by Art + Dialogue intern Maddie Fritz
M: How has your style developed through the years and how did you, as an artist, arrive at the works that are featured in the show?
D: In my old sketchbooks, I’ve always been worried about my style and how my art looked. Later on, I felt like I had a revelation that I had to create art not only for myself, but for others and to make to it accessible.
M: How did the process for the video come about?
D: Back when I came up with the concept to make that video, I was on YouTube a lot and watch videos and scrolling down and reading the comments, that gave me an idea. I wondered if there was a way that I could share the things I was reading, because the comments were really nasty comments and shocking and very revealing and I wondered how I could show that effectively. That’s when I thought that a video would be the best way to show the things that I had read.
M: The internet is a very raw news source, compared to popular media which definitely has an agenda.
D: Yeah, and I feel that, in a way, when I submitted it and the video begins with that comment “I don’t think racism exists anymore” and I think that proves that a lot of people don’t think racism exists or that it may not be a big deal, you know, when I see that kind of thing on the internet, when you’re behind the screen, and you can say what is you want without having to worry about being politically correct or if there will be any consequences. The web allows people to really say whatever they want.
M: Is that you face in the background of the video?
D: Yes, it is.
M: You said you had a revelation; was there a specific life event that impacted your work and/or contributed to your evolution as an artist?
D: You know I was always drawing and creating stuff with my Lego blocks, and even in elementary school I remember when Dragon Ball Z came out and I could draw all the characters. But, I was always doing art and drawing and stuff. I had that revelation that my topic would be concerning things that are important to me, race and people of color became really important to me recently as my grandma is really big into genealogy and tracing our ancestral roots. Being from a black family, that’s a little bit harder for us to do because of slavery and white owners not keeping the greatest records. And you know, in America, they don’t really teach African-American or minorities about history reports. My grandma and I started talking about this kind of stuff and her passion for it became my passion for it and I started to get interested in my own roots. Seeing what’s happening now makes me want to change things for my people.
M: Concerning the show and the theme being racial tension in America, coupled with the Art + Dialogue goal of uniting the arts and community, do you have anything to say about connecting with the other featured artists?
D: Oh yeah, definitely, I’m definitely excited to meet the other artists. I kind of want to know what their views are on certain things and I want to know how they want to change things and what their ideas for change are. You know, I want to know all of those things. And this is the first time that I’m going to be a part of a show like this where all the subjects are kind of the same. I’m excited to meet other people like me, young and old, and you know, pick their brains and see what’s going on. I could probably influence them and they can influence me.
M: Is there anything you want to tell young people that are growing up with and facing this level of racial tension in their country?
D: I’m only twenty-four, but I think my message would be that I want to tell the other young people that things will not always be the way they are today. So I want to make sure that they stay strong mentally, and stay strong ethically, gain knowledge and try to change things the best way they can.
M: Are there consistent themes your pursue throughout the creative process? If yes, what are they?
D: Looking at what’s going on in the world, I’ve always felt that art should be a way to voice yourself. I think that’s why I used what I had already and made it apply to what’s passionate for me. This one video is only the beginning of the iceberg of this whole series that I’ve been thinking about. The bigger project will serve as a means to bring about social change in response to the events that are happening right now. The first video is trying to admit and acknowledge that this is a problem. I think the second step is to change stereotypes and the third part to change how history is told.
Devon Tucker’s video is featured in the Art + Dialogue visual art exhibition.
Art + Dialogue: Responding to Racial Tension in America
Sept. 24 – Oct. 11 @ Greensboro College
Art + Dialogue (A + D) is a collaborative project bringing community together using visual art as the catalyst for dialogues around racial tension in America. A + D aspires to make the issue of race and racial tensions more tangible to its audiences and participants and promote greater understanding of different perspectives and experiences.
For a full calendar of events, click HERE.
Devon Tucker has created original works featured in the Art + Dialogue show in the Cowan Humanities Building at Greensboro College.