“My creative work includes illustrating, sketching, graphic design, photography, painting, gold leafing, mixed media, and collage techniques. I believe there are two sides to every story, and seem to be quite interested in capturing the side that is not heard.
My Heavenly Father has me capturing the stories of the African American families, and communities that have formed our modern day United States. Growing up African American, it gave me hope to hear about a people who when faced with adversity never gave up and still pushed for equal rights for all. I am seeking to bring healing to the world my Heavenly Father created with one word, Dafri. It comes from three words. Dance, Africa, Free. It was an answer to a specific prayer to my Heavenly Father. He spoke of four principles I was to use for a new artistic expression. They were persistence, self awareness, openness and release. This was and has become the root of my artistic process.
I persistently seek Him asking for inspiration. He gives me the idea. It is normally only 50%. Through the second principle of self awareness or the peeling back stage the rest of the idea is formed. The third principle of openness is simple but not easy. I must be open to His leading and prompting. If I am closed to His direction the process comes to a stand still. The last part of the process is release. It is a kind of resting stage. It is when it all comes together. I get to trust Him that it is finished.”
Displayed May 29 – July 21, 2017
Artist Statement from Tianlan Deng:
‘The Chinese education system plays a major influence on standardizing the identity of China’s youth. For decades, this system has left a stigma on each generation of young Chinese. I am deeply concerned about the fact that this political and repressive system de-individualizes the nation’s future generation, and my body of work intends to reveal the Chinese school life in order to raise the awareness of the long-lasting effects of this problematic system.
Lofty Cage is a composite installation which consists of four sections —- Schoolroom, Tablet, Loop, and Fence. Schoolroom references a common Chinese classroom, and developed out of my last show “Rote Shadows” at the Mill & Max Contemplative Arts Gallery. Schoolroom combines with two wooden constructions, hanging scrolls, Chinese school uniforms, surveillance and classroom elements. By applying and organizing these elements, I tend to create a center scenario of China’s school life.’
Bridging the Legacy: Keaton Young
Displayed May 1 – July 24, 2017
Bridging the Legacy is an intergenerational exhibit celebrating the ingenuity, influence, and creativity of East End based families, past, present, and future. Using a multimedia approach, this exhibit showcases the importance of family, how talents and skills are invested and passed down generation to generation. Discovering the parallels of artistic and cultural expressions of the selected artists frame the dozens and dozens of narratives found within the historic East End neighborhood. Unearthing the past to gain a greater understanding of our shared history and future is the basis of the work created for Bridging the Legacy.
Embracing the lessons, values, and experiences modeled by previous generations, featured artists are challenged to produce a collection of work that showcases the legendary work of the past in relation to their contemporary interpretation.
Artist statement from Keaton Young:
‘My art is an expression of myself and my beliefs. At an early age I set out to capture the real world, thus ridding myself of stick figures, circle shaped heads with two dots for eyes, and puff clouds. When others said I couldn’t do it, I’d remind myself ‘All things are possible through Christ.
I primarily draw people, with an understanding that not everything in life is black and white. The pencil was our third wheel, along with charcoal, chalk pastels, acrylic paint, and oil pastels. Drawing is my means of escape, an adventure mapping out faces, transforming paper, canvas, or panel into something others can lose themselves in.’