Defining The Definition Series| What It Means To Be Black in America?

Happy One Year Anniversary to my Definition Series, which I started one year from today! I have explained this series concept many times at art shows, pop up shops, lectures, and workshops but I have never sat down and written the meaning behind this series. It's important for me to share what inspires me to those of you who support my artistic journey, it is equally as important for Black Americans to have a voice to express how we feel about what is continuously happening in our communities.

Last year, summer of 2016 there was a massive amount of injust police shootings, arrests which led to deaths, and murder of black and brown Americans. This has been happening for as long as I can remember but it seems there was a purge of some sort last summer! Black communities were in an uproar, protests were just about every single night, social media+news and radio outlets were finally covering these injust killings of black people and we were determined to receive our due of equal rights by having those responsible for murder based on racial discrimination held accountable for their actions. 

These killings did not stop with our black men, they continued with our women and children. I was so angry and afraid! Angry because no amount of writing, protesting, rioting, or crying was going to fix what was happening. How could I a mother of two black boys protect my children from those who are supposed to be protecting them? How could I not be afraid every single time my husband left our home? Would I see him again in the middle of the street, victim to the latest bullet from a "routine traffic stop"?

To make things worse, non-minority individuals seemed to feel we deserved to be shot in the street, dragged from our cars, choked on the sidewalks. We deserved these brutal deaths due to our living situations, or the " black on black crime" which supposedly wipes us all out each year anyways. We deserve to be arrested for no reason and found dead in our cells with no explanation. Our children deserve to be shot for playing outside or walking home from the store. We are lazy, dirty, ignorant and slavery was the best thing to ever happen to us! These were all things that felt like slaps in the face just listening to this nonsense was enough to anger anyone.

In the midst of all the anger and fear circulating in our community I had to do something! Anything to voice my concerns, to stand up for my people! To say to the world we are not who you think we are! We are not defined by our circumstances! We are royalty!

 

Defining the "Black Woman"

"Black Woman" was the first to emerge. The Bible tells us, women came from men. But the natural creation of life shows us that men come from women. The Principles of "Ma'at" tells us we are the original women and men.

The most disrespected women in America, is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America, is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.
                                                                                                         -Malcom X

"Black Woman" defines the black woman through my eyes. I was raised by strong, resilient black women who passed those qualities down to me. The black woman is a teacher, mother, creator, etc. She instills unity and peace amongst her village, she encourages intelligence and knowledge in her children. This definition emerged through my research, experience, and thoughts.

Black Woman

\'blak wumen\

1.female human being of African descent. 2. subject to extreme abuse and oppression based upon the inaccurate or faulty (racist perception of inferiority by the oppressor. 3. Scientific: mother of civilization: one from whom all life comes forth. 4. one who subscribes and practices thoughts and deeds which promote unity among people of color. 

synonyms: wife, mother, sister, leader, teacher, warrior

adjectives: strong, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, tireless

 

Defining the "Black Man"

"Black Man" was my next creation. He emerged from a Queen, determined, protective, a warrior. He protects the women and children of his community. I was raised by a black man, he taught me to respect myself, to be kind and giving yet strong and careful. He protected me and in turn I learned how to protect myself, how to choose a protective husband, and how to protect my young kings. He encouraged growth, love, peace, and prosperity. This definition emerged through my research, experience and my thoughts.

Black Man \'blak man\

1. Male human being of African descent. 2. Subject of extreme abuse and oppression based upon the inaccurate or faulty (racist) perception of threat by the oppressor. 3. Nation of Islam: original man; Father of the universe. 4. one who subscribes and practices thoughts and deeds which promote unity among people of color.

synonyms: husband, father, brother, teacher, soldier, organizer, leader

adjectives: strong, intelligent, creative, understanding

Black Love Destiney Powell Artist Poetically Illustrated Art

"Black Love" 

Through experience I have found "Black Love" to be an amazing experience. A connection between two people who accept each other regardless of skin tone, background, or flaws. This painting was inspired by the emotions i've felt being in love with a black man. Someone who supports me, provides for our family, cares for me deeply, and is my closest and most amazing friend and partner. He embraces my hair texture, and my chocolate skin. We understand that our ancestors had to fight and suffer for the black love they felt so we cherish the freedom we have to openly love each other. I created the definition below based on my experience with my black love.

Black Love

/'blak lev/

1. An intense feeling of deep affection between two people of African descent. 2. Suspected to be non existent due to the faulty perception of black families in society. 2. Scientific: original family, ones from which all life was created or evolved. 4. A commited partnership composed of lov, trust, loyalty, laughter, prayer, and support.

Synonyms: caring, deep affection for, adore, passion

Adjectives: strong, amorous, adoration, devotion, cherished, heartfelt

Black Child Destiney Powell Artist Poetically Illustrated Art

"Black Child" 

After welcoming love and partnership into your life sometimes we are blessed with a beautiful person who was created from that love. In this series the "Black Child" emerged. I did not base this child on a specific gender. This is a baby meant to relate to all children as children of love. Whether conceived or carried in love, our black children deserve to know how magical they are. I have 2 beautiful love children of my own, and we will be welcoming our third magical baby in September. This painting is for them to know how needed they are. How the black culture needs them to be educated and strong, unified and welcoming in order to continue the traditions of our ancestors. I created the definition below for our children. This is for you:

Black Child

/blak' CHild/

1.Male or female child of African American Descent. 2. Subject to extreme judgement and oppression by the faulty portrayal of black culture. Scientific: child of the mother and father of civilization; son or daughter of the original man and woman. One who is destined to enhance the future of a mighty nation.

