All of the subjects in this collection represent the success that comes from giving yourself the freedom to experiment with your talents to express your vision. The heights than can be achieved when you are able to freely express your vision unlimited. I sought to honor the influence that these subjects have had on the world by experimenting with my own talent to express my vision. With each experimentation I take a step in their footsteps, growing closer to successfully expressing my vision.

Experimenting with a new medium

I often get asked how I thought to use thumbtacks as a medium. Well, it all began with Froot Loops. Seriously. I originally sat in my apt/studio looking for materials that had vibrant colors and considered cereal as my medium. Luckily I moved away from Toucan Sam when I found a mixed color pack of thumbtacks.

Experimenting with my canvases

Using thumbtacks as a medium also forced me to transform the way I used my canvases. The challenge was keeping the tacks in place on the canvas. The solution came when I bought ALL of the hardware store's expanding foam to spray the back of the canvas.

Experimenting with scale

It’s All About the Benjamins is a massive piece because it needed to be. Not because it had to scale for a bill, but because you have to take a moment to absorb it all. Who is that? Why is he black? What does the "slaves" refer to? There are 3 canvas stitched together to make this large canvas, then a wrapped another sheet of canvas above it. Two of the pieces are blank but one is a piece of president Obama that I ultimately scrapped. Not purposefully but fatefully enough there is a piece of history built on top of another.

This one is pretty literal here. Physically it took a toll. I am now an expert on thimbles and own a thumb specific ice pack. I had to ice my thumbs and elbow every night so I could continue pushing pins.

Although the subjects of my work are always black, I do not limit myself to a certain color palette. I've always been drawn to using color to bring a certain level of energy to my work and vibrancy to my portrayal of black culture. So when I decided to attempt a piece made of thumbtacks I had to understand what my options were. That's when the search began for all the colors that I would need…in bulk. I quickly realized that "orange" was the holy grail of thumbtacks. After a scavenger hunt in Staples, Office Deport, and Googling for hours I stumbled upon the treasure trove of thumbtacks, JAM PAPER. Shout out to my thumbtack hookup, Mike Jacobs, for the wide array of colors that made this all possible.

For the Jimi Hendrix piece I used purple, pink and blues, which are colors that aren't typically combined in our current color landscape to create an electric shock. This piece is meant to feel all together vibrant, trippy and a bit psychedelic.

By the time I got to the Obama piece I felt it was appropriate to stick with the most realistic palette because color is so important to what makes this icon special and I believe that no color is a boring color. Yet I made sure to include colors like gold, silver and bronze that have the shimmer and brilliance that marks the caliber of a United States president.

In the It’s All About the Benjamins piece the gloss of the tacks and the bill are meant to clash with the grit of the history of America.