Before I started painting my body map, I watched the movie “Hustle and flow” a couple of times. In the beginning he talks about how men aren’t like dogs because we know about death, and that over all we have to make things happen regardless of what is going on around us because all we are given is right now. That is what my body map is about. The time between the past and the future. The present is sometimes like this alternate universe that we’re trapped in. The past is what got here and we are working towards the future. We very seldom pay attention to the present, to the right now.
I pulled a lot of old photographs out my mothers photo album. Photos from my childhood to now, My uncles and aunts. Family gatherings. I love my mother’s family, I identify with them the most.
"Rather than scan these photo’s for my map, I took pictures of them. Interweaving them on the paper. Then I painted over them to tie them together. After all, they are all tied together."
My image of me is done with soft pastels. On the left side it covers over parts of my life, some are pictures of my kids when they was smaller, wedding pictures or pictures of my family before the divorce ( 2yrs) before the custody battles etc… I brushed away some of the pastel so that my past could be transparent and slightly visible yet still you would have to take a harder look.
"I have always wanted to be a father since I was 8 yrs old. Some of those memories are deep they allow me to smile when I am unable to …."
My favorite pictures are the ones of me and my kids and the ones of my four kids. The end of my marriage was my death. Painting is my rebirth, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with pictures and that’s why people call me watercolors ( my poetry name).
The left side is dreamy, like the past being almost like this dream state, fading away, I was softer then. Life was more about her than me and I was more selfless, less argumentative, more of a people pleaser. The other side is more solid in the chest and stomach, face and it wouldn’t be me without the nose. But I wasn’t going for perfection because I’m not perfect, nor am I finished.
"The colors in the wash are watercolors, bright, vibrant, yet translucent, moving. I tried to create layers of colors and pictures because our lives are layered with colors and pictures, images good, bad, and indifferent."
I love working with watercolors and paper. The way the paper stretches and is pliable. The wash is sometimes a piece within its self. The first layer telling you how to apply the second layer. They let you know which colors should drip and which ones shouldn’t. The dripping over the photos shows how they bleed over into other areas of your life. Starting from the top images bleeding into the bottom image, and then off the page. The continuous flow.
For me, painting myself nude was the only way to peel away who I thought I was so I could see who I really am. A man naked, vulnerable with nothing to hide.
Taking off the clothes took away those things that don’t allow others to see the scares, the skin and the penis which in early art was considered to vile an image to be viewed publicly. Naked, I became a nude. A piece of art still unfinished. A work in progress. I believe people take love for granted and that is the look on my face turned from the past looking towards the future looking for love.
Jamele Wright Sr. is the founder of the Neo Renaissance Art House and is heavily involved in the arts: Writing, painting, performing, and curating.