"Rich Peter" 2022. Mixed Media on Canvas. 40x 65"
I saw Viola Davis poised gracefully on the cover of Vanity Fair with her back exposed. She was prominently and boldly taking up SPACE, and I wondered about her pose. Her photographer Dario Calmese (the first black photographer to shoot a cover for Vanity Fair) talked about how this photo of “Whipped Peter" inspired it.
I was captivated by the photo of Peter and did some research. I wanted to paint him in the future. And I thought, "the future of 'Whipped Peter', is his successful, rich, well-rested ancestors."
So I enlisted a local model to help create my "Rich Peter," someone who looked HEALTHY, not skinny or malnourished like Peter. Dorsey is a big football player who eats cheeseburgers every day.
In my mind, Rich Peter was resting on something golden. I asked my followers in my stories & you all referred me to the golden stool of the Ashanti culture, which is used for crowning a new king. I put him in gold jewelry and a diamond earring because he's not just royal, he's WEALTHY. 🤴🤲
The hair was important because Dorsey wears his hair in thick long locs, and doesn't care for opinions about it. I thought that was symbolic, too -- of freedom and masculinity.✨
The African pattern in the background is dark blue with actual gold leaf lines to frame the triangles. It also contains leather, beads, clay, and gold string, as pictured. My followers thought these were masculine materials.
If you look closely, you'll see quotes typed on paper strips within the triangles. These are quotes from actual black men who answered my questions when I asked them, "What do you hope for the future? What do you love most about yourself? & What do you want people to know about you?"
Their answers were moving, vulnerable, and honest.
This was the first time I ever painted a man, and the largest size ever. A follower suggested the name "Rich Peter," and I was in love!
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