Monday, February 19, 2007

Sculpture Your World

Every year in Los Angeles, the Magic Johnson Theater at the Balwin Hills Mall hosts the Pan African Film Festival during Black History Month. Every year that I attend a film or go through the mall to view the artists work I am inspired to paint and sometimes embarrassed to paint.

There are artist that sell their work from all over the world at this event. Beautiful works of art are seen throughout the mall. As soon as I walked into the mall and got my bearings after maneuvering through the hordes of people, I was immediately grasped by one artists work. I passed right by Charles Bibbs table although I was hoping he was there so that I could get the Poster that he designed for the festival signed. So I did stop and ask if he would be there today and was told not until much later.

I went directly to the sculptures of Woodrow Nash. His work is haunting to say the least. His sculptures are so life-like that you almost feel as though they will speak at any moment. I had seen his work before on a television show but did not catch his name. As I gawked at his work I searched for his name. No one was near the sculptures representing him. I did see one piece that I was tempted to throw my credit card down for. (The pic above is an example of his work. Not the one that I attempted to purchase.) I mean I was ready to buy this $1500.00 bust because I was completely drawn and mesmerized by it. I asked a woman if she knew the Artists name and she told me that he had just come back and pointed him out to me. I asked him if he had a card so that I could at least know the man's name before I tried to start a conversation with him about the best way to display the piece I was interested in. He told me that he didn't have any cards with him at the moment but someone would be back with them in 10 mins.

So for the next 10 minutes I walked around the mall viewing other artists work and thinking, "OK where am I going to put this piece in my home". When I returned I found Mr. Nash speaking with 2 white women. I stood patiently while he spoke to them. After several minutes of inspecting his work even closer he still was being monopolized by these white women whom it did not appear that they were going to purchase anything but were continuing to throw accolades at him. I then interrupted and asked for his card as I saw him shuffling them in his hands and hoping that I would pull his attention to me to make my purchase. He handed me the card without even looking in my direction.

Needless to say I did not buy the bust. I'd rather admire it from afar. I wonder how he would have treated me if I had been an older looking black man that visibly looked like I could purchase his work. I must admit I was just in jeans and a t-shirt, but how do you have to look to have a little bit of cash on you?

I'm sure that Mr. Nash gets a lot of lookie-loos at events like this. However, I'm sure some of these lookie-loos do purchase his work. I'm sure he doesn't really need my money as I hear he is working on a big project for a plantation in New Orleans where he'll be sculpting slaves in authentic attire. I'm sure he'll get a lot of money for that and probably doesn't need mine. Even though I think his attitude towards me stunk. I still think he's a phenomenal artist.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the link to view some of his work. Very impressive!

I love art. I collect Thomas Blackshear work. He is a sculpture designer and also drew the art poster for the recently released movie King Kong. You can view some of his work at


D-Place said...

I have a couple of Thomas Blackshear's work as well. I love it.

Anonymous said...

glad to hear you also collect Blackshear :))

BronzeBuckaroo said...

D- I can understand how you were feeling when the guy seeming so dismissive of you. Me, I'd admire the guy's work but wouldn't add one cent of my hard earned money to his bank account and fame. I don't know, when some of "us" get around white folks, we want to ignore one another, be dismissive. Why? I mean, it is pretty dumb for any artist be disrepectful to any potential buyer. He could have easily and politely excused himself from those women to take time with you.

Steve said...

D - I feel really badly that you had a negative encounter with the artist. I bet if he knew about it, he'd work to correct the situation. The saddest thing about being an artist is that they have to be a businessman in order to make a living from it. Unfortunately, many artists are really poor businessmen. He may not have realized what was happening. If you really like his art, and admire him as an artist, I'd give him another chance.

If, on the other hand, you find the guy really is an ***hole, then by all means write him off and look for someone else to patronize.

James said...

I saw his work at the National Black Art Festival in Atlanta last year and I really liked it. That's too bad that he missed out on getting to know you and getting some of your money.

I have a big show coming up in two weeks and your post is good information about how I need to be acting. Thanks.