My very first encounter with Anthony was at his art exhibit “AfricaInAmerica”, in his home located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Meeting him through a mutual friend of ours, I was completely blown away by his paintings, his image, and how passionate and vulnerable he became when he spoke about his dreams and art. Following that encounter, he introduced me to his blog that he updates daily, “Thebedfordstuyvesantdandy.com”, which gave me further insight on his thoughts, inspirations, and what he was all about in general. Anthony is a young African-American taste maker, and I won’t doubt that he will soon become one of the most influential writers and artists of my generation’s time.
Below is my interview with Anthony. Check out his blog at www.thebedfordstuyvesantdandy.com, and see for yourself the promising future that this young man has ahead of him!
Wishing you the best,
*Take us back to the first spark of inspiration that started “The Bedstuy Dandy”, what was that moment like?*
Ah, well at least two years ago, the actual site began as a place where I could share, my research of Dandyism; the contemporary reception of the concept and movement. I was and still am highly inspired by one’s ensemble and fabrication used as a mode to express personal philosophy, and beliefs. Such were the original pillars of the site, wanting to focus on style, taste, culture of the gent, but I soon discovered later that I also used the TheBedStuyDandy to offer a lens into my self-incubated mania, anxiety and confusion. Offering a prose to my misunderstandings, where I ruled how I could deliver my ideas and interpretations of beauty. I began employing the site to stand as my space of mental respiration. I switched gears, began to promote the site differently, eventually not doing so at all, and allowing those who had the time and space to share with me, to do so unwarranted. It was an invigorating moment, still growing too. I think that’s the best thing, I can always still grow.
*What exactly is the meaning behind your blog name?*
Haha, there isn’t direct definition of the blog’s name, TheBedstuyDandy was contrived from the desire of having a uniform digital identity, across all platforms. The phonetic construction comes from living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and my self-proclamation as a dandy, which we all are, as long as we continue to diversify the expression of our motives and actions. So yeah, nothing too complex just what existed at the time, but now the name stands a place…more so space, where I can lend words to public discussion in a personal sphere.
* You are an excellent writer, what inspired you to get into writing? How does that tie into painting?*
Thank you, I tend to believe I am barely reaching the surface of my gifts, so I appreciate that! I began writing freely as soon as I graduated from college, John Jay College to be exact. There I was greatly influenced by 18th century writing, Virginia Woolf, William Blake, Albert Camus, particularly not from that era but as I studied English Literature, each author and their work converged on the regular. As I began writing more and more on TheBedStuyDandy, the need to illustrate the pangs became necessary, a carnivorous need in me, so I did so. My work thus far at the core has two things a literary reference often more than one and visual elements that speak to the artists before me that I admire. Now, I see my work breaking away from such thinking and standing more alone in development and existence, and um yeah I like that…
*What would you like to be known for in 5-10 years?*
5-10 years I certainly want to be known, but ultimately for influence, change and challenging limits. Funny you ask, I am always questioned essentially what I want to do, with my gifts and I simply answer everything possible. I consider everyone’s life a priority and if I can help improve in any way possible, then I will. In order to do so, I must help myself reach that stage and outlets such as the site and my artistic means are the therapeutic grounds, I plant my feet into for growth.
*What other art mediums to you indulge in besides painting?*
Sculpture, photography, installation and cinematography, minimally. I am currently gaining insight into set design, architecture and design theory, for upcoming projects and current interests. Evolving, remains the theme.
*Tell us the inspiration behind your previous “Africa In America” art showcase, and do you have any new showcases coming up any time soon?*
“AfricaInAmerica” was a project, I developed from a need to express my perspective of “black” culture in America from my eyes, and I always repeat so, from my own observations and study. The catalyst of the project was my first painting, A.I.A (Untitled) that employs the visual dynamics of the American flag, but initiates a discourse of the most dangerous, impoverished and left-to-fend alone cities in the U.S. The project featured work from myself, Carisa Bledsoe, Amanda Spruill and Howard D. Borden spanning over two exhibitions. Currently, I am developing a few projects scheduled for 2014, including Rose I, a group exhibition/installation with works highlighting the relationship between human dependency, emotional repression and botany, preface to C.O.U a performance art platform, concerning youth suicide.
*If millions of people were to quote you on ONE statement of yours, what would that statement be?*
WE LIVE THIS, yeah, that one!
*Where can people keep up with your art progress?*
As I work to develop a strict artist website solely for my visual work, such and my writing can be found on the blog, TheBedStuyDandy (http://thebedfordstuyvesantdandy.com)
*What advice can you give to artists that are trying to gain exposure?*
Advice…only thing I can say is, never say no, to any opportunity, always be prepared and believe in your anxiety and doubt. Makes you stronger, and always will.
*Photo courtesy of MightyBeardo*