Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everyone Is Colored

Whenever I hear the term “people of color”, there is a deafening silence that ensues. The silence is my own, since I object so much to the term and have to swallow it quietly. Certainly, this particular saying is the offspring of America’s troubled racial history—when it was necessary to separate people by skin color. I have traveled the world and know firsthand that to describe someone as “colored” in a country like say, Egypt, would bring laughter and bewilderment. It is so obvious that everyone is colored.

To say “people of color” is like saying “apples of the trees” or “horses of four legs” and yet, people continue to make use of this phrase and it is often heard in otherwise serious conversation. I have written on this subject before, see: People Of Color.

Recently, I have been working on a series of images using photos I took several years ago. At the time, I arranged to work with a very light skinned young woman, and asked her if she would model with a male. She told me her roommate would probably agree, and that he was black. Immediately, I welcomed this arrangement and soon, we were in my studio to work together. The entire session was delightful, especially since the two young people were perfectly at ease with each other and uninhibited enough to be naked and close and without tension. They were like little children—innocent, free, and untainted by guilt from notions of original sin.

I have been re-visiting the images from those sessions. With my wide-format printer, I can print on paper or canvas, up to almost four feet wide. Then I stretch the canvas on to stretcher bars, as I normally do with paintings. After that, I can paint them, making them into more than simple photographs. They become mixed-media art.

While I work, I love the contrast between her pale skin tones and his rich, chocolate color. In places, I intentionally blur areas that separate them, so that they are melding together.

See more Steven Boone Artwork

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