I recently did this painting, ‘Africa Calling’. For all of you who know me or even just skimmed through my work, it’s obvious that I have a thing for Africa and it’s people.
When I was young, probably five or six years old, I can actually recall seeing those commercials on TV that raised money for African kids living in poverty. I can remember feeling this automatic deep love and connection with the kids. It was advertising the idea of donating money every month and “adopting” one of these children. Well, at the young age that I was, I remember thinking adopting meant I got to keep the child. I imagined this child was going to be flown over seas to me. I was so excited I even went downstairs and got my doll’s high chair and everything ready. Sadly, I soon found out that this baby was not coming to live with me.
My real interest and desire to learn about Africa began when good family friends, the Beaty’s, moved to Zimbabwe for four years to do mission work. I was so interested in what they were doing, and it was from that point on that any chance I had to do a research project or speech in school, I did it on Zimbabwe. It started at this young age, when I began trying to convince my dad to let me go.
The first piece I did that awakened my desire to be an artist was a color pencil drawing of a young boy from Africa we did as a project in school. I was seventeen years old at that point, and ever since that drawing, I knew art was what I wanted to do. My first year and half in college I became discouraged of becoming an artist, because I had to start in all beginning classes and found it very static and controlled. For those of you that know me, know how I like my freedom and independence. Although I felt claustrophobic, I stuck with it. During the middle of sophomore year I was presented with the opportunity to finally do a big project on something I wanted. Our drawing teacher gave us two guidelines, it had to be a certain size and it had to be a mural. Immediately, Zimbabwe popped in my head. I had studied the country and now I could create a mural to illustrate what I knew. This is when I created “Zimbabwe”. This piece was personally ground breaking, as it again reawakened my craving to be an artist.
One of my favorite paintings I have ever done is ‘American Dreamer’. I painted this while living in Florence, Italy in 2012. The model was from Africa and was posed in front of an American Flag. When our professor presented us with the set up, she told us the idea of the painting is to represent “American Dreamer”. This was based off of a show that was being exhibited at that time in Florence, in which the collection of paintings from various artists portrayed the idea of the American Dream. Well, to me this ‘American Dreamer’ secretly reconciled with me as, ‘Dreaming of Africa’. We all know of this idea of the American dream, and its meaning of freedom and prosperity. This idea began to correlate with the idea of a person always wanting what they don’t have. People tend to dream about things they don’t have and things they want. There is a positive lining here, because things we dream about are things we have the power to manifest and create in our own life. Dreams lead us to taking action, to creating them into our own reality. While painting this, there became came this relation of me dreaming of where the model was and the model dreaming of where I was. (All in retrospect because at this time we were in Italy). This ‘American Dreamer’ painting, has always meant something so deep to me, as it symbolized my dream of Africa.
One of my favorite quotes I practice living by is “If not now, then when?”. Now is the only time. You are the one who can create it. I have been manifesting this dream since I was young, now is the time to make it happen. I am looking into these orphanages where I will go live and teach art and share yoga with the children. While sharing and giving what I know and having learned through my experiences and education, I will also get to be surround by these beautiful people and enveloped in its country and culture. I have such a deep love and connection with my paintings of African children. As of now, my work on Africa has been a dream, and the time is coming to make it an experience and reality.
This painting ‘African Calling’ is foreshadowing a series I will be releasing this spring. The series will be based entirely on Africa and it’s people. The profits of these paintings will go towards funding my trip to Africa. Stay tuned for updates on this series!
This Africa series is one of the many things I am working on. I am so thankful to have this opportunity to dedicate all my time to my painting and began my career as a full time artist. I thank you all for your constant support and encouragement. Stay posted with me and my art on social media!
Do well and be happy.
“It’s not about where you take your art, but where it takes you” -unknown