Standing Tall in the Shortest Month

February is the shortest month. It could be argued that it is the original last month of the Calendar year…which would explain why the phenomenon known as leap year adds a day to it rather than December (not to mention all the months that begin w/ greek numbers are off by 2 ). It is also Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson started Black History Month as a week long celebration/study of historical Black figures that contributed to time but managed to be omitted by history books all the way up to the Collegiate level. After Woodson initiated the observation, the Government commandeered the concept, extended it to a month, enforced it’s observation on the school systems and then gave itself credit for it’s effects on Race Relations. To this day, many people who are not or do not identify w/ being Black do not understand why Black History Month exists or what it serves to undo. Some people who are Black hold the same disposition. I am not here to discuss that b/c of the complexity of the subject and - in all inconvenient honesty- it is tiring enough just existing in the reality. Having to constantly explain it only takes more from the limited time we have here. What I AM here to do is show some love during February in a few ways.

First way is by simply saying I Love you enough to beg you to love yourself. Period. You will treat people no less than you would be treated and want for them what you want for yourself. It is not an ideal. It is a commitment to freedom and love is free. Yes. Love is free and all love starts w/ self.

This is why I decided to repurpose Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the importance of Self-Love to all relationships. Community, personal and professional. If love is absent from the situation and those involved in it, the whole will suffer.

I love Adobe Illustrator. It shows every time I step to an artboard. Therefore it was an act of love drawing Kwame Toure and Winnie Mandela.

 If you are not familiar w/ either of those names, do a search, do some research and then come back and analyze these smiles. They are pure. They are expressions of humanity where there should be shattered spirits and huddled masses. Nah. Just beautiful smiles from people in hideous situations. People living life in the crosshairs but still capable of smiling. I can relate. In uncertain times, maneuvering w/ limited resources and against steep odds will weigh your smile down and wear your heart out. Completing these pieces replenishes my grin. Being what I am supposed to be to my Family makes me smile. It is difficult to do either if I do not establish my worth and demand it. That is impossible if I don’t love myself and what I do. This is why I go so hard. This is why this portfolio was conceived months ago but birthed in February.

These pieces dedicated to Self-Love make use of the contours of the subjects. Reflecting the contours onto themselves reveals an inferred heart. I drew the other half of the heart to create something symbolic and piercing. The contrast in background forces the eye to the smiles which are the stars of the show. 

I love hard and as a result I am hard to love. I still need it though. Knowing it starts within me increases the chance that I will attract it and draw it out of others. Not everyone. Just some. I accept that. So I show love through these pieces, the ideation behind them and the cause(s) that motivates them. I do it when life is not lovely to sustain me until it is to remind me what love is. I do it every month but this is me standing tall in the shortest month by sharing what I love from myself to you.

First Things First…

I saw Trevor Noah’s stand up on Netflix not long ago. He earned this drawing. Super witty, young comedian w/ spot on accents and a keen worldview that doesn’t forget to be funny.

Art inspires art.

Full piece. Clever Knower is a flip of Trevor Noah.

I flipped his name into the title. I completed the illustration in 2 sittings. 

Behold the pale blue pin stripes. This was executed using straight lines, the blend tool, transparency masks and the McGuyer Creative gene…

I tried…extremely hard to NOT add the lines to his blazer. I tried. Then I remembered that’s what separates Neophytes from Enthusiasts. Not being new to the fight and enthusiastic when challenging self, forced my hand to add the proper details where they would earn me respect from my peers and lovers of artistic obsession alike.

…Drop Shadow love. I used a gradient and NOT the layer FX.

My favorite part of this piece is the drop shadow beneath his arms. It adds dimension b/c it makes it seem as though he’s leaning out of a 2D poster.

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