Doyle Lane – Ceramist

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1. Mutual Savings and Loan Mural, 1964, clay, 17 × 8 ft.; 2. Small vases or as the artist called them, “weed pots”; 3. Doyle Lane posing with one of his ceramic “paintings”

As much as I love art, I’ve never really paid much attention to ceramics. So out of sheer boredom and curiosity, I decided to research the medium. Low and behold, I find out about Doyle Lane and my love affair begins.

I was immediately attracted to the simple beauty of Lane’s work. But as is the case with most artists, the simplicity is a stamp of mastery. Lane was an innovator who transformed his work from functional pieces such as vases, bowls, and the like to large ceramic ‘paintings” most notably, the mural he created in 1964 for the Mutual Savings and Loan office. The mural consists of thousands of hand formed, fired, and glazed disks intricately placed together on several panels. To glaze the color red is a tricky process yet Lane used the unpredictable results to his advantage, allowing the variations of the color to give the piece depth and richness.

There isn’t much information about Doyle Lane available but what is known is impressive. During a time when representation of black artists was essentially nonexistent in museums and galleries, Lane earned his living as an active artist and maintained a studio in the El Sereno district in Los Angeles. His career speaks to his ingenuity.

Now thanks to Lane’s work, I will no longer turn a blind’s eye to ceramics. I’ll definitely be on the look out to see his work up close and personal!

Eargasm Friday – Total “Can’t You See”

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Biggie. Check. Dark shades. Check. Puff Daddy bounce. Check. Girl group over a dope beat. Check, check, check. This song is quintessential 90s and today’s jam as I head to my hometown for a 90s party. I anticipate dancing until my knees ache courtesy of DJ Young Venom and DJ Jonasty. In the meantime, I’ll be singing along with this oldie but goodie. Enjoy and happy Friday! {peace}

More {dope} Ndebele Art

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I love the rich, bold patterns of the Ndebele tribe. The Ndebele artists, primarily women, rely on the environment for art supplies; water and soil for pigment and chicken feathers for paint brushes. Their patterns cover the exterior of their homes communicating rituals and rites of passages. Ndebele by Margaret Courtney-Clarke is a wonderful exploration of Ndebele art which includes intricate beadwork. It’s a wonderful book to have in your library.

{peace}

Eargasm Friday – Ibeyi “River”

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If you are following me on social media (FB, Twitter, IG), you know that I am completely enamored with the Cuban-French duo, Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bee-yee) and their self-titled debut album. It’s a new love – only a few days old – but it’s pure. Twin sisters, Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, weave together a variety of instruments, genres, and languages (They sing in English, Yoruba, and French.) that result in a rich, ethereal sound. For those who are fanatics of good album art, the packaging design for the vinyl is one of the dopest I’ve seen in a long time. The design alone is worth the money.

I don’t have a favorite song just yet but “River” is pretty darn close. Peep the video, in all of it’s unconventional glory, below.

Esther Mahlangu – Painter

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(left to right)1. Esther Mahlangu, painting; 2. The artist custom painted a 1991 BMW 525i; 3 – 6. Patterns created by the artist over the years

Esther Mahlangu is a 80-years old, South African painter. She belongs to the Ndebele people, a tribe known for their colorful and symmetrical patterns. A master of the craft, Mahlangu has traveled the world and painted everything from walls to canvases to cars. BMW has a long running series, Art Car, where artists are invited to use a BMW as a canvas. In 1991, Mahlangu became the first woman and the 12th artist to complete an Art Car.

Though she has garnered international recognition, the artist has chosen to reside in her village where she’s opened a school for young artists. I call that the epitome of {fly}.

Nick Cave – Fiber, Sculpture, Performance

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Nick Cave’s “soundsuits” are absolutely sensational. The Chicago-based artist, educator, and former Alvin Ailey dancer creates whimsical costumes rooted in ritual, sculpture, textiles, and movement. Cave collects various objects such as buttons, fabrics, twigs, and toys with the intent to repurpose them into something new and wonderful.

The soundsuits are inspired by the masquerade costumes found throughout Africa, specifically West Africa. Big, bold, and otherworldly, the suits are a dream to look at when stationary. However, magic happens when the costumes are in motion. Cave seeks to question identity – who are we and who can we become? His work requires the performer to surrender his or her identity and take on the personality of the suit while maintaining an awareness of his/her body. Simply, Cave’s work is poetry in motion.

See his “poetry” below.

Eargasm Friday – Maxwell “Let’s Not Play The Game”

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I’ve been singing Maxwell’s “Let’s Not Play The Game” all week and when I’m not singing the song, I’m watching the video. Though the song is super dope, it’s the video that does it for me. I’m a sucka for earth tones, jewel tones, and Maxwell’s ah-mazing hair. The parallax effect and slow motion play in the video is killer. It accentuates the choreography which is the work of dance diva, Fatima Robinson. She also choreographed “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” by Busta Rhymes. Her resume is crazy! Peep the hotness below.

Happy Friday!

Simone Leigh – Sculptor, Filmmaker

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I think I gasped when I first saw a cowrie shell sculpture by Simone Leigh. Literally, gasped. Her sculptures are a magnificent culmination of African Diasporian culture. Like the sculptures found throughout West Africa, Leigh’s works communicate messages from the past, present, and future. It’s the subtleties of her work that convey the most information – the cast iron blackness, the softly tinted colored roses, the speckles on the cowrie shell. It’s the anthropologic elements that I like most about Leigh’s work. The underlying messages of race and culture that reads like a Zora Neale Huston book. Most importantly, I dig those cowries ALOT!

Last summer, she created an installation called the Free People’s Medical Clinic for Creative Time’s community-based, art exhibition, Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn. The installation, while giving homage to black female medical workers, was an interactive exploration of public health care. In addition to unique performances, the clinic provided humane healthcare experiences such as yoga and acupuncture sessions, health screenings, and black folk dance classes. All classes, workshops, and services were offered by Brooklyn-based practitioners.

Leigh is on that art {goddess} flow. Peep more of her work at http://www.simoneleigh.com/.