In week three of our artists’ diary entries for the forthcoming Strivers Gardens Gallery and Souleo Enterprises, LLC exhibition, “eMegre: Danny Simmons & Artists on the Cusp,” we focus on House of Spoof, Greg Frederick and Al Johnson. Art collective, House of Spoof, utilizes technology to bridge the digital age and traditional mediums for works that capture the fears, hopes and dreams of youth. Featured from the collective are co-founder and my brother, Glenn “Spoof” Wright and Misra Walker. Walker pays homage to Wright, a community- and family-oriented young man who was brutally murdered at the age of 21, in the stencil portrait Stay Hungry (2011). A collection of Wright’s photography explores the depths of Down syndrome through photo portraits of his special needs brother, Isa Freeman.
Frederick’s vinyl pop art is created with broken record vinyls, their sleeves and packaging, and other recycled materials. He has been a featured artist on the popular site, Fab.com and shared wall space next to Andy Warhol silkscreens at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
Johnson’s artistic vision has been shared in various parts of the world from Tokyo to China to Brooklyn. In the latter location, his permanently installed commissioned portrait of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm is on display in Brooklyn Borough Hall. Plus you can view his commercial storyboard work in numerous hit series and shows including the HBO Chris Rock Special “Kill the Messenger.”
The opening reception of the exhibition is Thursday July 12 at 6:00pm at Strivers Gardens Gallery located at 300 West 135th St, New York, NY.
Before then, get to know the journey of each artist in his or her own words.
House of Spoof-Entry by Souleo
As I write these words on behalf of my brother, Glenn “Spoof” Wright, I can only wish that he were here to physically witness his profound impact. Glenn and I have a very special bond as we are connected over a shared passion for the arts and giving back.
It was inspiring to watch my younger brother blossom into a confident young man on the cusp of fully emerging and exploring his boundless potential to lead others and contribute to the betterment of society. I remember how motivated he was once he participated in the robotics program at East Harlem Tutorial Program. He suddenly found his place as he was coming of age and that moment would later lead to him becoming a youth after school and summer counselor/educator, volunteer activist working with local politicians and photographer/creative artist documenting the beauty, struggles and hopes of his community. It was the latter that we began to build upon before he died, as Glenn was my resident photographer for events and trusted critic of my own projects. Working with my brother and seeing how passionate he was made our connection even stronger. I am deeply saddened that he is not physically able to join me on our journey of developing our talents and reaching our goals. His murder, the result of violent gang members, reflects the destructive apathy for human life in our nation.
I hope that by including Glenn's art work in the exhibition that others can be inspired and empowered by his messages of love, positivity and healing. And I am grateful to be able to spiritually carry on his legacy as it continues to inspire me in all that I do.
The date of the "eMerge" opening (July 12th) is symbolic to me as it falls on the last day of my 20's. As I've heard from many friends who have reached 30, they had a change in their lives where their careers gave them a better life with all the great responsibilities they loved. I hope being an "emerging" artist sets me on that path.
I am very excited and anxious to show off one of my favorite pieces. As a hip-hop loving fan who's always bumped, Biggie since driving to high school in Arizona, I knew I had to make a Vinyl Pop Art portrait of the Notorious B.I.G. By far this has been my breakout piece. Each time I make one it's gone in days and have gone up a canvas size with each new one I create. As Andy Warhol had his Marilyn Monroe, I feel I have my Biggie to help give me an iconic edge. I hope in the future when someone looks at this piece they will instantly know it was made by Greg Frederick.
At age 50 I began to seek a higher power; conquering the battle of accepting my faults and my own issues. The process of learning to work better with being myself came with pain. It is not easy to reinvent yourself on a daily basis. Only then, when I finally decided to surrender and know that I am just a vessel, it all became easier by letting go. Through my journey finding and believing in myself as an artist, all things become possible.
My piece, “This Everlasting Moment” is a declaration of serenity and peace of mind—a vital ingredient to hold as an artist of expression. When my art is viewed 100 years from now, it will possess the wonder and splendor of an artist that gave a sense of visual healing to others. I hope it will continue to inspire.
Souleo Enterprises, LLC is the umbrella company that creates, produces and curates media content, events, exhibitions and philanthropic projects by founder, Souleo. Presently Souleo Enterprises, LLC is creator/producer of the adult LGBT, financial literacy and arts programming for the New York Public Library taking place summer 2012 seen here.