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  • Can you please tell me your name and where you are from…
    Adelaide Damoah. I was born and raised in London UK.
  • Can you tell us a bit about your work?
    I am a multidisciplinary artist and I use investigative practices including painting, performance, collage and photographic processes to examine various social issues including colonialism, feminism, spirituality and latterly joy.
  • What was the first piece of work that really impacted you and made you consider becoming an artist? Who was the artist?
    That was Diego On My Mind, a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo! I was introduced to her work when I was around age 14 in art class. I vividly remember an entire project based on her work. I made a copy of this painting as a drawing. I still have it somewhere… I then made my own self-portrait inspired by it. I was so struck by her ability to convey emotion in her uniquely surreal way that for a long time I tried to make work like her. From that moment on, I knew I was an artist and despite going on to study first accountancy and then science at university, I continued to draw and paint in this style and continued to do so even once I entered the corporate world.
  • Where do you find inspiration for your work?
    At the moment, I don’t feel I have to search for inspiration as it is all around me. I am working on a lifetime project called Confronting Colonisation all the time and the source material I have for this is endless. I am constantly inspired by the books I read and by my artist friends and colleagues, as well as curators and gallerists I work with. I am constantly inspired and motivated by my mentors who work across a range of disciplines including law, photography and film. Finally, I am constantly inspired by my mentee whose drive and ambition fills me with pride and joy!
  • Do you have a particular plan/routine when you start painting? OR Would you say that you have a routine in your creative process, or is it more organic?
    I don’t have a set routine but ultimately, what I do depends on the particular project or piece that I am working on. My processes both inside the studio and in performance are organic and intuitive, but they have at their core a lot of reading, researching, thinking and soul searching. All of my accumulated experience, knowledge and passion directs the work in a way that is difficult to explain and easier to demonstrate. When working on body print works, there is body memory and instinct which dictates how I position myself. When I am using photographic processes like cyanotype or image transfer techniques, there is a certain amount of thinking and planning, but mostly the work is experimental and intuitive. I enjoy the beauty of imperfection and of what others may deem to be mistakes.
  • What is a typical studio day for you? Do you listen to music? Are your materials chaotic or are you super organized?
    There is no such thing as a typical studio day! What I do in the studio on a particular day depends on what I am working on. If I am working on cyanotypes and image transfer, the studio is much cleaner. If I am painting or using pigment, the stuff gets everywhere because those works tend to be large. There are experimental works everywhere. On the walls, on the chairs and on the table. My studio is chaotic and messy. When I work with pigment, it gets all over the place! I tend to warn people to wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty on studio visits because, during those times, it is inevitable that you will get pigment of some kind on you. I have a shelving system so you could say it is more organised chaos as I know where everything is. What I listen to depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to art podcasts all day and other times I listen to audiobooks. This tends to be when I am working on photographic process and collage/image transfer type works for some reason. When I am painting, I am more likely to listen to music. This can vary drastically depending on my mood and on the colours I am using. Loud colours tend to get me in the mood for 90’s hip hop and R&B, deep house or afrobeats. More muted colours and moods get me in the mood for classical piano music. Regardless of mood, I am currently obsessed with a classical pianist called Joep Beving. I currently have his latest work on repeat. Another playlist I am obsessed with at the moment is Max Richter. I can listen to him all day. On the flip side, I am in love with FKA Twigs and Moses. I have them both on the same Apple playlist for some reason. They just work together for me and I love them.
  • How has your work evolved this year? Have you had to adapt in response to COVID-19?
