Caul & Response

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so, i wrote this book see…

50+ pages of poetry and 10 pages of digital collage and illustration.

my updated mission statement as posted on facebook:

“though afrofuturism is emerging as the speculative genre of choice, afrosurrealism is considered its sub-genre (even though i believe that term to actually be the elder of the two) and is probably the term that best describes my approach to art and writing… i think surrealism is the foundation for a proper futurism to rest upon… i prefer to twist ‘the right now’ or even to rewrite the past without the interruptions of holocaust, terrorism, and genocide… i’m always “what if that bullshit never happened and we were allowed to progress ‘normally’ as all other cultures have typically done, merging the immediate moment with their historical beginnings – this, to me, is how fairy tale and mythology become canonically romanticized in order to influence laws, sciences, educational systems, personal relationships, popular media, etc…. there is no ‘superpower’ without the controlling of one’s past as it flourishes in the future. i think that’s what makes me a surrealist – assuming the mantel of ‘victor’ in order to write or art the history of my people into a contemporary commodity. victors all slant history in their favor… i cant maintain being restrained as a stereotype if i am to influence the perception of future generations… i must kill my captors (metaphorically would be best, i suppose) if i am to liberate my bloodline. that’s what writing and art do for me.”

Caul & Response embodies those statements to me. i’m not a poofy, stuffed shirt kinda guy – i try to avoid pretense as much as i can – but my writing attempts to bridge the gap between academic poetry and accessible poetry for everyday people. failure to achieve that goal depends upon how far to the polar extremes of those two perspectives the reader has positioned his- or herself. personally, my split personas all live in those extremes, however they do attempt collaboration from time to time…

C&R is the embodiment of ghosts living in my head and the spirits of my ancestors chasing me down in the streets, flicking my ears as i try to sleep… i would say that i can’t stand them sometimes, but they are always watching and i’m really tired of waking up with my mouth the spa for all household spiders.

so there’s that.

anyway, get Caul & Response at Argus House Press for 18 bones… by one (or two!) copies for yourself or for when kissing up to your literary professors or for significant-other-poetry-lovers in your life; they’ll thank you for it. trust me…

i’m a poet so you know that i know of these things!

The Birds of Opulence – 3 proposed covers

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the benefits for a graphic artist being engaged to a published author: you get first dibs to their book cover wants and needs.

being that Crystal Wilkinson’s new novel engages non-linear memory the literary device connecting her characters, her preference was for the inclusion of the sankofa bird in her cover image. 3 sankofa versions were submitted (including the one in this post) along with the other two rough-sketched illustrations; these three posted here were rejected, but her and her publisher, University Press of Kentucky, chose one of the two remaining images not shown and i’ll post it once the UPK designers finish adding their touches to it and we get closer to the spring 2016 release date. personally, i prefer the sankofa bird shown here, but designers dont always get what they want… even when dating the client.

ex libris bookplate

bookplate

bookplate promotional material for The Wild Fig Books + Coffee.

the thing about being denied so many artistic privileges, definitely as a people despite the few individual exceptions, is a nonexistent african/african-american ephemera collection. when such art exists, it’s typically reflective of stereotyped white attitudes concerning black culture in america. seldom was it ever created beyond the point of view of dehumanizing vaudeville characterizations. that cultural perspective is what prevented (and still prevents) the collective romanticizing of african images – this lack in the perception of black as beautiful is what hinders america’s full enfranchisement of its black citizens… when all the whimsy you know of a people is damaging buffoonery and you learn these tropes a child, then how, as an adult, do you begin to counter such embedded beliefs? such attitudes exist in even the most liberal of associates and its this unexamined aspect of privilege that often leads to misunderstandings between allies in the struggle for human rights.

not that this little piece of art corrects that… but hopefully our cultural stamp will be as beautifully innocuous in the media as any other culture.

poem: shaka zulu of yellow springs (for dave chappelle)

the following is a writing prompt from 2010 in honor of the unofficial mayor of yellow springs ohio, mr. dave chappelle who unbeknownst to himself almost caught the front end of our camry and making me in the process known as “the man who killed dave chappelle”. who wants that on their record? i could never internet ever again.

typically, this website is devoted entirely to my graphic design and art projects, but since this prompt appears in the art journal i carried around at the time, then i’m fine with the exception. the poem is fluff, but i’ll follow it with a few other images from the journal.

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“shaka zulu of yellowsprings”

the third time was the charm,

spotted dave the first day in town,

and then everyday since.

lebron (before miami) was king,

but dave chappelle

was the shining black prince

of ohio’s miami providence.

he jumped out like a skit

in the parking lot of tom’s market

in the role of ‘old black felon

as defense attorney’ – “hit me, son,

and it’s 5 to 10!”

dave smiled / and we drove on

as i talked shit to suppress my awe,

thinking i should call my nephew erik

who loved the chappelle show…

that was sunday.

monday saw dave unchaperoned,

a back packed zulu king without his court;

then monday night on motorcycle. tuesday

with his muslim wife &

beautiful chappelle childrens.

wednesday he was holy roller

handling snakes in revival outside

emporium wine + underground cafe,

his captive crowd ooooing and aaahing.

i pretended not to notice; diverted crystal

to the ice cream store on the corner.

thursday morning and i’m writing a chappelle poem

in a used book i’m making into “art” – the first page

of a single-page chapbook for chappelle.

but if the comedy channel shells out a million

for the rights then it’s a wrap!

….

dave was actually cool… our last night in yellow springs he came over to our table at sunshine (or sunrise?!?!) cafe – too lazy to google for the correct name; you do it – and started talking. he’d seen us avoiding him the entire week and i think he was curious as to why we never approached him because crystal obviously wanted to, but i’d drag her kicking and screaming in another direction… but dave was really cool. talked to us about yellow springs and politics and stuff for about 30 minutes. he’s a really nice guy. yellow springs is where we had planned to ‘retire’, but opening a bookstore pretty much sucked all the jam out of that particular doughnut. for now.

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afrosurrealism

conceptual project for UK professor, Dr. Adam Banks, from spring 2014. he hosted for the Conference  on College Composition and Communications in Chicago and as a result he got to choose the theme, which focused on the subject of afrofuturism and its roll in digital communication and media (and vice-a-versa).

the image resuscitates the brutality visited upon the man known primarily as Gordon… the scarification became symbolic propaganda for the North in its defense of liberty for all Americans against the terrorist organization known as “The Deep South” that physically ruled much of the lower states prior to the 20th century using perverted, fundamentalist versions of Christianity to justify its worldview – a social condition that continues to thrive in both spirit and legality in too many American states to this very day.

but in the graphic, Gordon is symbolically used as a “celestial gateway”, appropriately involving the vévé of Eshu Elegbara as his role as ‘gatekeeper’ and ‘keeper of doors’ in some West African-based religions from Nigeria and Haiti to Cuba and Brazil. visually, it also owes a stylistic nod to the works of Bearden and Matisse. Romare Bearden remains very inspirational for much of my collage aesthetic; his work is magnificent.

in the end, Professor Banks used an entirely different design from me for the CCCC event. the image to the left, below, is the one he chose. the image on the right was an alternate version. both still used the Eshu vévé in constellational form. the original “Gordon” version will certainly be used for a different (probably personal) project.

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