Last spring, Leslie took a fellowship with Piedmont Council of the Arts, where she helped manage their Arts Access Project, whose goal is to increase arts participation within low-income communities around Charlottesville. This was a very exciting time in for her as she was just beginning to conceptualize this project, and was, for the first time, working for a non-profit arts organization. The position was a perfect blend between her job at that time, full time AmeriCorps member, and her secret goal of creating art.
She met a ton of great people while working on Arts Access, including Emily Tanner, who let her borrow a signed copy of Pitch Blackness by Hank Willis Thomas (she will return it to you so soon, Emily).
I’ve decided to add the artist’s picture to these inspiration posts, mainly cause I like to know what the people I admire look like, and I like portraits.
In Pitch Blackness, Thomas, a photographer and visual artist, focuses on race, advertising, and popular culture. His work is inspiring. It has a narrative quality that is instantly appealing. He tells the story of a family member being murdered for a gold chain using stop animation and action figures. The artist is probably best known for his Branded collection, where he flavored popular ad campaigns with a twist of oppression. Thomas’ work is also important because of the attention it pays to the Black body, specifically the Black, male body.
Again, kudos to Emily Tanner for introducing me to Thomas’ work.
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