    Yes, I found myself wanting to make work for the joy of it rather than to examine my usual social issues. I found myself craving intense colours like hot pink, purple and cobalt blue. I went with it and let myself explore. Up until this point, I have tended to use muted and arguably sombre colours in a lot of work- of course with the exception of ultramarine blue and red with the This Is Me series of work. Black and gold were my go-to for Genesis. Making work for the pure joy of it has been a healing and cathartic experience. Going into the studio has been an escape into another world where only the joy of colour, beauty and sound exists and it has been a lot of fun. This inevitably leaked into my more serious work so now there are some works with the image of my great grandmother- which has been used repeatedly in multiple works as kind of a jump-off point to discuss colonialism and empire while mythologising her- have now incorporated that beautiful hot pink and are infused with its pure joy. I made ten works in direct response to the crisis- the series is called Dreams Of Overcoming. The works accompanied a poem which speaks directly about the crisis using metaphor. I performed the piece in August of 2020, just after we came out of the first lockdown. This was the first time I had performed a poem in 11 years. This was another cathartic and healing experience which felt very needed at the time. So yes, there was organic growth and adaptation to the situation. It was not planned, it just unfolded in that way and I opened up to it willingly.
  • What do you still find exciting about painting as a medium?
    I work in an unusual way when I work with paint in that I put my whole body into it. This is exciting for me as it allows me to truly embody and maximise my expression in a way that I was not able to access when I painted in a more traditional way. This flexibility and expansiveness is exciting and interesting to me. It is thrilling to imagine just how far I can take this.
  • How do you find working with Liquitex materials?
    At the moment, I am using a lot of Liquitex professional acrylic inks and setting sprays for my pigments. The colours of the inks are intense and satisfying. They are water-resistant which is great because when working with paper, I tend to use the inks to dye the paper multiple times and then soak the paper in water (once dried) before dying again. The same applies to canvas. I will throw ink at the canvas, let it dry (it dries very quickly) and then go over it again with a different colour. Sometimes I’ll add pigment, spray the pigment with Liquitex setting varnish and then go over again with more ink. I use the satin spray varnish and it works very well for these processes, even when I have to layer multiple times. Some of the inks also work very well with staining paper to use for cyanotypes, which is fantastic- as not all inks work with this process. I am completely in love with the iridescent inks! They have this subtle quality which is just beautiful on small intimate works.
  • How does the environment around you impact your work – do the things you encounter in your day to day feed into your paintings? How so?
    In my flat, I am surrounded by endless books. They feed my practice by feeding my brain! I’m generally always reading at least one book and on a day to day, I’ll pick up a book of poems and read something which can spark ideas. Sometimes it goes somewhere, other times not. Sometimes I’ll just journal about those thoughts and ideas. Then there is the environment outside. I am surrounded by gorgeous green spaces and my flat and studio are right on top of a lovely lake with swans and ducks. I can see them from my living room window and sometimes go out to feed them. Seeing them and hearing them is comforting and calming. Lately, I have been using dried grasses from my local area in my cyanotypes while contemplating the intersection between environmentalism and colonialism- inspired by conversations with my friend Dr Jasmine Pradessito- an amazing artist whose main passion is environmentalism which she explores very beautifully and subtly in her work. The environment in which I live, the natural environment outside and the people around me all impact me in meaningful ways and this inevitably comes out in the work.
  • What do you find are some of the best things about being an artist?
    Freedom! There is nothing I crave more than the freedom to be, the freedom to express myself in whichever way I choose. Creativity, art-making is my refuge, my comfort. It is my entire being and there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
  • What do you find most challenging about being an artist?
    I sometimes worry that I won’t have the time in my life to make all of the work I want to make and that I won’t be able to fulfil my full potential. There is so much work to do and despite everything slowing down, it feels like there is so little time. This is a constant source of frustration and occasional angst, but mostly, I just get on with living it and enjoying it.
  • What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
    Be true to yourself and follow your bliss. If this is what you really want to do, persist, practice, learn and work. Don’t give up. Respectfully ask someone you know who you admire and respect to mentor you. The value of mentors can not be overstated in any profession.
  • Do you have an upcoming project that you could share with us?
    Yes, I am preparing an installation for Signature African Art in Mayfair dealing with colonialism and personal history. The show will be presented by Maro Itoje and pandemic permitting, should open in May 2021.
  • Can you please tell me your name and where you are from…
    My name is Sadé (Sha-Day) DuBoise and I’m based out of Portland, OR.
  • Can you tell us a bit about your work?

