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. It was while working in this journal that George Floyd lost his life during a deeply disturbing and unnecessary 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 similarly and similarly unnecessary. I remembered each one from former news clips, but now all reentering the news 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.