One contemporary who has always encouraged me to improve my ability, diversity and skill as a painter is Carol Ann Edwards aka Cezanne Poetess . I have been a long time admirer of her work, her attitude towards self-expression and raw enthusiasm for producing unique artwork and poetry. Carol kindly agreed to share her thoughts on art, poetry and the future of Afrocentric art in the UK.
How long have you been painting and writing?
I’ve been seriously writing since 2003 and painting since 2008. I write and paint based on my life experiences and spiritual journey; I started learning how to meditate in 2007 in order to control my negative thought patterns and to begin to create the life of my dreams. What I was learning about my thoughts being creative, being able to attract what I desire by focusing on what I want ( instead of what I don’t want ) came out in my artwork and what I was writing.
As a visual artist and poet what is your favourite medium and why?
I paint using oils on canvas; I had never painted with oils on canvas before unblocking as an artist in 2008. I hadn’t painted in over 20 years but after attending a Transmission Meditation workshop I just went out the next day, bought all these canvases and paints and threw myself into it! I prefer oils because they take longer to dry, which gives me time to get things right : )
I then found that I was writing poems and songs which complimented my paintings, so most of my paintings have a song or poem to go with them; they will soon be available as downloads and in my new CD/book ‘Seeds of Love’. You can also listen to some of them by visiting www.myspace.com/cezannepoetess.
Your artwork is very figurative, colourful and inspires me very much to paint. Is there a particular message you try to convey in both your art and poems?
Without realizing it, I was using ‘colour therapy’ in my paintings; bright colours affect the brain, having a positive effect on the emotions. I very much follow my inner guide when I’m painting, and some of the images come to me in flashes like a vision. For example, I was relaxing, listening to some music, when the image for ‘Love Bump’ just flashed in my mind! I wasn’t thinking about anything to do with this image and, even though it only flashed in my mind for a split second, it left an ‘imprint’ on my mind and I was able to ‘copy’ all the detail. I drew it out then painted it a few months later.
Ultimately, the message I aim to convey through my artwork and writing is about promoting love within the black community. This includes self-love; in order to be able to give and receive love, you have to love yourself unconditionally. You cannot give what you haven’t got.
In these days of austerity, where many tighten their wallets and see art as a luxury, how do you handle the income generating aspects of being an artist?
Well in order to survive as an artist, I wouldn’t ‘put all my eggs in one basket’. I’ve also recorded a CD and written a book. I’m grateful that I have other gifts that can also generate an income. I haven’t sold any of my original paintings yet, but that may be a good thing in the long run : )
Prints of your work are readily available but where do you see the future of original art, particularly Afrocentric artwork?
Personally I think the black community hasn’t grasped the concept of investing in original art in this country yet; hopefully that will change but I’ve been told countless times that my artwork would do so much better in the US. I am happy just knowing that my originals WILL go up in value, and when the black community is ready, so will I be!
Do you think UK commercial art galleries represent a wide enough variety of talented artists?
Definitely not, but I think that’s changing; Tate Britain is currently showing “Thin Black Line(s)” until 18 March 2012, an exhibition of black art; I would love to have an exhibition there too. But what I would really like to see is our own Annual Black Art Exhibition to showcase the wealth of talent within the Black community.
Congratulations on the opening of your weekly Cultural Arts and Crafts fair. I wish you continued success. So what else is in the pipeline?
The Weekly Cultural Arts & Crafts Fair is being held every Saturday 1-6pm at Centerprise in Dalston E8 2NS until 24th December. I’m currently putting together the Black Stallholders Collective in order to organise our own Monthly Cultural Arts & Crafts Fair (from February 2012), where people will be able to come to buy our high quality hand-made products. All artisans of African descent can get involved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I will also be launching my new website shortly: www.cezannesart.co.uk where products featuring my artwork and poetry will be available.
I wish Cezanne continued success!