BORDERCROSSINGS / DECEMBER 2018 / PHYLLIS GREEN
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Since as early as I can remember, I’ve always drawn, colored, and painted. As a kid growing up in the inner city, I would draw and paint imaginary worlds and lose myself in my imagination. As a teen, I attended a graphic art high school and used my creativity in graffiti and silk screen printing. Then as a young adult, I moved to Paris, France and attend an atelier and painted on the streets of the Montmartre arts district.
After moving back to the states, I wanted some stability so I finished college and started working as a software engineer. After working for over 10 years in engineering, I had a near death experience on a drive home from work. At that point, I decided that life was too short, and I decided to pursue my artwork full time, instead of the weekend hobby it had become.
Please tell us about your art.
My art is my lexicon. It’s the world as I see it using paint or other mediums to articulate it. I create paintings and sculptures that get beyond the distractions to capture a subject’s essence. Some of my subjects are quite beautiful, others less so. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them.
I paint figurative and abstract together in a seamless way. My art is often described as moving or emotional, deep and thoughtful, inspirational and even important.
I work very quickly and intuitively reacting to each stroke as if the canvas is speaking to me directly. I paint layer after layer sometimes exposing what is underneath in order to create portals of light and mystery. I paint mostly with my brushes although I have an arsenal of tools at my disposal. As a black male, there has always been this stigma of us being primal or gorillas so, in each of my paintings, I use some amount of gorilla glue. It’s my way of taking the negative gorilla connotation and making something beautiful out of it in each work.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
The biggest challenge for an artist today is being true to yourself while surviving in a commercial market. Finding financial security in your career without sacrificing your true voice.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can see my work at E.C. Lina Gallery here in LA. I’m also regularly in group shows around LA and other cities. I have group shows coming up at the Torrance Art Museum (Jan 19- March 9), Monte Vista Project and the MOCA Marin (in the bay area) to name a few. I usually keep my Instagram and website updated so follow me to see and support my work.