After attending Art & Soul in years past, it feels like a full circle moment to now be a featured artist. I’m eager to contribute to the celebration of Black culture through my art, share my perspective, and connect with the community in a meaningful way. I really look forward to the opportunity to continue to the celebratory Art & Soul events that amplify the voices and stories within the Black community, fostering a deeper appreciation for the creativity that comes from Indianapolis.
Indy Arts Council
Meet Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist: Boxx the Artist
What are you most looking forward to about being an Art & Soul featured artist?
What is a piece of art you’ve seen or experienced that influenced you and your work the most? Why did this piece have such a profound impact on you?
I recently had a conversation on the topic “art imitates life.” We discussed that art is derived from the human experience and perspective of the artist. So, does it mean that the human existence is art? There is no particular piece of art that has influenced my work. Simply put, people inspire me—especially those from my vantage point. Black culture and the intersecting lived experiences of individuals in this spectrum significantly shape my practice through their authentic narratives and experiences. This serves as a powerful impact to my practice because it shapes the commentary rooted within my work.
I draw inspiration from these rich sources to authentically represent diverse stories, contributing to the dismantling of exclusive systems and fostering a deeper connection between art and community. I believe my work has the capacity to serve as a catalyst for social change through beautiful Black art creating an artistic landscape that reflects the beauties of the human experience through my lens, and through inspiration, building empathy, and spreading joy and love.
Who is your favorite portrait you’ve ever created and why?
I have plenty of favorite portraits that I’ve created, especially as my work evolves and begins to look different. My most recent favorite is a three-portrait series I created of a local, young creative, professionally known as Mel-Lo. I created these three portraits to contribute to my collection, “The Women in Between.” It is a three-part collection containing mediums including portraiture, photography, and film. After speaking with Mel, I wanted to capture their journey highlighting the elements of their story.
There’s a piece titled “Melody,” and this portrait has so much emotion in the eyes where we can really connect with Mel—their essence and life experiences. The next portrait is “Mel: War,” and finally “Mel: Peace.” These pieces visually share their story and how life’s obstacles could not defeat them, making them the champion of their story and their life. I connect with the beauty in these portraits because I was able to connect with the subject on an interpersonal level during an interview, so the way I decided to create this piece is deeper and more meaningful.
How does your identity as a Black woman shape your artistry?
My identity significantly shapes my artistry through the influences, experiences, and perspectives that shape the storytelling within my work. This identity allows me to capture the nuances of the experience as a Black woman. My art becomes a platform for self-expression, empowerment, and celebrating the triumphs and beauty of Black women.
Who are some other artists in Indy whose work you admire?
There are so many local artists in Indy whose work I admire for their range, style, artistic excellence, and dedication to their practice. A few to mention include Phyllicia Carr, Ratat Rayay, Tania Wineglass, Tasha Beckwith, Shaunt’e Lewis, Angelita Hampton, Katherine Fitzpatrick, Plum Virtu, and so many others. I truly admire the commitment it takes to pursue your passion and live your purpose everyday, despite the odds we face as Black women visual artists in Indiana. I consider them all my peers, colleagues, and community. It truly brings me joy to see them in rooms we’re often excluded from, and navigating such a complex journey in the name of art.