Starting July 13, and every week until November 2017, a new work of art by Will Felix was released with an accompanying blog on willfelix.com; and is available for sale online at Saatchi Art. Extra content and features is available to those who signed up on the Will Felix Artsite mailing list.
This series represents a new direction for the artist, exploring the possibilities of addressing current events using abstract symbolism with new media.
In spite of the moniker, the series is not meant to be viewed primarily as a treatise of African art or the African experience. Such exercises are best left to talented African artists, some doing incredible things like Laolu Senbanjo.
What these works seek to explore instead is how having this other continent’s name attached to one’s identity (literally, being called African-American) can affect one’s outlook in a unique way. In an age when the term is used to both embolden and to demean; to fetishize and to exclude; it is crucial to examine objectively how the interpretations of this vast region play a part in the world’s perception of its diaspora.
Creatively, there is a strong influence by the work of Norman Lewis, a master of abstract expressionism that didn’t get the strong recognition he deserved because there was an “African” in front of his “American”… even though they didn’t yet use the term during his lifetime; and his work portrayed universal colors, lines, and shapes that didn’t require it to be viewed particularly within a racial context. There is also the influence of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also incorporated voodoo-like iconography that harkens back to African origins.
There is an ongoing public discourse by Americans of Black descent, seeking to identify themselves beyond the confines of their historical placement in Western society. This work hopes to take part in this search.
The full sized digital paintings are available on canvas, with only one print of each work available to the public, and one available on demand for galleries and museums.
Smaller sized open edition prints are available to the public via Saatchi Art.