Friday, October 18, 2019
It was a pleasure having Cayenne Harris visit my art studio to discuss ideas for the Hyde Park Art Center Exhibition, Not Just Another Pretty Face. In getting to know Cayenne better, I asked her questions about her family, favorite foods, and travels. She shared with me that one of her family members was part of the Black Panther movement. I thought this would be an interesting element to incorporate into the painting. Cayenne was familiar with my portrait and still life work, so she was open to either subject matter for the project. As we continued talking, Cayenne shared her experience of traveling to Cuba. She described the vibrant colors on the buildings and delicious taste of mangoes, which is one of her favorites fruits. A day after Cayenne’s visit to my studio, I decided to paint a still life using mangoes and placing them in a Cuban inspired environment. I wanted to use a saturated color palette to show a decadent time in Cuba’s history, but also show the passage of time and decay with the cracked tiles and peeling paint on the wall. Hidden in the peeling paint is a fist symbolizing the Black Panther’s and a Jewish life symbol, which represent Cayenne. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work on such a unique project, and I hope to have more like this in the future.