes you when seen in person. It's so striking and magical and full of hope and shifting perspectives. And Amy Sherald is not only a graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art (where I went to school) but also currently teaches in the painting department there.
If you watch the video below, the way that the Obamas and the artists talk about the two paintings is just so inspiring and filled with positivity. How joyous it is to have such unique and gorgeously colorful paintings as presidential portraits! They aren't grayed out, conservative, and boring like the past presidential portraits. And what a wonderful way to catapult the art world into the public sphere!
Examples of Kehinde Wiley's work . . .
Examples of Amy Sherald's work . . .
President Obama admiring the portrait of Michelle . . .
Wiley's painting of former President Obama will be permanently installed in the "America's Presidents" exhibit.
Sherald's painting of Michelle Obama will be on display through November in the museum's "Recent Acquisitions" section.
Please find a way to see these amazing works of art!
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On February 2nd and 3rd, I taught two improv costuming workshops at The Plant, an arts center and working studio in Tallahassee owned and operated by artist and FSU professor Paul Rutkovsky.
Improv costuming is something that I started adding to my art practice in 2014.
Basically I just set out several tables of materials--bags and bags of fabrics and yarns and ribbons, tapes, pompoms, plastic cartons, shiny sparkly things--and I invite people to costume each other making sure to photograph the finished pieces at the end. Sometimes they costume me, and sometimes I costume them. Sometimes we know each other, but more times than not, we've never met.
It's an interesting way to challenge perspectives and comfort zones. And it's a wonderful way to engage happy accidents and surprise.
The finished photographs from these two workshops will be featured in a show in Tallahassee in May called Waging Peace, and also at a show in Nashville, Tennessee in April and May at the University School of Nashville.
I love the fun that people seem to experience when I teach these types of workshops. It's amazing to me how many people express how much excitement they get from engaging materials and each other in this manner. And there's no way to know what the end result will be, which makes it even more exhilarating.
I look forward to the two shows I have coming up and can't wait to post more images! Soon, soon!! XO
Up next on the blog: an update on art making at Brookwood with all of my wonderful students and two--TWO--art teacher interviews . . . Jescia Hopper in North Dakota and Paige Wyatt Smith in Alabama! Yeehaw!