Why Do You Create: Duron

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What is your relationship to art? Talk about your preoccupations, aims, desires.

Well-known MOMA curator and art writer Kirk Varnadoe was asked “as a gifted artist student, why didn’t you pursue art as opposed to art history and writing as a career, his answer was “I really didn’t feel that I had anything to say.” Anyone familiar with Varnadoe’s career, knows that’s bullsh*t, he was a brilliant curator and writer. I, on the other hand, have a big mouth and have plenty to say, I say it visually. As an emerging artist, my primary preoccupation is creating the work and having it seen.

What type of artist would you call yourself and why? For example, are you a folk artist, Post-modernist, impressionist? Is there even a word for what you do?

I’m a visual artist. Period.

What mediums do commonly you work in?

I use a variety of mediums, lately paint; in my mixed media work (collage, and assemblage) I use appropriated images, or images I create myself through photography or digital media, in addition to found objects and materials. I’m currently working on a painting/printmaking project on paper that’s culminated into a digital piece that I’d like to see exhibited together as one large installation.

Talk about your latest works.

I’m currently working on a series of full body prints exploring the ontology of black men; each print creates a unique mark or symbol, cataloguing and indexing the male figure; creating a figurative language, like word to page, narrating a way of being. As I started accumulating prints, I wanted to see them really large, subsequently, I created an animation of the prints making them expand and contract; projecting the prints larger in scale.

Name three artists whose work you enjoy and why.

I have a lot of favorites, from a variety of genres, but Cy Twombly’s mark making, and his very simple palette, he was one of the first artist that inspired me, I wanted to make marks just like him. His “scribbles” are compelling, I can WATCH (yes WATCH) them for hours. I’m not a big fan of Twombly’s later sculptures. I dig the crudeness and honesty of Basquiat; his palette, subject matter, and cleverness. Yves Klein, was a weirdo genius, always in search of the sublime, my current series of body prints are inspired by
Klein.

Describe the painting in the picture, its name, how was it created, when, why?

The painting in the picture is called “hokakes,” it’s a body print of my best friend’s ass; “hokakes” happens to be my nickname for him. How it was procured is funny as sh*t, but way too long get into here.

How do you think that black art, of for that matter, art in general, enriches the lives of people of African descent, of the world?

As Africans in this hemisphere, our contribution to western culture is unequivocal. From the blues, to jazz, to hip-hip, the images of Bearden to Basquiat; all emerged from our unique ability to transform the mundane into the sublime. Africans of the Diaspora wouldn’t have survived without the richness of our culture; art, music, dance, textiles, etc.. Art for Africans has always been the physical culmination of Spirit.

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