I am from St.Louis
You have lived in both places SF and STL? What are the pros and cons of both in regards to ART?
Both cities have their particular individual flavor. St. Louis, being the city i was born in, is a part of me, the people, the movement of the city, its atmosphere, the weight of the city itself, the flow of the Mississippi River, and the many nights I spent watching and listening to the barges as the travel slowly down its syrupy waters. All theses memories and experiences have molded my perspective and poetry.
As a matter of fact, much of the mythology i use in my artwork, various associations to water, the blues, and aspects of southern culture i.e the narratives my older family members have told me over the years about John the Conquer, Be'er Rabbit and The Devil's Daughter are deeply embedded into my artwork.
St. Louis is a city of history and in that I feel at times that St. Louis is trapped by its unreconciled relationship to its own history. If anything I would say that is the greatest negative aspect to living in St.Louis. The positives in my personal experiences with St. Louis outweigh the negatives by far. When I come back home I see the growth that is taking place and I become excited about the future of a powerful cultural movement being formed in St. Louis. It is a indication that St. Louis, collectively, still has a will to re-invent itself.
San Francisco is a different animal altogether, because of the forces that have constructed San Francisco and the Bay Area for that matter. There is an infrastructure in San Francisco that speaks to a cultural commitment to poetry (I would say the arts but i feel that word does not capture all the manifestations of personal and group expression) which is one of the reason i have decided to forge my career in this city. I have met many wonderful people throughout the Bay Area that have added a great richness to my life, this for me is the greatest pro for living in San Francisco.
It is funny because, I at first would have never imagined San Francisco and St. Louis sharing any negative similarities but as I lived, traveled and experienced the city and its history I began to see the underbelly of the city itself and how my two homes have a lot in common. The problems that are present in St. Louis are also present in San Francisco; segregation, poor public education, and a over prevailing attitude of not caring enough by a majority of the population.
What is your overall goal as an Artist?
At this point in my career my overall goal is to create to the best of my abilities. To continue to learn, to explore, simply to always seek for a greater poetry within my creative process.
Do you find it hard conveying reality in ART without being bias?
I don't attempt to convey reality, the capital "R", that is not my job. I wish to convey an experience, one that has a strong historical and contemporary narrative yet at the same time is as much about the construction of a poetic form.
What does the statement "WE ARE THE CITY" MEAN to you?
The statement "WE ARE THE CITY" is a statement of affirmation, both individual and collective. A realization that we have the ability to shape our environment and through present and future collective efforts we can create a reality we wish to see. It is an awareness of our actions, a call of accountability to ourselves and the others around us. If you are apart of something you have the ability to influence its direction, its growth, its form, the question is, What direction should we go? "WE ARE THE CITY" is the first step in realizing our potential.