The Art of Dean Story Master
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Community Folk Arts Central... Art  Moves!

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( C )
AfroNeo<>Folk
loric

Xngo D'Ina / New Generation at the Scene of the Crime

Xngo (Shango ) D'Ina is a figure from my soon to be published Book (C) Awo Ogbon Orisa

The Yoruba Divinity Shango / Jakuta is the God of Fire and Lightning. As the composite Orisha, Sango's knowledge led the regeneration and continuation of countless Yoruba Tribal Spiritual practices during Slavery. 


He is The Oba ( King ) of the Orishas...Priest, /Diviner / Warrior / Protector of Children, Assassin and Lover. Here, Xngo D'Ina / Shango Alafino - The Umbrella, stands defiant with his Mother Spirit Nana Burukku. Nana is the Oldest of the Orisha and is said to be an ancient manifestation of Yemoyale, the Great Mother Divinity of the Yoruba Pantheon. The Green throughout represent the "Canopy"...the floration of Orisha Oko...Osanyin - the God of Medicines and Herbs.


Under the Protection of the "Bush"...Orisha Oko the Forest, Escaped Slaved survived... 

To some, the hardships of living deep in Nature was the only choice over Slavery, so they lived, fought and helped others escape.

There they reconnected with their ancestral Spirits and the Drum...

Xngo D'Ina - a work in progress started during my junior year at Syracuse University 2005
I graduated in 2007. My Studio Genre was Neo Expressionism...After the Abstract Expressionist Movement which drastically departed from European Formalism. Picasso was the Face of the Abstract Expressionists, though he was most known for his personal Cubism style. In the Neo Expressionist Movement. the lines of distinction became blurred and Jean Michael Basquiat's revolutionary form of Expressive Painting became the New Face.




SOUJOURN - Unfinished Studio work / Scratch Board Engraving began in Early 2000's in Albany, NY. tis was one of my later Scratchboard Drawings. This is a commercial after product based on original Scraper Board where you are actually engraving more than drawing. British Scraper board was alot thicker and very brittle. I bought mostly discounted pieces that had cracked ends. The newer type is more like a heavy paper with a very thin coating of plaster like white foundation. Th main difference is the continuing over layering that you could achieve with the original product. You could even "Re Black" to correct or change a line. With the new version, you start hitting paper after the third layer...my solution was to use Pen and Ink ( Pointillism ) to Re Blacken areas but that Proved to be too time consuming and the piece would never be 100% so it sits in this unfinished, experimental state.






The Year - 1975 / This Work ( ShangoYa )
  
...was featured in the Syracuse Peace Council's annual Calendar...the theme was "No Nukes"...I selected this one to get the money because I was asked to contribute. My early exhibits
 got me a lot of local attention.  My Show Earth Movement didn't make me much money but it did established me. Earth Movement featured 74 Scratchboard drawings and got a "Great" Review by the late Ann Hartranft who was the leading Syracuse Art Critic.
My Show In Transition at Lemoyne College featured a smaller collection. ART CRITIC GORDON MUCK reviewed that show very favorably. Thoset RAVE reviews and this Calendar piece cause a bit of Talk. This Imagery was New for Syracuse because it's from a Grass Roots Harlem NY Tradition that goes back to the Depression Era WPA Project Era. Amos Johnson who I met had opened the area up to large scale 'White on Black Paper" Documentary type Portraits of figures like MLK and Malcolm X...Conventional Style. 
...I had been experimenting with Scratchboard ( Original British Scraper Board ) but I was working with more revolutionary imagery. Amos was moving in different circles so we didn't work together, but he liked my work and I liked his. At that time there was an Active high Performing Afro Centric Black Culture...Art, Black Music, Theater, African Drum and Dance, Story Telling & Show Spaces in Syracuse. By the mid 80's is had all but disappeared.

  

My Hood Education ( Black ) Card
F.Y.O.P. Don't Test!

BOSCO LANE is a metaphor for the Cross Roads to manhood, self reliance and responsibility to Ancestral Native Culture and Understanding.
Bosco Lane relies on "One" (3) main thing(s) in life...God Almighty Father, Goddess Mother & "Balls"  

I came to Syracuse at 21, NY from the First African American Museum in the Country. I was one of two young Studio Artist's among 7 at the Flagship Studio Museum in Harlem. I was 18 and Justine Jorges ( Haitian Classical Sculpture ) was 15 and the Bread winner in his Family. His Father and his 8 brothers were all carvers ( taught by Dad ) and Justine was the best or most competent. I left in 1972 /73 for Syracuse University and the start to a 50 year long Multi Genre career in Up State NY. I brought with me >my NYC Passions. These driving forces in my life were as much a headache as they were tools for inspiration. 

