I learned when creating a safe space, love, appreciation and understanding should be the foundation of the structure. While creating a safe space for all of my subjects, establishing a safe atmosphere for my black subjects allowed them to be vulnerable, express their creative freedom and to celebrate their black essence in peace. My mission statement is to promote self-love, body positivity and individuality. I hope to expose that true essence is deeper than skin.
As an artist in residence at Flower City Art Center in Rochester, NY, I had the opportunity to recreate a year long portrait series called Pigment Series. Pigment Series is a collection of mix media artwork that consists of vivid colored lighting, semi nude photography and body painting. This series originally started three years ago ( January 26th, 2017) in Charleston, SC during a time when racial tension and terrorism towards Blacks and POC were at a high.
At the time, my goal was to photograph a wide range of diverse people from different racial experiences and create a visual narrative on beauty and liberation. Eventually, by the end of 2017, I photographed about 50 participants in the Charleston area. Although recent events halted my goal for 2020, I was able to surpass 50 participants, completing this series with 69 participants in the Rochester area.
DEWAYNE "DRUMWERK" JAMES
LAVONNE "LOVEON" BARFIELD
NAJAY "HALO BOY" QUICK
TY "CREATE 2 INSPIRE" BURRS
SHAQ "AOR" PAYNE
SIMONE "SYMPHONIE" OWENS
MICHAEL FILIPEK (GUEST ARTIST)
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PAYPAL: @Cocoa David
I am a Rochester based visual artist and photographer who creates captivating portraits of unique and diverse people and captures their true essence. My style consists of vivid colors, Afrocentric shapes and vibes, as well as bold lighting techniques. My goal is to create a new style of photography that promotes body positivity and self love.
As a plus size Black woman, I believe representation plays an important role in authenticity, identity and individuality. My artistic goals are to promote positive content of diverse people with unique stories, body types and essences; as well as change the negative output on marginalized groups, especially those from the black diaspora.
However, it's important to note that not everyone is going to have the same experiences in these shared spaces and environments, but they do need to be addressed during times of injustice. On the other hand, when creating a safe space: love, appreciation and understanding should be the foundation. In order for anyone to express their true essence, they need a safe, comfortable space free of judgement and discrimination that gives them permission to be their authentic selves.
We live in a time where environments can have a positive or negative impact to certain entities that dwell in them. Sometimes those negative impact can turn dangerous, even fatal to certain groups.
I'm Cocoa Rae!
Dakari “Kari” Brown
Todd “Tre” Tremaine Elliot
Andrew “Toucan” Gardner