A Class of Their Own: 30 Americans X Creative Class

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This October, the Barnes Foundation launched the 10th anniversary presentation of “30 Americans,” a collection of works from distinguished African American artists over the last four decades. The artwork was curated by Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw. Read on to find out more about Kalup Linzy and Shinique Smith, two of the artists included in 30 Americans. The exhibition, drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, is on view in Philadelphia, October 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020.

 

Featured Artist: Kalup Linzy

Kalup Linzy

Source: Melissa Lukenbaugh and Tulsa Artist Fellowship

NewsOne: When did you realize that you were an artist?

Kalup Linzy: As a teenager, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the arts. In my early twenties during graduate school is when I transitioned into a Visual Performance Artist. [I’d pull inspiration] from soap operas, classic Hollywood cinema, comedy, music, art history, and pop culture.

NewsOne: How do you connect your art to your life?

Kalup Linzy: In the 1930s, my great-grandmother listened to the soap opera Guiding Light on the radio. My grandmother, her daughter, who was deaf, watched “her stories” up until her death in the late nineties. Today, I create my own stories for art galleries, museums, and online platforms. Serial storytelling, music, and the desire to see myself as I choose, drives my practice.

NewsOne: Tell us about the project that kicked off your professional career.

Kalup Linzy: My graduate thesis video “Conversations Wit De Churen II: All My Churen.” I completed it in the Spring of 2003 and moved to New York City that same year. I spent about a year and a half giving, selling, mailing, and dropping off copies to family, friends, galleries, museums, and film festivals. In 2005, it was reviewed in the New York Times in an exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem along with other works featured in a project at the now-defunct art gallery, Taxter and Spengemann.

NewOne: Your work in 30 Americans, Sweetberry Sonnet (2008), is a video anthology that touches of issues of love and acceptance. Tell us about your current project(s).

Kalup Linzy: I’m a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellow—I just signed on for another year. Recently, I completed Season 3 of my web series “As Da Art World Might Turn,” which will post online in December and I also have a Polaroid project being exhibited at Art Basel Miami with David Castillo Gallery. Additionally, I’m putting the finishing touches on an album I recorded with musicians from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have a fashioned themed video with a fashion line on deck. Lastly, I’m developing a feature film.

NewsOne: What are some of the challenges that accompany being a Black creative special?

Kalup Linzy: [It requires] hard work, dedication and resilience in a culture that wasn’t set up for the majority of us to achieve success. Creating through the good, bad, and indifferent times. Remembering at the end of the day, it’s about the work. On top of that, it is important to socialize and build long meaningful relationships with your peers and your audience.

NewsOne: What legacy do you want to leave through your artwork?

Kalup Linzy: A resonating DIY visual art soap opera that lead to greater opportunities for the artist, inspiring others to follow a path less traveled.

 

 

Featured Artist: Shinique Smith

Shinique Smith

Source: Gary Pennock

 

NewsOne: When did you realize that you were an artist?

Shinique Smith: When I was about five years old I told my mother that I was an artist.

 

NewsOne: Where do you find inspiration?

Shinque Smith: Life, the world around me, history, poetry and spiritual beliefs.

 

NewsOne: Tell us about the project that kicked off your professional career.

Shinique Smith: When I first began showing, I exhibited several large scale 3-D installations of gestural graffiti and calligraphic lines made directly on the wall. These works were temporary, so I began recycling the elements into paintings and collage on canvas.

 

NewsOne: Tell us about your current project(s).

Shinique Smith: Currently, I am finishing new works for a presentation with the UBS Art Collection for Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 and New York 2020.

 

NewsOne: What legacy do you want to leave with your artwork?

Shinique Smith: My desire is that my work will continue to resonate with viewers visually and conceptually. Each piece is an emotional expression and a time capsule whether wrapped into a bundle or bound with calligraphic lines. I hope to continue to encourage and support young artists so that I’ve created a legacy of passionate inquiry, expression and grace.

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