"Hearing Mothership Connection when I was 12 or 13 blew my mind that somebody could be that way out there."
Please give us a brief bio. How, and when, did you discover your passion?
Well, one I love my family. Two, I was happy to be on this earth. And three, I knew I was creative before I, I even knew what being creative was all about. So, I think once I was finally introduced to some form of art, it just took a hold of me.
I’ve been creating ever since that point of my life, which was very, very young. I’ve been showing professionally for more than 40, 45 years as an artist. I have over 60 shows on my bio. 30 of those are solo shows. So art has been a part of my life.
Art has been my life, practically all my life. I’ve shown all around the world, which is beautiful. I have a show going in London right now at the Carl Freeman Gallery. I’m an author, I’m a father, I’m a husband. I love my family. So, everything that you see is a part of all of that creativity. My work is about just bringing knowledge to the world through art and through my voice.
Do you have coffee, caffeine or a routine before “Entering The Matrix” and start to fire on all cylinders?
I just get out of bed and come to my studio. That’s my routine. You know? Once your mind is focused on what you want to create, nothing to me matters. Before I create, I think I do have a routine because I like to make sure everything is clean and tidy.
The floor to clean the house is just immaculate. And now my wife, that’s not a domestic job for her to do. It’s not because I wash dishes, I vacuum and I clean the windows. Those things I just like to do for myself. But, I do like it like that because when I’m working, I come in the house and I get up first thing in the morning, I come out to the studio and I work until I work.
Sometimes my wife has to come and tell me it’s time to come in the house. So when I do come in the house, I just go to bed, I eat something, and then I go to bed. You know, I don’t care, you know, I’ll wash my hands and whatever, and she’ll tell me, you smell bad, you take a shower. You know, really? But I want that smell. I want that on me. I don’t wanna lose it because I want that same energy to go into the next time I’m creative.
So if I get to the point where she says, Hey, you need to take a shower because you stink. You know, I’ll then go take a shower. That’s my cue. You know, <laugh>, she’ll just move away from me in bed, you know? She won’t get near me. But, no, I’m scared, man. That’s the way it is. I want this whole thing of art all around me. You know? I want that aura. I need to have that when I’m creating. It’s very important for me. It may sound strange to some people, but I think most artists get that. That routine in my life is important.
As a kid, who was your biggest motivator?
My mother. There’s no question about it, because my mother knew what I was gonna be even before I did. My mother called me Michel Angelo before I even knew who Michel Angelo was. She just saw the creativity in me. She saw it. You’ll read, if you read my bio, I talk about my mother drawing. She used to make clothes for me and my brothers. I was just watching in amazement, you know? And then one day I was watching her make clothes. I was four or five years old and I was watching her make these clothes.
She had these patterns that she would look at and then she’d put them to the side and start drawing her own patterns. And I’m like, mom, what are you doing? She’d say “I’m drawing”. I’m like, wow, can I see that mom? And she said, yeah. So I looked at these drawings that she made. I’m like, mom, can I have a pencil and some paper? And she’d say yeah. I couldn’t even read or write at that time. I’d come in my room, have all this stuff in my head and I’d just draw it down, you know? If I wanted a hot wheel or something, and my mother and father couldn’t have afford to buy it for me, I would just draw it. Then, I would make it the way I wanted and I thought, wow, this is beautiful.
My father didn’t understand because he always tell me, “boy, I don’t know how you could do this”, but he never stopped me. He never said “son, you need to be realistic and find something else… some other kind of job”. My mom and my dad are my biggest fans. It’s beautiful to have parents that are on your side. And for parents, even if you don’t understand your child’s talent, don’t stop them from being what they’re doing, especially if it’s positive. The worst thing you could do is try and stop them from doing this. It’s the worst thing you could do.
If you could choose one artist, living or deceased, who inspired your artistic style the most?
Um, two people. One… Michelangelo. Everybody says it’s cliche, it’s like, Hey man, come on Michaelangelo. Really? What’s the big deal about him? Well, I went to see the statue of David. My wife and I went for our 50th birthday. She said, okay, we’re gonna go to Florence, Italy. So we get on a plane, go to Florence and she says, I’m gonna take you out for our birthday, to this place.
We didn’t even have to get in line. We could just walk right in the door. That’s just my wife and she had always done things like that. So we go in… I look up and I see David and I wanted to run and just grab that sculpture. I had looked at it my entire life. The first art book I got was a book my mother gave me of Michelangelo’s book. I still cherish that book. That’s how much his work means to me.
And I’ve been to the Louv. I’ve been all over. Everywhere we go, we go to museums. But I’ve never seen anything like Michelangelo’s work the way it just, I connect with it because he had a love for the human form that I’ve never seen another artist display in their work. I’ve never seen that. Now I don’t try to create like him, but I understand his love and understanding for the human form for the soul.
Now, my next person would be George Clinton. Cuz I’m a big fester, you know, I’m a super, super big fester. I hung out with George a couple times. I had his publicist living with me for about three months. I don’t do drugs, but every day I was with him, it was like I was high every day, lol. And he didn’t do drugs because I don’t allow drugs in the house… it’s just the aura of that. But hanging out with George as a child, as an idol, and I don’t even have idols, but hearing Mothership Connection, Parliament Funkadelic, when I was like 12 or 13 years old, it blew my mind that somebody could be that way out there. I want my work to be way out like that… so let me see if I can let my mind go way out like that with this clay.
Shameless Plug: Are you working on anything you’re proud of and would like to share?
Yeah, I’m working on my book. Yeah. Yeah. I should have a copy of it in here, but I, I don’t, I’m working on my book. Yeah. I just published my first book. I did Identity Theft: Creations from a Social Conscious, you know. I started this book in 2017 and it’s gone through, uh, like five different renditions in order for it to get to where it’s at right now. It started right at the end of President Barack Obama’s presidency when the influx of murders amongst young black males was just at its height.
It’s always been happening, but because of social media, uh, and media in general, um, having to publicize this, they can no longer get away with not having to publicize because social media is too, too powerful now.
It happened where I lived, and they shot a young kid. He was wielding a knife and there’s like 15 cops. They see this kid and he’s across the street, and the cops shot him like 25 times. It’s this young black kid, wielding a knife, you know?
Now I don’t know what other methods they used to try to stop him, but a white kid, they will shoot him in the leg or something like that. Or they’d call out someone to stop him or they’d taser him or something like that. They’d find another way to not end this white kid’s life. But our kids, us black people, they don’t see us as human, so they shot him dead.
But what they did when they shot him dead, they didn’t just shoot one black kid – a young man dead. They killed an entire generation. And we have to understand that the power of that, when you kill a young black man, you cut off that family. That family can no longer produce anymore through that black male and, the police and everyone else, knows that. So when I started Identity Theft, I saw Black Lives Matter for the first time because they were protesting down the street.
I asked my wife, who are these young kids? She said, that’s Black Lives Matter. So I asked myself, well what am I doing as an artist? So the next morning, like a bolt of lightning identity theft came to my head. I mean, it was the most spiritual thing that I’ve ever had happen to me.
So this is a must-read book, Identity Theft. I wish I had it here. I’ll send you a picture. Maybe we can post it up there. So that’s one of the things. And the other thing is just to continue to create art, continue to spread knowledge, you know, I mean, that’s just, it’s who, it’s who I am. That’s why I’m here on this earth.
Any inspirational words of wisdom?
Tell the truth. That’s it. It’s that simple.