[iamthenublack] Andre Woolery // visual artist
Andre Woolery. Hopefully my artwork is a decent introduction of who I am. My art is a reflection of many things, it’s a window into my cultural world…a young black experience. Currently my work is primarily portraits of black icons, which is deliberate. I wanted to challenge myself to create highly recognizable faces with the quality of something digitally produced. There also needs to be more images of black people represented beautifully. I also have a forthcoming street project that these are specifically designed for.
My art also depicts my journey. I am a creative and artistic person, but I never found a real outlet to express myself until 2009. I took a month off from my regular life to explore a few creative endeavours. During this process, I discovered my capacity to make my imagination a reality through the use of light + colour + oil paints. I number my paintings by their order of creation, because that really illustrates my progression and helps to keep me striving to keep pushing each piece further than the previous.
Society is sitting in the middle of digital and traditional worlds and that’s where I want my artwork to be positioned. My paintings are “simple seduction”. I use simple elements that can convey an immediate message while still offering more if you fully engage. Upon engagement, viewers will be seduced through the use of striking colours, subject matter, and composition. This approach will hopefully bring my art to a broader, unsuspecting audience.
My art is meant to be accessible. I love beautiful images for their power to affect the world that they exist in. Unfortunately the art world has been relegated to a very small part of society. It isn’t accessible to the people that need the inspiration most. I have made a conscious effort to sell my art in many formats that allow people to always have access.
Favourite song lyric
“When the music hits, you feel no pain…” ~ Bob Marley
I have always identified with that lyric from Trenchtown Rock. Personally music has always been the one artform that has the most magical power. It can easily transform my current reality into something entirely driven by the sound waves creating by the music. I listen to music to get pumped up, calm down, focus, and it ultimately is used to build a soundtrack that is appropriate for whatever is necessary in my life at that given time. That line sums it all up.
I’m inspired by
Two things that keep me consistently happy to be alive which is what inspiration means to me:
1. The infinite stories that represent people’s lives. Every living individual has unique experiences and perspective that is a culmination of what they have been through. There is always something to learn from and apply to your own life. So I love the richness of individuals that are created from those life stories. I want to continually curate different stories so they continue to breath life into others.
2. The infinite capacity of an imaginative mind. I’m consistently blown away with the power of the human mind and it is a big theme in some of my pieces. Staying close to the arts is what always reminds me that the story of this world has not even been close to completely told. Just when you think there is no other way… someone creates, reinvents, or redefines in a way that makes you anxious for the future. I’m looking forward to everyday’s surprises created by our minds.
My icons past/present
My parents. I must always start here because this is where I started. What you see of me today is mainly homage to the two individuals that built me with their love and dedication. There are distinct parts of what make me that are entirely of theirs. They have always been a guiding light for what to aspire towards in this world in terms of integrity, hard work, and determination. Also they both had their own individual ways to present every problem as a path to a creative solution.
Black Culture. I grew up with so many beautiful black people around me and a strong culture tied to each one of them. It was always a source of pride in my mind but as I grew up the images that I saw started to change due to the media. Black began to mean something else. I want to get back to that feeling that everything black was amazing and that’s why I surround myself with those icons ranging from Jackson to Badu to Ali and many more to come. These people have shaped my existence and defined a beautiful black culture.
Anyone that challenges himself or herself. From celebrities that break the mold to the random teenager on the block that is wearing something that no one else is…they all are pushing a certain consciousness that I think is iconic. They are the symbols that represent what it means to be part of society while having the courage to stray away from societal norms.
“Your mind is the only weapon.”
That is what I have begun to live by. Nothing is more powerful. That thought continues to be an overarching theme in some of my pieces; the human mind has created miracles throughout the course of history and it will continue to. Focusing on thinking rather than obeying, following, or accepting will always bring you to a more elevated experience. Use what separates us from the rest of the animals in the world to be the weapon that builds and doesn’t destroy.
Check me out