Painting Strangers: Keisha Prioleau Martin

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Artist of the Month July 2017: KEISHA PRIOLEAU MARTIN

Interview by Jessica Petrylak

 

SUCKER: Who is Keisha Prioleau Martin?

KEISHA PRIOLEAU MARTIN: My name is Keisha I grew up in Queens, New York. I got my Bachelors of Fine Arts at Purchase College. I paint strangers out of their essential characteristics and collage them into places that can be absurd or funny and definitely emotionally heavy.

SUCKER: What are your preferred medium(s) to work with?

KPM: I prefer to work in acrylic paint because I like to try a lot of new processes and use several layers of patterns and transparent colors. I can layer the paint and adher many things to the surface and It would dry quickly and the objects wouldn’t rot in the surface the way oil paint would. I also discovered that the things that I like about oil painting the color and the viscosity can be recreated in acrylic paint.

SUCKER: Can you speak about your color pallet?

KPM: I love color, I appreciate color interactions and I like using grey and desaturated colors as a way to pump up color . When I paint I am considerate of the temperature ( warm and cool colors) . I love warm colors like orange, red and yellow. The temperature of my palate usually directs my subject into an emotional place. I also use discordant pallets to move the paintings away from looking like the original and natural life environment.

SUCKER: What is your first experience with art? How do believe you have grown overall as an artist?

KPM: As a child I was told to color on Xeroxed copies of coloring books. Then my first sketchbooks filled with drawings of my favorite teachers and self portraits with dogs or birthday hats. When I was ten my father got a part time job at the Cooper Union during a Summer Residency program or similar. I met a lot of amazing artist and I was exposed to a tiny part of the art world. My father like to look at art and we often took walks, he would stop to take a long look at a mural or at a sculpture. If he saw something without me, he would take me back down the street he found the artwork just so he could show me.

I have physical evidence that I have grown overall as an artist and like everything else in life, I keep growing. In those early days I was purely trying to communicate what I liked and what I wanted and show people what made me happy. In middle school and High school and focused a lot on techniques that were effective while learning what it mean to make art in a larger context. By “larger context” I mean art history and it was really important for me to learn it, It gave me more confidence because It became my own history. In college I finally started bring everything together. I started to develop a studio practice and there has been a lot of strength in that.

SUCKER: What is your go-to art making song(s)/What do you listen to while making art?

KPM: The songs usually happy upbeat folk music something I can dance to without too many lyrics. Sometimes I don’t listen to music sometimes I listen to a podcast. I like a few NPR stations. I like Modern Love, Radiolab, Invisibilia, Curious City and This American Life.


SUCKER: What physical and emotional environment is best for you to work in?

KPM: I like working in my studio mostly alone. This allows to play and move around the work enough. I take a sketchbook on the train and to restaurants. For optimal emotional environment, I just have to be in a good mood. I slight bad mood is okay. But have you ever been so upset that you couldn’t work? like your dog dies or you got your heartbroken, sometimes things like that actually inspires production that’s usually where new ideas walk in.

SUCKER: Do you experiment with other forms of Art?

KPM: Yes I experiment with abstract art. it’s becoming more useful in my figurative painting. I have made animations and written poetry and comedy.

SUCKER: What does your art making process look like how long does it take to create a piece?

KPM: My sketchbook filled with layers of notes concealed by drawings is a precious asset to my work. Making line drawings of people in this sketchbook is the way I salvage and sample images from life. My sketchbook was with me to record a student sinking with exhaustion into a café sofa. I am attracted to the emotional weight of posture and expression in the figure, but also to the between spaces interacting around people. From this sketchbook is where I pluck from to form paintings.
Fascination ensues when I find a small detail potent with signs of someone else’s mundane life. My curiosity is sparked by visual inconsistencies. I am charmed into hypothesizing personal narratives about those I encounter from theses potent specifics. I bring their essential characteristics into my paintings the way actors would enter a stage. This is where they can be freed from their own reality and where their emotional weight, posture, and expression can be highlighted. I do not know these people as much as I could and the mystery of these guest remains in the paintings for the viewer to wonder about

SUCKER: What is your ultimate goal involving the Arts?

KPM: I would like to continue making paintings and starting conversations with people.That is what I love so much about painting, being a part of a community and I can make paintings within a world that other people have made paintings but also I want to reach people who have ideas that I haven’t heard and I want to talk to those people I want them to talk to me. I want to learn forever. my goal is to share and talk about art . keep art alive, legitimate, useful and powerful.

