Magickal Project 5 oF 5: The Images; Artist John jennings

“Just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean that we aren’t real…”  Jesse Williams

“Afrofuturist academics are looking at alien motifs as a progressive framework to examine how those who are alienated adopt modes of resistance and transformation.”
― Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture

Our goal with these pieces is to represent how Black folks tap their imagination to be MORE than “human.” The idea of grooming is to make one’s self look as imagined or desired; by implication, we want to show transformation into the step beyond-the MAGICKAL aspect of looking and being Black, the looks, the culture and the appeal.


Carbon-AR x John Jennings

Model: Michele Fierce

IG: https://www.instagram.com/michelefierce/

Artist:  John Jennings

We are THRILLED to have John Jennings, a HUGE figure in the Modern Black Arts Movement, Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and more as our final Artist in this series!


From The Huffington Post "John Jennings, visual artist pioneer and authorThe artistic work of John Jennings should not escape any contemporary conversation on Black visual artists of the 21st century. John Jennings, co-curator of Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination, offers a fresh perspective on Black imagination and challenges our notions of Black expression in popular culture by forcing those that engage with his work to envision a future that inverts our notion of the historical and contemporary Black experience."


From the Hutchins Center: John Jennings is Professor, Media and Cultural Studies,  University of California, Riverside.  His work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning essay collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center's Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal's Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings sits on the editorial advisory boards for The Black Scholar and the new Ohio State Press imprint New Suns: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Speculative. (More...)

 

We asked John to take one of our favorite images with our BLK FST Comb and create something amazing.  He, of course, did not disappoint.

His hyper real graphic style combined with calls to the past, present and future is what we were looking for!

From the Artist John Jennings on the piece:  I was inspired by Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair” for this piece. I am a massive Prince fan and I still mourn his passing. In this case, the “She” is the “Motherland”. I was wanting to make the connection between hair, aesthetics, Afrofuturism, Hip Hop, and the cycles of connection to our ancestors. The fist is closed, to be true. Inside the fist there can be many treasures to enjoy once the fight is done.

We first became aware of John Jennings with his collaborative efforts with writer Damian Duffy and their seminal book Black Comix, now a hard to find classic. 

This year, the team of Jennings and Duffy have taken on the Butler Family Authorized Graphic Novelization of Octavia E. Butler's Kindred , which has become New York Times Best Seller .

"I think Kindred is still an extremely important piece if you see what’s going on now politically. Octavia Butler’s work in general is important to literature, and I think she’s been unsung to a certain degree, even though she has tons of people who love her work. In Kindred, I think she deals with a lot of misconceptions about how slavery has affected our country, on both sides of the fence."  (More...)