In Syracuse I left my Studio Arts Program and got married, then proceeded to pursue my Studio Art Career "Feast or Famine" after losing a 4 year management job in 1979. Within months, I was juried into the Down Town Underground ( Village Square Artist's and Craftsmen's Collective. I got a Studio built by the management and I opened Conceptual Wood Co. / Walking Sticks, Custom Art and Prints from my Studio Museum Printmaking Scholarship which numbered in the hundreds.
Conceptual Wood Co. later became Story Master Studios 1.

Me at 20 with Mentors Leroy Clarke & Valerie J. Maynard / 1972 / Studio Museum in Harlem Artists Loft

During my time with the "Down Town Under Ground", I was active in Syracuse on the Grass Roots level. I entered the Syracuse Mural Movement when I applied for a Federal Job - Y.C.S. Multi Summer Youth Program. A local Artist Juan Cruz got the job and I helped his crew train and do their first 3 Murals @ North Side - Shiller Park, W. Side Park Shelter and at the Spanish Action League who aministered the Local Mural program. We did the first Murals with 4 inch rollers as brushes. 

...mean while...In the mid 80's on the Streets of Syracuse the old Syracuse Art Scene and the Old Community Folk Art Gallery which was on Oak St and Salina in 1973, I mixed with local Artists Johnny Moore who was a Great and popular Portrait Artist, Labeeb Hameed, who later did work with me at the collective, The Johnson Brothers who were students at Syracuse University and were seen as the local Stars making it in the Arts.  On the Street Street there was Jazzy, an Artist we ( myself and Badr Serraj, my Street Art Buddy ) met up with at night on So. Salina. He was an Incredible Pencil Artist and a Chronic Alcoholic, but he was the man. Everybody admired his talent which was never developed by him as a way to live. It was quick money for him so He always sold but like a Folk Artist who usually takes what he can get to live on. One look at Jazzy's imagery and it became obvious where Alcohol took him to a place of familiar detachment.



YEMOYALE - MOTHER OF THE 7 SEAS
Hand Carved Mural Installation from Double Laminated Particle Board . Mural is on loan at the Hamiltion Hill Art Center, Schenectady, NY 
 
Created in 1985 as Part of my Fellowship / Community Residency. I also made a Portable 4' X 8" Mural of MLK that was mounted near the entrance to the Jerry Burell Gallery. The status of that Mural is "Missing" according to management among other works on mine. In addition I painted an Abstract Mural on the outside Walls of the Center at 409 Schenectady St, Schenectady, NY.  All of this was done as part of my 1985 Residency. 



 .........Navigation.........

New Generation At The Scene of The Crime in progress...2007 - 
Acrylic on Masonite




WAR / Acrylic on Burlap 2007 ( Neo Afro Anaylitical Pointillism )




Refugee - Acrylic on Masonite 2008
Post Grad Studio Research



Soldier Boy - Acrylic on Stretch Paper 2007
College Studio Research 




Nana 2 - Acrylic Fabric Paint on Denim 2002 - Folkloric W. African Style Motif






Social Commentary is  "Art Journalism"




My original orientation as a Young African American Artist was to reflect the range of Aesthetics that came from the Harlem NYC and the National Black Arts Movements back to the Depression Era WPA projects. "BLACK ART" developed "within" and "through" the confines of the American / European Art Wealth Patronage, Industry Markets and Education Systems. When discussing Black art Today, it becomes obvious that "personal" opinion is the Popular Aesthetic of valuation. Personal opinion doesn't always have the insight to define Black Art in it's essence...which acts as the general description. In FACT, there is no common description of Black Art other than being of the Black Experience...further, Realistic Imagery depicting Black people.


In the Popular Realm, ART itself >as a "Term" is highly personalized in terms of what it claims to be from the mouths of the

 Self Taught individual who see's "INDIVIDUALITY" - "GOD Given Talent" and "Will" as the definer. Artists who develop amateur practices and decide to go to College or Art School rely on Education & Networking in the field and the History that tells the story of where we are today. So an "Advanced" education actually places you in the field fully defined. As always you either have that family or patronage support...or you socialize, network and build your following.


ART to an Art Schooled Artist is WORKING FROM ONE OR MORE GENRE BASES using the learned principles of composition, texture, style, technique, medium and the "Chosen" defining artistic direction that is working and has relevance to the goal. 


MONEY...OR INCOME ...OR WEALTH COMES FROM PURSUING YOUR STUDIO PRACTICE IN FULL AND CREATING

 THAT BODY OF WORK THAT DEFINES YOUR STYLE AND MODE OF COMMUNICATION. "Professional Practices in the Art" is an actual College Curriculum that is necessary today, where it was not "AS" necessary in my early days.




