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"Innocence Lost"  - Digital Art ©2008 WildGoddess

"Innocence Lost" - Digital Art ©2008 WildGoddess

I created this using an old vintage photo.  I am always taken by these boys piercing stare; they literally burn.  Should little boys even be this intense?  I guess if you were a slave, you would be, too!  Nevertheless, it remains one of my favorites.  It’s also for sale as a giclee print in my Etsy Shop.

"Omega" - 5" x7" watercolor ©2009 WildGoddess

"Omega" - 5" x7" watercolor ©2009 WildGoddess

Another watercolor from my sketchbook………….

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You Go, Girl!   Photo ©Reuters

You Go, Girl! Photo ©Reuters

I’m a hardcore “Obama Mama” and make no apologies about it!  And I just love this photo of Michelle Obama taken during last month’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.  It speaks to me, “Yeah, girl, we can do it!”  (Plus her dress was gorgeous!)

It’s now the wallpaper on my cell phone.

Even her handsome husband, the President of the United States made a cute little joke during the dinner about the First Lady’s shapely upper arms.  And the evening’s performer, comedian Wanda Sykes, cracked quite a few controversial jokes, but the one that tickled me the most was this one:

“How dare you people give her grief about showing her arms. The country’s broke! Sleeves cost money!”

To read more about the event, go here.

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When I first saw Cedric Smith’s paintings, they left me breathless.  This highly creative Savannah artist and photographer creates works that are reminiscent of old, classic billboards and signs, yet they literally burst with political and sociological meaning and allegory.

Cedric Smith with one of his artworks

Cedric Smith with one of his artworks

You see, in my opinion, America’s past with it’s black citizens hasn’t yet been healed in the hearts of those whose ancestors suffered underneath the lash, and in the hearts of those unnamed persons who participated in slavery in either a positive or negative way.  And even within more recent times, there is a rich, rich gumbo of African-American history still waiting to be mined.  I sense there are so many untold, hidden stories yet to be told that we need to hear, so many unknown ancestors lost forever, so many unshed tears held in so long they’ve become concrete . . there is so much more to be uncovered and revealed to the light of day via the creative expressions of art, music, dance, and the printed word.

As an artist I long to participate, I open my heart as much as I can to hopefully catch just a wisp of my ancestors’ voices, whispering, whispering to me . .

"Kool Aid" - 48" x 36"  ©Cedric Smith

"Kool Aid" - 48" x 36" ©Cedric Smith

Yet I feel that Cedric Smith, in his own unique way, is doing that. He’s offering to every one of us an opportunity to re-discover a moment in time in African-American history – what it felt like, what it smelled like and, most importantly, what it meant to those disenfranchised individuals who lived during those times.  Go there.

 "Be", 36" x 36", mixed medium on canvas  ©Cedric Smith

"Be", 36" x 36", mixed medium on canvas ©Cedric Smith

I invite you to visit Cedric Smith’s website and check out all of his stunning artwork.  And then, think about your ancestors, how they lived, what they endured and what legacy they left you.  What can you add to their legacy – as an artist, as a person of this culture and this world?  What will your legacy be?

You can also visit Cedric Smith’s blog, “Vintage Blood” here.

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All photos, artwork and writing on the L’Artisana WildGoddess blog by WildGoddess are protected under copyright ©2003-2009 WildGoddess, and cannot be copied, distributed or reprinted without written permission from the artist.  If you would like to use something from this blog, contact WildGoddess to obtain her permission in advance.  Thank you for your consideration.

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I am an avid fan of vintage everything, especially old architecture, and I have my twin sister to thank for that. When we were kids, she used to drag me kicking and screaming to thrift stores, swap meets, antique shops, you name it.  And now that I’m older, I have a renewed appreciation for them and she can’t keep me out of them.

Upper-Lobby-Chandelier, Los Angeles Theatre

Upper-Lobby-Chandelier, Los Angeles Theatre

Recently, the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) has been conducting weekend tours of downtown L.A’s grand old theaters on Broadway, so we both leapt at the chance to check them out.

Ceiling Detail, Los Angeles Theatre

Ceiling Detail, Los Angeles Theatre

Vintage buildings were built so much more elaborately in the past, and you can literally see the unique hand of the maker in the workmanship, which is always so breathtakingly beautiful.

Stage Curtain Embroidery Detail, Los Angeles Theatre

Stage Curtain Embroidery Detail, Los Angeles Theatre

I’m showing photos I took of the Los Angeles Theatre and the Tower Theatre; however, you’ll note that I also photographed their decrepitude, as well as their absolute beauty; that’s just because I also like peeling, fading and tatters, too.

Roof Detail, Tower Theatre

Roof Detail, Tower Theatre

My favorite part of the tours were the old projectionist booths; there’s something so haunting about them.

Vintage Backstage Chair, Los Angeles Theatre

Vintage Backstage Chair, Los Angeles Theatre

Nevertheless, these grand old ladies ARE falling apart, which is heartbreaking.  This situation might make for interesting photography, but it would be devastating to lose these gorgeous landmarks.  They need donations to keep them going, and they need a purpose – so if you’re in Los Angeles, and looking for a regular venue to hold an event, meeting, play or concert, please give them a call.  And be sure to sign up for their mailing list if you’d like to tour them!

Ceiling Detail, Tower Theater

Ceiling Detail, Tower Theater

From their website:

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, restoring and sustaining the operation of Southern California’s historic theatres.”

