This is the Pandemic Journal. Several brand identity explorations took place here: WMD Asset Management, Bare Zero Proof, Every Kid’s Yoga, and Youth Leadership Council for the City of New York. While working in this journal, George Floyd lost his life in a deeply disturbing, unnecessary, and widely graphically broadcast confrontation with Minneapolis law enforcement, sparking a virulent response from the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide. Explosions of creative expression occurred everywhere, from city block-long messages painted in the street through astonishing visual art, poetry, and music flooding social media.
Feeling the need to do something, I researched George Floyd, his death, and the BLM response, and then encountered more news stories of other individuals who died too young and similarly unnecessary. I remembered each one from former news clips, but now, all were being revisited by news media to draw attention to how disproportionately African-Americans are killed for crimes that white Americans breeze through unscathed.
I decide to paint George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Stephon Clark, and Atatiana Jefferson and place them together on social media. In my younger years, I participated in activities deemed questionable — some more so than what these people were accused of — and that because I’m not black, I lived to tell about it. There is a kind of intimacy involved in rendering faces — it forces me to really look at them and study their features. The Internet images I used for reference showed most of these lost souls in moments of happiness, and it was very sad to paint them knowing they died years younger than I am now.