In the Gallery with Artist John Edwards
by Terence Frasier
1. Jeff and Shaka came up with the concept of Afrikatalyst, and recruited people that they knew would be down with their artistic vision. Afrikatalyst provides people with day jobs in education or other service professions to have a voice in the art world and be a catalyst for new thoughts and actions. We have a unique perspective on what it means to be young and black today, by virtue of our “nine to five” gigs.
2. I’m inspired by current events, television and other media, barbershop conversations, and my own personal experience. Growing up, I bounced around between the “black world” and the “white world” and the tone of my artwork is a reflection of that.
3. My favorite method of creation is using pen and ink and colored pencils on paper. They’re mostly done in a single frame. I’ve recently been inspired by Johnnie to do some painting too, but I’m mostly a pen and pencil cartoonist.
4. Not to sound full of myself, but I really like all of my work. I’ve never been a fan of art with nebulous meanings and unrecognizable figures, so I try to make sure the viewer knows pretty much exactly what I mean with each drawing. “Reconstruction!”, however, is the most “controversial” which means a lot to me. It starts (and ends) many a conversation. Most people don’t know how to handle it. Even though it depicts the demise of a terrorist organization at the hands of hardworking American citizens, it still manages to put people off. Plus, I put the faces of some people I love in it too, for a personal touch.
5. This drawing is an updated version of a cartoon I drew for Morehouse College’s newspaper, The Maroon Tiger. I don’t think it was well-received by the student body at large. It was meant to be a tongue in cheek indictment of conservative policies at an HBCU, but I think the early version of the drawing was too subtle to get that point across. This version, however, is more of a criticism of society at large. Now that I’m older, the last ten years of my life have mirrored this drawing in many ways. I want people to realize that change can be a confusing and painful process, but it is necessary for survival.
6. At the moment, I print my artwork on t-shirts, hoodies, handbags and posters under the unofficial moniker “Pocketlint Productions”. Most recently, I have self-published a collection of my drawings and essays in a book entitled “The Slave who was Allergic to Cotton”, which I’ll be distributing out of the trunk of my car. Anyone looking to contact me for networking or to make purchases can find me on facebook (of course), and “Pocketlint” has a myspace page as well. The official website will be done soon.