Rooftop overlooking Broadway, Los Angeles Theatre

Rooftop overlooking Broadway, Los Angeles Theatre

“Founded in 1987 by the creators of the LA Conservancy’s first Last Remaining Seats series and officially registered by the State of California in 1988, the LAHTF is chartered to address the complex challenges of theatre preservation – including ownership, management, programming, preservation advocacy.”

Lobby Stained Glass & Chandelier, Tower Theater

Lobby Stained Glass & Chandelier, Tower Theater

“It is not enough to save a historic theatre.  After rescue & rehabilitation these theatres must have active and economically viable lives.”

Projectionist Booth, Los Angeles Theater

Projectionist Booth, Los Angeles Theater

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All photos, artwork and writing on the L’Artisana WildGoddess blog by WildGoddess are protected under copyright ©2003-2009 WildGoddess, and cannot be copied, distributed or reprinted without written permission from the artist.  If you would like to use something from this blog, contact WildGoddess to obtain her permission in advance.  Thank you for your consideration.

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Yes He Can!

Oh, no, You Didn't! Oh, Yes he Did! (Photo: The Huffington Post)

This blog is not going to be only about politics, folks, but please bear with me for a while – these are important times that must be documented!

We now have a new President-Elect and First Lady – the brilliant, brilliant Barack Obama and his accomplished wife, Michelle. This is pure Destiny at work, and I, for one, am absolutely over-the-moon – not just for myself and all Americans, but also for all of my Black and Native American ancestors – glory, glory day!

Now we will see positive change come to our country, after decades of neglect.  Yes, glory days have now arrived in our society, and an Age of Humanism will replace the previous Age of Greed. (Of note: the name “Barack” means “one who is blessed” in Swahili…..)

Out of all of the moments during this history-making event, the one that moved me the most (not counting Mr. Obama’s inspiring acceptance speech in Grant Park), was when he and his wife visited the White House to meet with the Bushes.  I don’t know if you knew this, but slaves built the White House – every brick, stone and mortar. And now, two hundred and eight years after the fact (why did it take so long), a brilliant black man is climbing up those same stairs to enter it as the President-Elect.

I wonder what his thoughts were…..and then on top of that, Mrs. Obama wore screamin’ Red!  To the White House!  That color says so much to me – I remember when I was a child, my mother wouldn’t let us girls wear that color, because she said it made our skin look too dark (that was a long time ago, folks!)  Well, Michelle Obama certainly meant some serious business when she wore Red to the White House – You Go, Michelle! Wear It!

The Obamas at the White House - Nov. 10, 2008

The Obamas at the White House - Nov. 10, 2008

I never fully bought into the so-called “American Dream,” because sadly, I finally realized that it really was for the lucky or privileged few who either had a lot of discretionary income to play with, or were in the right place at the right time.  Many, many black Americans, like my parents, literally worked their fingers to the bone for themselves and their families for years and years, to no avail.

However, for the first time since Martin Luther King, there is Hope.  I find both Mr. and Mrs. Obama inspiring, because now I, and other Americans have an new ideal to look up to; a new dream to aspire to.  If they did it, then, really, just maybe, we can, too!

So I raise my glass to Barack Obama; I am behind him one hundred percent! (and Oprah, I thank you as well, for steppin’ up behind the brother like you did with your support!)

Camelot, 1963

The Kennedys at the "Camelot" White House, 1963 (AP Photo/FILE)

When you have a chance, go check out The Huffington Post – they’ve posted a great story called “Bamelot, A New Style For The White House” (A clever title – it’s a play on the Kennedys’ “Camelot White House.”)

p.s.  I promise to post some exciting new artwork soon – here.

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before-stepping-out-onto-inauguration-stand

Tonight as I watched Senator Barack Obama formally accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States, I thought back to my late parents, and prayed that somehow, somewhere, they were able to experience this moment.

They both lived through the Civil Rights Movement, watching the dangerous marches taking place in dangerous Southern towns. They were horrified when Rev. Martin Luther King was shot, mourned when both Kennedy brothers were murdered.

My father dedicated his life to the United States Army – joining at age 13 to fight in the Korean War, and retiring after the Vietnam War. Yet, despite his commitment as a citizen in what the United States Constitution stands for, he endured continual discrimination while laying his life on the line in four wars as a medic on the front lines.  My mother also served in the Army as a hopeful young woman seeking change in her life and in the world around her.

Both of my parents despaired of ever seeing positive, long-lasting change in this country towards citizens of color, the disenfranchised, and women. Nevertheless, they taught all of us to always keep my head high, and to love and keep on loving, no matter what.  And here we are, today, standing on the cusp of positive change.

No matter what happens in the future, Mom and Dad, I dedicate this historic day to you.

To see more incredible photos of this historic moment, visit MSNBC’s photo essay-   here

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"Samsara" ©2006 WildGoddess

This digital art portrait above is of a former slave girl and the sadness and confusion in her eyes literally humbles me.

Who am I in her eyes?

The above work is part of a digital art series I did last year from vintage photos of American slaves from the Deep South. My intention was to reveal their inner beauty and strength despite their seeming conditions. These are photos of ancestors, whom I felt were long overdue to be honored in this way.

Slavery in all of its myriad forms still exists today behind closed doors in even some of the most “refined” societies.

When will we learn? When?
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All photos, artwork and writing on the L’Artisana WildGoddess blog by WildGoddess is protected under by copyright ©2003-2009 WildGoddess, and cannot be copied, distributed or reprinted without written permission from the artist.  If you would like to use something from this web blog, contact me to obtain my permission in advance.  Thank you for your consideration.

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