For a great deal of time during the two years of painting I never knew how to label my art. Since I had no formal training, I could really put the right words together to 'classify' myself. Never mind I always had a disdain for being put in to a box anyways. Some people would always say "oh your work is abstract" and I didn't/ don't disagree with them but I felt like that didn't define me well enough.
A few months ago, a co-worker of mind asked me what type of art I made when someone mention I was an artist. What I responded with rolled off my tongue ever so effortlessly...."I'm an Modern Urban Expressionist". My co-worker, much older than I but a big fan of art eyes lid up as though he was thoroughly impressed. He was the same man who owned Pablo Picasso(s) (yes multiple works), it seem to make him more eager to see my work and when he did it seemed to give him a new set of eyes to view.
That's the power of words I guess. Once strung perfectly together, they create a new world. They change your perception and create a new desire with in you. If I had said my old phrase of "Oh I don't know, you tell me" he probably would of been less enthused. After that conversation I began using that term to describe myself more often. After texting it to my friend I decided to look up "Urban Expressionism" to see if it even existed and if I were using it right. What I found inspired and made me feel like I was home.
When I think "Urban Expressionism" I think of the likes of Jean Michel Basquiat, , Banksy, , Frank Morrison, , Ernie Barnes, Alan Wolfson.
Jean-Yves Blanc (JYB)
In my search of learning more about modern expressionism I learned of Marcus Jansen. His work has left me breathless.
Rock A Bye, Baby - Marcus Jansen
The Storm - Marcus JansenThe more and more I learn of this 'genre' the more and more I realize the artist that I work with, that I'm coming up with fit this name. It's a label that I will proudly wear, one I think many young artist should learn about. Lots of times we are shun because are work isn't contemporary enough, because it provokes to much thought, to much of a call to action. The strokes, sprays, the molding of clay are too deeply rooted in the everyday struggle everyday life of regular people. The urban experience frightens the 'status quo' and so the hide away from it because they don't know how to except it, embrace it. So they try to force artist to run away from what is naturally them.
The thing is though, as much as they try they can't get rid of it. There forced to at some point acknowledge it and accept the art-form. Look at how far graffiti has come. Once considered the destructive signal of delinquents, they now see the importance and beauty of it...to a degree. I mean a Basquiat painting just sold for 16mill, 16mill (you wasn't painting with me in the gym...sorry couldn't resist). There are artist out there depicting our lives on the daily, and not getting their proper dues. In the same way we love the Warhols, Harings, Devinci's etc for there contributions to art, I feel Urban Expressionism needs to get credit and shown love. I know when I was a kid, one of the biggest things that turn me off to art was no one looked like me...no one represented what I was living through. Or so that was what I was taught. Yet when you look back at the Harlem Renaissance, that's Urban Expressionism at it's finest. Urban Expressionism isn't limited to black experience, white experience, latin experience etc. It's THE EXPERIENCE of the people who live in urban areas all around. It's a way of life.
I personally am choosing to except what I am. I am a Modern Urban Expressionist. This is my art, love it or leave it but you will RESPECT it.