Kevin Appiah-kubi & JusDon Hollie
Kevin Appiah-Kubi is an artist focused in painting, drawing, and photography. Currently based in Dallas, TX, he is originally from Brooklyn, NY. In 2018, he received his BFA in photography and drawing from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX.
Jusdon Hollie is an concept artist and video editor focused on bringing new ideas to the industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, Jusdon has participated in multiple collabrative art projects. He also studied Graphic Design at Midwestern State University. Currently working towards video game development.
Keepers of Knowledge, Oil paint on canvas, 30 x 48 inches, 2018, NFS
In Keepers of Knowledge, Jusdon Hollie and I give a modern spin to a work of art from the past. Referencing “The Ambassadors” (1533) by Hans Holbein the Younger, we used the subject’s posture and regal stance to collaboratively create an oil painting that reflects to who we and what influences our art practice today.
Civil rights, photography, music, and being American are amongst the number of influences one can depict form this oil painting. On the left side, Jusdon holds his stylus and tablet to reference his appreciation for digital drawing and graphic design. His white shirt, which subtly reads “Peoples...” refers to the free food program organized by the Black Panthers in the 1970s. Below his left arm are books ranging from Malcolm X to Men’s Adventures graphic comics. On the right side, I am holding a paint brush while wearing a paint-splattered apron and representing Midwestern State University’s mascot with the “Mustangs” text on my sleeve. The books under my arm refer to my painting influence with ‘Kerry James Marshall Mastry’ and my photographic influence with ‘Gordan Parks I Am You’. Two things Jusdon and I share in common are being American, hence the folded flag between our arms, and our love for music, depicted with the dark gray iPod classic at the center of the table.
Throughout the history of art, black figures have rarely been portrayed by prominent European artists. This underrepresentation creates a false narrative of how African-Americans have lived their lives. Having us as figures at the center of my work puts us at the forefront and gives us a true sense of importance and dignity. Depicting my actual experiences as an African-American creates an honest portrayal of who we are and what we go through, from my perspective. I observe these moments of expressiveness and try to create a new narrative. In turn, it contrasts previous depictions of the black figure in art history and promotes an honest rendition for the future of art.