Jennifer Gillia Cutshall
ARTIST-A-DAY-BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V & Revealing a Hidden Past with artist, Charles Eady
"I have found that determination influences actualization,"
How does your work interact with the theme of A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism and Beyond?
Anna is a symbol of achieving a purpose while a struggle continues, she desperately wanted to read. However, anti-literacy laws were written to prevent her from reading. She secretly sought the help of a boy who visited her on Sunday afternoons. The boy asked Anna, “Why do you want to read?” At first Anna shrugged her shoulders, then she folded her arms and said, “I want to read myself free.” Bristow knew how to read and write his family was free before the Revolutionary War. He used a crooked stick to teach Anna by writing letters in the sand. She and many others found unique ways to learn how to read.
Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process?
My art is meant to uplift by teaching unique history. I begin each painting with the intention of telling an under told story. I feel that new concepts expand the viewers ability to revision.
I’m currently working on a series about free blacks in the south, titled, “DeFacing Race.” I’ve been researching free blacks who owned land, property and took matters to the court.
It transformed my view of the early south. I have spent years searching for knowledge about their daily lives. My art and a book I wrote titled, “Hidden Freedom,” are sources to characterize this inspiring history. Through learning more about the ambitions of those from the early south, I aim to revision the division.
What draws you to the medium you choose?
Ultimately, I allow the painting to direct me as I paint. I look to grow and expand on my methods during the process, working with mixed media gives me an openness for something unplanned. It causes me to create something I would not have envision otherwise. For this reason, I work mostly in mixed media.
Who inspires you? And what do you do to get inspired?
I was at a bookstore years ago when I discovered a book about Basquiat. I was inspired by his story and how he created such emotionally powerful paintings.
Whenever I feel like my paintings are getting too tight, I’ll watch a video of his works. Although most were removed after his record-breaking art sale. There was one (in particular) that I liked a lot (the one with the Beastie Boys soundtrack). I’m also inspired by impressionism and abstract expressionism. In total, whenever I learn about anyone doing something impressive, I get inspired.
What do you want your work to achieve in general or specifically?
I would specifically like for this piece to show determination. Anna knew it would benefit her to read, so she found a way to make it happen. Her circumstances strongly suggested it was not possible, but she did not listen, she did not deter her mind from the nation of reading. In general, I want to flip the myths about south, by including those who were excluded from history and textbooks.
If you could tell your viewers one thing what you would tell them?
I have found that determination influences actualization.
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