    I’m a self taught visual artist making work using acrylics in heavy body, soft body, and gouache. I’ve found myself predominantly using Liquitex’s Acrylic Gouache products with Liquitex Soft Body and paint pens.

    I’m Oregon born, having grown up in St. Johns/N. Portland, with a deep appreciation for the great outdoors and biodiversity of Oregon. I view my work as sociopolitical by exploring the experiences of multi-racial people - predominantly African-Americans and our experiences and connectedness to nature through visual storytelling. I dispel the notion that Black people fear the great outdoors or prefer urban settings to nature by painting portraits of African-Americans in the great outdoors of Oregon. A lot of the backgrounds I paint are places I’ve visited personally in Oregon while hiking and backpacking. I focus on portraiture with an affinity for capturing Black women in all their glory, beauty, and vulnerability.

    I’ve recently gone full-time in my artistic practice, having built a supporting base and resonating style since April 2017, through my practice Sade DuBoise Studio. Recently, I’ve been selected to paint the historic portrait of Justice Nelson, the first African-American to sit on the Oregon Supreme Court, for the North Clackamas Adrienne C. Nelson high school, opening Fall 2021. In December 2020, I was selected as a Regional Arts & Cultural Council Support Beam resident and grantee, where I was able to paint the piece “Mother of Judah”, which is now acquired into their portable art collection. I’ve also been selected as an Arnold Schnitzer Museum of Art BLM artist grantee, where I am currently painting a 30”x40” work inspired by Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit”. For the next step in my artist career I’ve applied to BFA programs in Oregon. I’m looking to accept my offer to the Pacific Northwest College of Art, starting in the Fall of 2021!

    Almost daily I paint a 4x6” portrait for $100. I am a part of a Black Portland Group on Facebook with people always looking for original artwork. However, their budget is generally $50-100. Finding original artwork at that price comes with a lot of scoffing at the collectors end. So I came up with mini originals, which take me about 1-3 hours for me to complete. Offering these pieces at $100 allows making collecting original art more affordable and accessible for lower-income budgets.

  • What was the first piece of work that really impacted you and made you consider becoming an artist? Who was the artist?

    The first piece that really impacted me was “Untitled (Lovers)” by Kerry James Marshall. When I saw the piece, I realized I hadn’t seen Black people in art before. I loved his palette for painting dark skin, of Black people in different everyday situations. His work made me want to paint so I could tell visual stories about Black people living in the Pacific Northwest. Other artists that inspired me as a teenager were local artist Arvie Smith and renowned artist Kehinde Wiley.

  • Where do you find inspiration for your work?

    For my portraits, I find tons of inspiration from the several boards I have curated on Pinterest. These include “Black Women”, “Black Men”, and “Women”. I have a variety of boards of artists, art, and techniques I’m inspired by. I also am deeply connected to my Instagram, where I also save posts with artists, paintings, and models that inspire my work. When it comes to portraits, I tend to favor a certain look - often the model is looking at the camera (or viewer), with a look that shows vulnerability or fierceness or softness that I’m myself feeling at the moment.

    For my landscapes, I gather all my favorite pictures I’ve taken myself during hiking, backpacking, and camping trips throughout Oregon. I also have a landscape board on Pinterest I visit a lot for inspiration for my backgrounds.

  • Do you have a particular plan/routine when you start painting? OR Would you say that you have a routine in your creative process, or is it more organic?

    Lately I’ve been painting a lot of 4x6” paintings, so I’ll describe my routine with these.

    I’ll start by looking at my inspo boards to figure out what portrait/landscape combo I’m going to paint. Then I’ll prep the canvas by using gesso/heavy gesso on heavy watercolor paper. I’ll tooth the gesso with a palette knife if I want any texture. Once that dries I’ll sketch the piece. I start in the background and move forward to the portrait. Usually it goes sky, horizon, middle ground, foreground, face (eyes, nose, mouth, then rest of face going from eyebrows, bridge of nose, cheeks, chin, sides of the face and forehead), body, clothes, and hair last. I paint using color intuitively, whatever my eye gravitates towards, I use that color straight out of the tube. Other times, I use an assortment of colors on my palette. With this process I take about 1-3 hours.

  • You recently moved into a new studio space. What has that transition been like?

    Moving into a new studio space has been an amazing experience! I love the location of the space (near downtown, Portland), which is right next to PushDot Studio where I get all of my captures done. With the recent snowstorm, I brought an overnight pack of materials from my studio and currently am working from home. I head to my studio about three-four times a week to package and ship orders.

    Due to COVID-19, the restrooms are closed in the space, so I don’t stay in the studio long. I’m mainly using the space to pick up materials, store new paintings, and package shipments until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. I look forward to being in the studio space full-time!

    All of my bigger projects, such as the Justice Nelson portrait, are being painted in the studio.