After learning of the rumored
live-action film "African Samurai Yasuke" in 2019, I found myself searching far and wide for more information on this legendary hero.
The tales and legends of Yasuke eventually became a source of inspiration for me during the difficulties of 2020.
From his humble beginnings, to eventually obtaining one of the highest social statuses in Japan as a Samurai, encouraged me to believe that anything is possible.
THE BLACK SAMURAI
"Yasuke went through his daily routines each day. Those he'd learn from the bodyguards while in India…How would I kill Valignano?...How would I defend him?"
-African Samurai: the true Tale of Yasuke, Chapter 4. Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard
Flowers hold special meanings in Japanese culture and were used to decorate kimonos and Kamon (family crest).
I used the birth flowers of my friends and tried to embody their characteristics into my illustrations.
I visited Japan in 2019 for a research project looking at the relationship between Black and Asian culture. While there I met up with a close friend of mine who, while studying with me in the United States years prior, told me about why he was inspired by Black culture and break dancing and how big it is in his hometown in Japan.
This initial conversation prompted my research on how art creates opportunities for positive cultural exchange.
learning about Yasuke's interaction with Oda Nobunaga in Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard's book "African Samurai: The True Tale of Yasuke" continued to fuel my desire to learn more about the interactions between Black and Japanese culture.
THE FLOATING WORLD,
LIVING IN THE MOMENT,
DETACHED FROM THE
BOTHERS OF LIFE
Ukiyo-e: “floating world” or “sad troublesome world,” paintings. these were very popular in Japan during the 16th and 17th centuries.
They usually depicted beautiful women, courtesans and geisha; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; history and legend; travel scenes and landscapes.
I took inspiration from Japanese Ukiyo-e paintings (Floating world / sad troublesome world) which were popular during the 16th and 17th centuries.
I wanted to depict Yasuke in a way that he might have been drawn in his time (or as close to it as possible). I also loved the flowing lines and intricate details on the clothing.
FOR MORE UKIYO-E WORK
BXK: BLACK HISTORY MONTH
We all have those people that try to categorize what we can and can’t do based on our “ethnic stereotypes”.
One of my role models during my punk band days was Stevis Harrison of FEVER333 (formerly in the CHARIOT).
At the time I had a band of my own and didn’t know of any other black musicians in the Hardcore/Punk music scene. So discovering Stevis gave me the confidence to not let anyone else’s opinions of me dictate my future.
BXK: STEVIS HARRISON
"BLACK IS THE MARRIAGE OF RISK AND CREATIVITY. TO BE BLACK IS TO MANIFEST REVOLUTION" -EBEN
BXK: TAYLOR RIVERS
Taylor Rivers, a badass model killing it in South Korea. She inspires me to pursue my studies on Asian culture and to continue to create opportunities for positive cultural exchanges between the Black and Asian communities.
The purpose of this project was to highlight Black individuals whom I felt pushed the status quo when it came to "acceptable Black" behavior and lifestyles.
I often ask myself "whom I am inspiring"? How is my presence/passion in the world encouraging or bringing hope to others? These are some of my heroes who inspire me to live freely.
BXK: DANIEL FARRIS. D'SMOKE
Bgirl Ami | Gold 금색
Ryan Elusive | Bboy Brown 갈색
Bboy Church | Elusive Silver 은색
GOOD FOOT CREW: Bgirl Ami | Gold 금색
PLAYING WITH SHAPE
I was inspired by the relationships between positive and negative space and the Korean Hangul writing system. It started as an exercise to create bold shapes and poses without using linework. Then evolved into recreating "shapes" and "action lines" of the hangul characters with human characters.
I saw her dressed in a brilliant blue, with floral ornamentation as her crown
THE YOUNG LEADER 푸른 카리스마
I was Inspired by photographer Kim Kyung Soo's "Full Moon Story" series.
I wanted to play with the negative space of the composition and its intersection of shapes with the Models.
The color red is used to represent authority and protection from evil spirits. The shoe represents the act of following these rules as you walk through life.
THE RED SHOE 빨간 색 구두
Kim Kyung Soo's "Full Moon Story" VOGUE 2008
My introduction to Hanbok came by way of attending a Hanbok workshop at MICA fabric lab in spring 2019 with
Korean-American artist, Mina Cheon.
I became interested in the form, construction, colors, and intricate symbolism that the Hanbok embodied and decided to start this project to learn about it's history and evolution
Joy 녹색 카리스마
In a more developed version of this project, garments will be labeled in Korean and English with descriptions of their function.
A timeline would also be created to showcase the influences that led to the evolution of certain garments.
While this project is still a work in progress I couldn't help but share a few sneak peeks.
(Expected launch SUMMER 2022)