Updates on Blankhood

The exhibition is up and the artist talk was well received. Currently producing a remastered version of the artist talk, since the broadcast had ended abruptly. Everyone involved in the broadcast will receive a high definition copy of the talk. Thank you to everyone who participated, and if you have not been to the exhibition, come visit before the end of the 17th. 

We will be live on Saturday!

At 2:00 PM, we are going to live stream the artist talk on Saturday. This is a form of community engagement to reach out to audiences who may not be able to physically attend the exhibition. Below is the link that you click on at that time.


More about Joshua Rashaad McFadden

Once more I have the pleasure to have a colleague and friend, Joshua Rashaad McFadden, to join me on this exhibition. As mentioned before, Joshua Rashaad McFadden is in Atlanta best artist whose work focused on civil rights and social justice. Specifically, McFadden focused his work on the theme of black identity in American culture. This overall concept is embodied in his past three bodies of work. One focusing on colourism, another on Selma, and his recent body of work which relates to the masculine identity of black males and their “father figure” influences.

Recently, McFadden has been exhibited in exhibitions in New Jersey and has several more being shown in Munich, Germany. His recent body of work, come to self hood, had one the international Photography award in late 2016. It won first place in the people and family category. McFadden was also written in time magazine and was recognized by them as one of the 12 African-American photographers you should know. McFadden has pursued to establish his career in the past five years through these bodies of work and per Syse to further a Stabley Schomann himself in the final hearts world. 

Through his past merits, McFadden was also awarded several awards both national and international and was recognized by LensCulture as the “top 50 emerging talent in the world” in 2015.

His current series, come to self-worth, is an exploration and reflection upon the identities of black man in the process in which they go through to achieve their identities. Hey series of portraits of the individual black male subjects are complemented with images of either their fathers or father figures who have been an inspiration and a major influence to them achieving their identities. In each comparison, there is a written essay from the subject describing the father figure in some capacity. Each one is not only different in nature but also addresses a different question from a series of questions the subject had taken in a survey before being photographed.

The image and portrail of black men in media has improved from its initial presentation earlier in the 20th century, however, the overall image of the black male has been short of respectful in some arguments. McFadden six to bring attention to not only the positive imagery of black men through their fathers but also read the racks are attention to what defines a man and what is “the ideal black man “.

More about Eli Matson

Eli Matson is a rising fine artist who has recently finished his undergraduate degree in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. He is currently exploring two main themes: Gun Culture, and the Masculine Identity. There isn’t much written about this up in coming artist, but after meeting Matson at his Atlanta home earlier this year, I realized the content of his work is a must know.

Matson first started with exploring the concepts of masculinity through mixed media and painting, along with his studies in photography. This body of work is a collection of  his personal experience, research, and observation in our culture regarding to masculine identity through the decades.

Eli work6In his paintings, Matson builds texture through layers of construction and mechanic materials (such as tar, plaster, polyurethane, gunpowder, and vehicle fluids like anti-freeze) which are used in “manly” occupations, which typically has been blue-collar work. Matson takes these, often hazardous, materials and experiments with them as a traditional artist experiments with his, or her, paint. He plays with the contrast, color, and texture, which result in abstracted forms and figures of landscapes and terrain. When looking at these abstracted figures, one could see terrain similar to the aerial view of Earth’s surface, or more like Mars’ surface to be exact. Other abstractions and interpretations show of decimated Mountain ranges and toxic environments once teeming with life. Other works have been more of a literal interpretation to the content of his work. Much of these materials are fragile, degenerative, and destructive, much like the human ego and the frailty of masculinity (one may argue).

In the _______hood exhibition, there is one diptych piece to contrast from the abstract paintings to give a more literal, and “crisper” message to tie the conversation together. In this piece, is an illustration of decimated cities and once living spaces, with a sole survivor in the foreground. In my meeting with him at his studio, I asked about the influences of his work and he had shared with me personal stories of his relationships with other males in his upbringing.

Eli Matson Sample1
Eli Matson

The concept of “What makes a man a man?” has been challenged for some time. In 2011, Dr. Joanne H. Hall and Kelly Carlson from the University of Tennessee published an article titled “Exploring the concept of Manliness in Relation to the Phenomenon of Crying: A Bourdieusian Approach” exploring the concepts and history of manliness as a social construct. This study was made with the intention of developing a theoretical approach for men’s mental health in the nursing community. On August 23rd, 2016, Ted Talks published a video on YouTube featuring Tony Porter’s talk on manhood. On this perspective, Porter talks on an experience both Matson and myself believe most males in “heteronormative” habitats have experienced. The social construct has even been mention in biblical text and the social construct can be traced back to ancient Latin word “Virtus”, which means to display valor, strength, excellence, courage, worth, and manliness; all commonly associated with masculine attributes.

In one perspective, Manliness and the things that define a man are rooted from the idea of being strong and victorious when in conflict. The idea of strength could be, and has been, interpreted as being able to take the most damage and survive, or to deal the most damage, if not do both. One’s manliness could be determined from by the extent that individual could do either of those options. In applications to this concepts, males are put in positions where they often are discouraged from showing vulnerability, susceptibility and being able to share their feelings in stressful situations. These can result in mental health issues, acts of violence, and damaged self-esteem if not addressed. Both Matson and I shared our personal struggles with masculinity and pressures we faced to keep our own self-identity when it came to “being a man”. In Matson’s work these blue-collar jobs, and the dangers they hold, reflect the perspective of being manly by enduring the damage those occupations wager. Matson’s work explores the frailty of the masculine ego and the destructive nature that has been formed to prove an individual’s Virtus.

I wanted Matson’s work in _______hood as it relates to a big issue that is occasionally talked about. What makes a man? Many males attached the self-esteem, status, and well-being to the virtus attributes. Once those are challenged, their egos usually are then driven to defend themselves and the masculine mask they carry. In this exhibition of Rite of passage, What better way to address an issues that starts as early as pre-teenage childhood and can last to the rest of an individual’s life?



More about Nicholas Joseph Contrera

The concept of American Landscape is largely determined by one’s own life experiences. My American Landscape is undoubtedly shaped by the diverse characters that that surround me: artists, drag queens, performers, vagabonds. Turning my camera to a diversity of subjects, particularly those entrenched in New York City’s vibrant and often decadent club scene, my work investigates the fluidity of sexuality and self. What is more American then freedom of self expression? In this series, I follow a group of friends during the summer months that not only express themselves without apology but also have found a sense of community with each other.

Nicholas Joseph Contrera

“The Fluidity of Sexuality and Self”

YPA Staff

Continue reading More about Nicholas Joseph Contrera

When color affects your profession

Yesterday, I posted a blurb about Colorism and introduced you to Kai’s video. Colorism  on a social context is already a problem, but what Chika Okoro mentions in the video below speaks about how this phenomena becomes a part of a professional industry.