SUCKER: Who are your biggest Inspirations within the visual arts world?

KPM: They are really strong artists that put out a lot of work and have a lot of great energy. I really love Dawn Clements, Nicole Eisenman, Jennifer Coates, David Humphrey, Tom Brookhart, Angela Dufresne, Matt Bollinger , Peter Williams, Caroline Wells Chandler and so many more. As Inspiration goes they have shown me that you should always do what you want.

SUCKER: Do you feel it is important as a contemporary artist to share your work online?

KPM: I think that sharing work online should only be promotional. It helps to get people to come to your show or to research who you are. it’s a way to connect with people that aren’t right there in front of your work. some people cannot visit my work in person.I have never seen the Mona Lisa in person I think a lot of people will just see my work online. The internet is a great way to connect and to network with people with similar ideas.

SUCKER: What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?

KPM: The best advice I keep hearing it over and over is that if your work doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. Or if it doesn’t make you happy, WHY do it? That comes into play when I make a mark and I really hate it and but I keep making a mark. What am I doing? if there’s no reason for me doing. if it’s not even for happiness maybe it’s for like a big game like maybe I’m working on my yellow making muscles or something like that but that’s different I mean. it’s like if I’m going to be happy with better painting muscles and that is why I’m doing it but if it’s not making me happy there’s no reason to do it. I’m clearly bothering myself, so stop. That has gotten me in a lot of good places as far as making my work especially after years and years of making work I finally get into a studio and I have a purpose.

SUCKER: What is next for your future art and future self?

KPM: I’m just getting out of school I’m going to stay at New York City and going to live in Queens where I have intentions of connecting with the world in Brooklyn and then the Lower East Side. I am currently working on paintings that incorporate my identity into my narratives a lot more. Now, I am painting about the absurdity of life and the humor in life and also the mundanity of life. I have been asking the questions of what we’re looking at? and who are these people around us? Living in a big city there are strangers everywhere .

SUCKER: Where can we contact you, follow you and buy your art?

KPM: My website KeishaPrioleauMartin.com . My Instagram @KeishaPrioleaMartin . Just Facebook my name so far i’m the only one with it. Email me, my email address is on my website.

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Letter To The Editor

Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Words

sucker banner

Hey people of Sucker Magazine,
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for doing what you’re doing. By some aligning of the stars I found you guys recently and I love what you have going on. It’s dope. Like, real dope. Everything on your website is exactly what I’m looking for and I really dig everything you guys stand for. The art and the playlists are so damn good and it warms my soul.
Ever since going from Chicago to Kentucky for college I’ve been really missing that scene where I can discover new music, art, and other shit that I like. I’ve just kind of been stuck with what I had before I left for school and I haven’t been very able to expand my horizons. But then I found your wonderful website and it’s helped me find new music to blast into by head.
I wish I could somehow contribute to you guys to help you grow but I’m a broke college student so all I have are my words. I know they definitely don’t help as much as dollars but it’s all I’ve got. For now all I can offer is some web traffic, but I hope one day you guys make it to print cause I’d be all over that shit!
You all are great and I appreciate what you all put together. You’ve got yourself one more loyal follower!

-Emily D.

Letter to My Unborn Daughter on International Women’s Day

poetry, talk, Uncategorized, Words

By Katie Harvey

riley

To my little girl on International Women’s Day:

Today we celebrate & honor what it means to be a woman. We celebrate the women before us who fought for our rights. The women who got arrested trying to vote, the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus, the women who let the credit for their work go to men while they quietly landed men on the moon.

But really Sugarbean, we honor them every day. We honor them by being the most true form of ourself. We honor them by empowering our fellow women everyday. By helping our sisters in need. I hope you’re never afraid to speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

I hope you know that if women had stood quietly by and asked politely for equality, it never would have happened.

Women roar.

Never let anyone make you feel inferior, because chances are they came from a vagina.

We are the creators of life. Do not back down. Do not be afraid to be loud.

Do not be afraid to be called bossy or intimidating.

Those are just labels slapped on women of greatness. Never be afraid of your wings, and never forget you can always come home to mom & dad. We love you sweet girl.

The future is female.

The future is you.

The world is yours.

