Textile Sculpture | 29 X 70 inches
My work has been inspired by objects, symbols, and metaphors that surround my world. Through my experiences as a black man I show the softness and femininity we confine. At a young age we are told to be more tough, less emotional, and constantly perform a heightened unhealthy form of masculinity. Generations upon generations have instilled these toxic values rooting back to my enslaved ancestors. Generational trauma stemming from the inhumane and atrocious total demolishing of my ancestor's ego and self-worth through being enslaved, we had to be twice the man of our white peers. I believe these toxic male values and ideologies are one of the many reasons that have deterred black men's possibilities, positions, and place in the world.
Tufting has been a newer medium that I have been exploring for over a year and it feels like home to be working with yarn again. Growing up my mother and grandmother were fiber artists practicing knitting, crocheting, and latch hooking. Being taught all 3 at a young age I feel very connected to my roots working with this medium. I must acknowledge the lack of recognition women fiber artist receive opposed to men who have historically received more attention, accolades, and privileges. As more men adopt this medium, I will fight for women fiber artists to get the spotlight and recognition they deserve.
Rug making through tufting is like latch hooking which I was most fond of. Tufting's increased speed compared to latch hooking makes larger, detail intricate pieces more expedient. My tactile pieces enhance the live viewing experience with the longer pile my pneumatic gun creates. Through the commonplace texture of yarn and its connection to home, I aim to give my audience the relief of a deep exhalation. The tenderness of being comfortable, soft, and familiar. The use of color in my designs with this tangible medium are what make the rugs visually peculiar.
I have recently acquired inspiration from my significant time in my hometown of Duluth, MN on the shore of Lake Superior. From the nostalgic sentiment I received from the agates I realized I undermined their power as a child. I have come to deeply respect and appreciate the time, pressure, and process that brought them to my home's shores. Through ogling at the striations formed over a billion years, I have realized the relationship and link this has through tufting. I have related the long infinite striations to the stitch lines that create my rugs. Through these designs you see how each single minute line or striation creates this whole structure.