Happy Black History month out there. Above is a sketch of JerryX a local musician who played at Kerouac night. I find many similarities with art and music on a variety of levels. And would not have been able to make most of the art in my life without the help and energy from listening to music. We wouldn’t have the majority of our modern music today if not for the influence of black musicians on creating instruments and new genres, new ways of thinking about and structuring music.
Growing up in such an international city as Atlanta, gave me a much appreciated insight into diversity, southern history and race relations. The public schools I went to took not just the month of February to celebrate historical moments minted by minorities. This helped open my mind to the importance of figures from politicians like Shirley Chisholm to sports figures like Leroy Satchel Paige, to musicians such as Art Blakey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Robert Johnson the father of Delta Blues. The Jazz Renaissance movement caught my interest in how many artists and musicians collaborated, lived together or who’s work was clearly influenced by the works of peers, swept up in the societal whirlwinds of cultural change.
We were lucky enough to see, on a high school field-trip, many of the massive masterworks by Romare Beardan in various mediums. The scale of his hand crafted collages, mashups of southern life, in the computer age would be impressive but collage work of that size and intricacy in the 1930s is astounding. The portal these images provided into the life and strife around Beardan, his imagination, the time period and the importance of expression through music or other means clearly made a lasting impression on me. Even the drawing class we did that day. I made a mistake and asked the local instructor for an eraser and he kindly pointed out to me….its funny I recall his face, clothes, grey hair at the temples but not his name. He pointed out to me, that art pencils have no erasers for a reason and that there are no mistakes, work with it, he encouraged.
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Sketchbook of the Mind2017-02-07.