As a young art student, I studied Romare Bearden’s significance in the larger context of the art world. I looked to him as an example of an artist who incorporated pattern and rhythm into figurative work. As I developed my own collage and artistic practices, I learned from the way he constructed incredibly communicative figures with the sparsest elements. Like Bearden’s, my work draws from a broad range of influences—though maybe not as broad as his! My inspiration comes from memories of growing up in the 1970s—I use a lot of the pop-cultural signifiers from that time—and the history of art, both European and non-European. In this specific photomontage, I think you can see the influence of someone like Malick Sidibé, the Malian studio photographer, in the intense patterning in the photographs. This piece has four different photographs of the same woman, and I think it is interesting how her gaze shifts subtly from one to the next, as different aspects of her come to the surface. The material also shifts from panel to panel, frame to frame. Those small decisions add up while composing the larger piece.
b. 1971, Camden, New JerseyLives and works in Manhattan, New York