This series of paintings developed after I decided to finally change direction from the African theme in 2000. I actually felt that I was stuck in a rut and could not get out. I became a social painter exhibiting to defend the African population from racism. I regularly exhibited during events to defend human rights and to support the struggles of migrant families . Being an artist, I deeply needed to expand and explore other avenues , themes and techniques. Visual artists are like scientists who's role is to discover, research and explore. I truly felt that I needed to continue my research into the visual image. Actually, I was watching a Hip Hop festival on the television one evening that was held at "La VIllete" in Paris. The break Dancers totally blew me away. I quickly put in a VHS video cassette to record the event and used one of my large sketch pads. I would pause the VCR to be able to sketch the poses I froze on the screen. This became a crazy way to work. As one can imagine, this was not the peak of technology. The paused image on the screen would vibrate terribly, was blurred and the image would only last five minutes before the VCR started to play again. There was no way I could get back to the same position to refine my drawings. This meant I had to sketch rapidly to obtain the main forms and movement. Some paintings would only take five minutes to create. The high-lighting and sketch would be completed before the image was lost after the VCR started playing. The colours would be added afterwards. Technology improved and I purchased the first digital camera. I went to Hip Hop festivals and battles to photograph the dancers but here, the technology was still not up to the task. The camera had a delay when I tried to shoot a specific position or pose and I could not adjust the shutter speed, so all my photographs were blurred and I never knew exactly what I was going to get because of the delay in the shutter release. Once again, this was the exciting part of the process and the images were, in the end, exactly what I needed. I worked quickly and painted with aggressive strokes and movements. Unfortunately my momentum was cut short when I had to return to my full time teaching job in August 2003, after being on a one year sabbatical. I stopped painting for almost two years before reverting to drawing the vibration series in the metro.
HIP-HOP & Breakdance