 

One Night in Hell

music, Uncategorized

The Pretty Reckless Live in Seattle

By Madison Killian

pretty-reckless-andrew-lipovsky-0781-pr-site

Photo Courtesy of Razor & Tie

The first time I saw The Pretty Reckless in concert was when I was 16 at Warped Tour. The crowd was a small handful of eager people, most of which were whispering about her role as “Little J” on Gossip Girl. Fast forward a few years, I’m 22 now, and TPR have three full length albums under their belt and a solid following. So solid, in fact, that when I arrived at their show in Seattle, people were still lining up to go inside.

After wandering inside, I found myself standing to the right of the stage, as flying solo to a concert can sometimes be scary or isolating. The two opening acts had allowed all of the middle aged, leather vest clad Sons of Anarchy fans in the crowd the time to get a nice buzz going, and I was lucky enough to be standing next to the loudest and most drunk testosterone filled skin bags in the room. The pair’s derogatory attitudes towards the younger women in the crowd were just a portion of the inconvenience these two under-educated and over-aneibriated fellas were causing.

As if to redirect the crowd’s growing chaos, Taylor Momsen’s voice echoed throughout the room. A shockwave went throughout the crowd and jaws dropped while fast, heart racing music slapped us in the face.

pretty-reckless-andrew-lipovsky-0680-pr-site

Photo Courtesy of Razor & Tie

The band played new songs and old, and when Momsen started into “Light Me Up” from their debut album, I found myself flooded with memories of being an angsty and “impossibly misunderstood” teenager. Looking around the large industrial space where the concert was being held, it was hard for me to imagine that these songs I had listened to when I was in high school, getting ready for my first date, my first party, had the same significance to the middle aged men in the crowd.

It’s abundantly clear to me now, that The Pretty Reckless have reached a large and diverse audience despite their culturally rarified ethos of “going to hell.” This spirit shows up in Momsen’s lyrics and videos, a rebel yell of sorts to galvanize women that don’t buy into the traditional and often misogynistic idea of women’s place in punk rock music.

The show ended almost as abruptly as it had begun, a captivating performance that felt like it had gone by in the blink of an eye. The show was a success and the band was brought out for an encore, their song “Fucked Up World,” broken up by a 4-5 minute long drum solo, a unique and incredibly satisfying way to end the lively show.

 

 

 

In Limbo

poetry, Uncategorized, Words
YOU ARE IN LIMBO, WILLING YOURSELF TO PULL ANSWERS OUT OF THE AETHER.
 cw34lukusaarxly
Cuts and bruises are a hazard of living with a human body. The skin can be cut or pierced or braised. It’s simultaneously a delicate and resilient organ – think of the viruses and bacteria your skin fends off every minute. Think of how your skin produces sweat to cool you down but bleeds easily, too.
What I’m saying is that you are porous and your walls are imperfect, and that is part of being human. When you woke up this morning, your first instinct was – but how ? You could debate that, numerically, the other candidate won, but our system is more complicated than this. You try to pull up some long- forgotten memory of high school, government class – the Electoral College was put in place to (attempt to) equalize representation. You remember discussing the difference between democracy and federal republic. You overlooked the truth that your country is still separated by segregation, that communities live in homogeneous spaces that lack diversity.
This race distorted and obscured reality with emotion and prejudice and was facilitated by people who aren’t forced to confront their insensitivity on a regular basis. In limbo somewhere, you will yourself to pull answers out of the aether. The truth is that a simple resolution doesn’t exist. Uncertainty weighs on you because you desperately want to know what will happen next.
The real injustice of this election is the blatant exploitation that allowed such a man to win. He tapped into the anger and frustration many working-class citizens feel – the inability to find fair work that will provide a decent quality of life for their families. He appealed to their fear of the unknown. In hard economic times, the promises of ruthless men are likely to be heard. You struggle with feeling angry at the people you know who voted for the antagonist. Some of them raised you. They heard a promise, and
they so desperately wished it were true. They are frustrated about bills despite the long hours they put in and the banks that are fat cats nobody can do anything about. They’re embarrassed and confused and ashamed. For you, reading this, you knew this man wasn’t going to help.
You have a right to hold friends and family accountable but please do talk to them. Tell the why they voted wrong. Talk about institutions that work in nuanced, barely perceptible ways to oppress people. Don’t forget that people who are struggling to put food on the table and work 60-hour weeks are exhausted. They don’t have the energy to be up-to-date with the current dialogues about sexual assault, race and sustainability. Many have never had someone encourage them to ask these questions before.
In some countries, a radical politician might be quickly and quietly “silenced.” Governments are run with a military dictator sitting in the high chair after a coup left the last president dead. The only programming on television is state-sanctioned, and journalists taking photos or writing articles about forbidden subjects face imprisonment and execution. I don’t say these things to say, look at all these other places that have it so much worse. I’m saying this because in these places live breathing people, and some of them are still doing incredible things. They refuse to let big business or corrupt politicians take their power away from them.
You are at work later this afternoon, and a coworkers’ voice cuts through the somber atmosphere and lonely din of shuffling papers, “if you’re not white, straight and male, you woke up today told that you don’t matter.”
Survival instinct is, however, another side-effect of being human. Taking back your own power, by no means, is easy but still necessary at the same time. This disaster of an election leaves you traumatized or lost. Uncertainty is an eerie emotion, a directionless posture where you stand with a gaping mouth trying in vain to articulate your thoughts. You think about rolling up the pride flag displayed in your window. Logically, this should’ve never happened. This man should not be leading a country, but you underestimate emotion and false promises. These thoughts are valid – allow yourself to feel them. Allow your friends to navigate their emotions, check-in with them, and when you’re ready, get back into the studio or practice space or your desk. Write, play music and paint. What I’m saying is – please don’t let this man take your power away from you.
-Jenn Endless