Synonym: son, daughter, cousin, friend, brother, sister, student, warrior

Adjectives: intelligent, strong, beautiful, playful, friendly, courageous,  

Motherland Destiney Powell Artist Poetically Illustrated Art

"Motherland"

We all originated from Africa. "The Motherland" was the beginning of our various shades of skin, texture of hair, spiritual beliefs, and physical features. Our history was stripped from our ancestors, although some of them preserved bits of it we slowly lost our roots. This piece "Motherland" is meant to take us back to where we belong. To inspire us to find out where we come from and to reconnect with who we are, to what our ancestors lost. We begin to find our real truth when we go back to our native land and open our eyes to what once was life for our people. The definition below is very simply put.

Moth·er·land

/ˈməT͟Hərˌland/

noun

noun: motherland; plural noun: motherlands

  1. one's native country.

Thank you for getting closer to my definition series. I hope these pieces inspire you to embrace your culture. We are all different, we made different choices for our lives. But rather we live in the suburbs or the inner city projects we are all important to our culture, our history, and our communities. We should come together and help each other grow, sustain, and rebuild. There was once a time when all we had is each other. Being black in America today is not easy, but if we support each other we can make change happen. 

 

Love Destiney

Raw Nashville Art&Fashion Show-Trend

I had the pleasure of showing my work with Raw Nashville at The City Winery in Nashville on June 28th! Summer "16"!

Today I want to tell you guys my experience with Raw, the pros and cons, what I wish I had known, and what we all would like to know... Did you sell anything?

So lets get to it shall we?...

My Experience with Raw Nashville

Personally for me Raw was an amazing experience! We had a meet and greet one month prior to the show to go over details such as arrival times, performance times, what we were expected to bring, what was being provided, parking, ticket sales, and the venues rules.

The meet and greet was fun! I met some great artists we exchanged tips and tricks for creating and selling art! Some of us will actually be collaborating later this year! 

The Raw staff was absolutely amazing with answering any questions and helping us set up our booths to help captivate the audience. I felt that everything was coordinated pretty well there were a few bumps but that is to be expected I won't deduct any points for it!

I definitely recommend Raw for emerging and seasoned artists! Its great for networking and meeting artists of different crafts as well as locating your clients, discovering who is interested in your work and why! I got to speak with a lot of people about my work regarding what they liked and how I could improve and that is always amazing!!! So overall my experience was amazing and I will definitely be showing with them again!

Pros and Cons

Pros would have to be the massive amount of exposure! So many people attended the event and they were actually interested in the art and willing to purchase and give feedback which was amazing!

Another Pro is connecting with other creative people who share the same interests as you do! That is always a plus and helps you build a creative community around you filled with people who support you and will critique your work honestly! I mean what more could an artsy girl ask for?

Cons??? There were a few and I mean very few!! So few I only have one which would be hanging space. I felt a little deceived regarding the hanging space and the walls we were given to hang the work on. We had a few incidents with the walls falling over prior to the show because we were sharing the walls. By sharing I mean we had wire wall racks and you had one side and another artist had the other. If the other artist happened to have work that was heavier than yours you ran the risk of having your display wall tumble down. Some artists got lucky and they were given spaces along the actual wall so they could create a small pop up like space! Which I loved by the way!!

 

What I Wish I Had Done-Notes for Future Shows

So these may be a given for you guys because some of you are pros but for me I'm still working on my career and I have only been full time since February and this was my first show so give me a break!!

Any who!! So my hubby and I took a little tour around the venue to see the other artists work and to network and socialize and of all that good stuff!! That's how I noticed these things and why I will never do another show without them!

Here's my list:

1. Contact List - Requesting names and emails for the clients visiting there booth! Why are contact lists great to have? You have direct information to reach clients who admire your work to market directly to those customers!

2. Social Media and Business Card Displayed- IN YOUR FACE!!!- Displaying social media information up close and personal for immediate access to your online profile in the event you are speaking to another client and the on lookers don't want to interrupt you! Also you get instant followers they follow you right then and there!!!

3. Prints and Smaller, Less Expensive Versions of Large Popular Pieces - Most artists had postcards, prints, and small canvas prints of there work on the table for purchase. I asked around and most of the items offered were super inexpensive starting as low as $10.00 and the prints were bagged with business cards and branded bags so the customer can find you easily should they want more work! And cheaper work that is also easy to purchase sales quicker than the large pieces no one wants to haul around all night!

4. Live Painting- Painting live is a great conversation starter! People are fascinated by the gift of creativity and they love to see you in the act! Also it helps pass time by! One of the artists actually set up her easel and paints to allow guests at her booth to paint on the painting! At the end of the night she had one beautiful abstract piece which she donated to Raw! Isn't that amazing?

5. Freebies- Small 4x5 art prints with candy or some cool trinket attached with a business card for the clients to take! Everyone visiting may not have come prepared to spend but having the option of free goody bags keeps me coming back and you have a refresher for them to keep your work fresh on their brain after the event is over! If you are giving a super cool crochet bracelet for free, every time you look at it you will remember where you got the bracelet and you will talk about it to friends and family when they ask! Am I right or am I right?

And Finally

Girl Did you Sell Anything?...

YES!!! I did!! I sold lots of prints from my shop linked above and I received 12 portrait orders all who actually purchased them! AND I was commissioned to do two very huge and expensive abstract pieces for a local interior designer. I was also invited to show my work at 3 events planned for the fall and I could not be more excited!! 

Raw Nashville opened doors for me and my small business! I am so grateful for the experience and I can't wait to show with them again in the future!

For all of my fellow artistic readers interested in showing I say do it! Go to www.rawartists.org and submit your work and check out shows in your surrounding areas! You may see me at one of them!!

I know this was a super long post but I love you guys and I wanted to share with you and give you tips!

Have an amazing Monday!!! And thanks for reading!!!

 

Love,

Destiney