Oya Niger Vamp'in - Patroness of the Niger River
Goddess of the Winds and Rain


BLACK ART IS SOCIAL COMMENTARY

IF YOU CALL IT "BLACK ART" THEN YOU ARE EXPRESSING AN ASPECT OF PROTEST WHETHER IT IS PASSIVE OR AGGRESSIVE


AFRICAN AMERICANS LIKE MY GRAND FATHER CHARLES BROWN CAME HERE FROM THE CARIBBEAN IN THE 1920'S

They came to assimilate ( raise a family, work and have a better life ) to experience the American Dream which at that time was Legit and functioning amidst Social Racism from Original Americans as well as the first wave of early European immigrants.

To Assimilate, which the large majority of Caribbean immigrants did in America...is to basically willingly take common work to support yourself,  "adopt" the benefits and social opportunities in the majority culture, pay taxes and be a good citizen

 = do your life as a beneficial citizen and being a cog in the whole machine.


A great many folk from the Caribbean came here before the 1964 civil Rights Act and became the American Middle Class 

and they are still there. Some ( MANY ) became part of the wealthy classes. Assimilation does not equal selling out. 

IT WAS THE WAY OF PROGRESS FOR THE PRE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA. EDUCATION, WORK TRAINING AND FAMILY. 


Those successful immigrants represent the core of America. They can't be labeled as Coons because they are liberal minded -

 as some from the Popular based "Black Construct" mentality, will assert. Trolls search the media for their form of Social Personal "WOKE" commentary which is Shielded by Avatar, highly antagonistic, relying on over played hearsay and intentionally not Insightful. 


Intellectualism or speaking proper English is seen by many as "Speaking the White Mans language" This coming from someone who rejects education as indoctrination and who is writing in poor to fairly competent English. > Lacking any indication that they understand that THEY speak the language that THEY reject as Indoctrination. Language is how you express...How you express is from your state of mind...If you have no language you tend to emote in order to physically express what you cannot verbalize. Language both visual and written is a Sword.


Ogun - The Mercenary


IN MY PRACTICE > FOLK ART = THE NARRATIVE

Many Classifications for Ethnic Works of Art are Archaic. A term like Primitive or Folk Art is usually meant to call lifestyle, Education level or "Considered" Artistic quality. In any case...

Primitive is a Museum Classification ( and High Finance Collector class ) that is or was often used to Indicate "Lack of Refinement" It is also generally used to indicate Age or Cultural association. African Art, Aboriginal Art and Found buried Artifacts of various cultures were termed Primitive in early Anthropology - now Social Anthropology. Folk Art is a broad category that is almost Universally Appropriated, Collected and across the board  Under Evaluated.  Many times a Folk Artist is an alcoholic or drug addict...one who is uneducated or illiterate...one who is marginalized and POOR! the Folk Artist of renown almost always works for recognition and small money.  He's happy making $50 for a Sculpture that may be worth ten or more times that much.
.
Then there are those who are locally affluent because they paint and sell so much...
( So Cheap) ...They develop a Cottage Industry, but the work they sell and their popularity is dependent on heavy work and selling everything if possible. So in effect, many are reduced to using their Art as a commodity that has no Special interest except to those who can get it for as little as$10 or $15 Dollars...That reduces "Genius" to an acceptable necessary middle ground.
 MANY American Entrepreneurs and small business owners around the world sell Folk Art
 at a profit. Sometimes the Artists rises too...it's all about how you live.
I consider my self to be a Folk Artist ( in essence ) because my work is Folkloric in Content regardless of schooling.
I am a Studio Based Artist. In difference to the notion that a True Folk Artist cannot be College or Art School Educated.
My definition and Identity comes from the inside of Family and relevant Culture.  It's Life of the
African Folkloric / 
Diaspora Art & Craft / Performing Arts Traditions


Unfinished Business - Acrylic on Canvas 1985

In Effect, when MLK led the Civil Rights Movement which gained the 1964 Civil Rights Act which
Outlawed > "Jim Crow Law" he completed the Emancipation Proclamation which basically spoke to the letter of the Law concerning "PROPERTY & Chattel Property". Ex Slaves were still subject to a Cruel and Inhuman System that did nothing to Stop or discourage Violent Racism as well as Exclusion from Citizen benefits and Equal Opportunity.


The 60's were the age of "Black Firsts" with the dismantling of Jim Crow Law
Many a young Boy or Girl dreamed of being the "First" Black to...

The Stone & The Shield- James Meredith Integrating the University of Mississippi
Acrylic on Canvas 1986



 


W
e Are Lions ( of Jah Un"I"verse )  Acrylic Fabric Paint on Canvas 2012  

Claiming Justice is not a Comfort till Justice arrives...





This is a Self Portrait of My
"Spirit of the Hunter"
Adapted from the work and Imagery of one of my Favorite Artists Frida Kahlo