In this vibrant paintings, colour is everything. Colour is language, character, culture, object and community. In particular, purple is the new black – the new everything black. My world of monochromatic backgrounds, and sensuous portraits are grounded in a deep dioxazine purple, as subtle as it is strong. My characteristical impressionism brushstrokes, glimmers of light and strokes, and pops of colour draw viewers in close. As we stare into bright, tinted eyes – looking into new souls reflecting our own – we see purple. Light purple, dark purple, blue purple, purple purple: black purple. My Dark Purple is Everything Black.
This new body of work establishes my practice of talking with colour. In this newest series of portraits, I bring to life a community of subjects full of deep melanin skin tones. By using Dioxazine purple to ground my depiction of skin tone, I am seeking a new way to communicate colour-consciousness, identity representation, and perceptions of beauty. Base upon the micro-aggressions that I and my friends have experienced, even in a predominately black social environment, and seeks to challenge negative associations with darkness by equating it with royalty, luxury, beauty, and strength.
In this new visual language, purple means power. Given the rare and precious history of the purple dye trade, this colour indeed connotes a global association with status: from precious murex purple in North Africa to contemporary West African associations of prosperity. With reference to this rich cultural history, I offers a cognation through colour: a blood kinship where blackness is elevated as much as a source of aesthetic beauty as a source of protection from the sun. Purple black is armour. Purple black is sensuous. Purple black is everything.