Louise Chantal is in Control

Uncategorized

Interview by Kayla Gutierrez

lc

Sucker: Who is Louise Chantal?

Louise Chantal: I’m a singer, songwriter, creative director, and entrepreneur from London, living in the NYC area.

Sucker:  Who or what are some of your musical inspirations?

LC: I’m inspired by so many people in different genres for different reasons. One person that inspired me vocally to grow and push myself, and accomplish as much as I can is Whitney Houston. Beyonce also continues to inspire me as an outstanding boss of her brand and talent as well. Her work ethic is unmatched in my eyes and I would like to strive to be the same way with an uncompromising devotion to my craft.

Sucker: What is your creative process?

LC: Each song has a very different story. Some of the songs on my project, I wrote without hearing instrumentation first and other songs I wrote to instrumentation. The biggest evolution in my creative process from the time I started writing and recording my EP to now is that I am much more involved in the musical production. I really wasn’t an executive producer outside of funding my project when I first began recording songs, but by the end of the project I was heavily involved in music production, not just the songwriting, vocal production, and arrangements of the voice. A big portion of that growth I think I can credit to working with producers that were far more experienced in the industry than me. Syience, who executive produced the project with me, always encouraged me to think and speak for myself. Once I began doing that wholeheartedly, I gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Sucker: What kind of messages do you want to convey through your music?

LC: I would like to convey honest messages. Many of my songs promote feminism and anti-patriarchal concepts because that’s who I am, but then I also have a few songs in which I’m hopeless romantic. All of the emotions I have written about are things that I’ve experienced and battled with. I have experienced men who made me feel like shit, made me feel absolutely horrible about myself, and it’s bigger than intimacy or relationships for me, it goes way back to my childhood up to now and witnessing how society isn’t structured to uplift or celebrate the woman of color. And in this album I’m talking about how I had to find myself, and find out what I loved about me, and why I was special, and why I didn’t need a man to define my worth. My life stories I haven’t share in the Welcome to Aranbi EP. I shared stories of the many women in me.

The emotions are really what I care about. Cry, cry, cry but then you have to move the fuck on. That’s my music. There’s a lot of sadness behind it, I feel that’s the core. There’s other happier songs, but for the most part I wrote about men that didn’t want me to know my worth or think that I was smart enough to be excellent, outstanding, or powerful alone. It was more to their advantage and ego to make me feel small. In this project, I said fuck that.

Sucker: At what age did you start singing?

LC: I was 12 years old, a point in my life where the world I thought I belonged to shifted drastically. I went from a very diverse public school to an all white private school. The way I viewed myself and my value flipped completely. But in the midst of all the sadness that came that year, I fought for a music career, and joined a production company. I wrote and recorded two EP’s, and a mixtape with them, and we created really great things. Years later I’m here, with my own company, having fun and doing it my way.

 

Sucker: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LC: I get that question quite a bit. Hopefully in five years – I’ve done three albums. If it doesn’t work out that way, it’s okay. But hopefully, I’ve done a few albums and I’ve become the creative director of a fashion brand. Maybe I’ll have had a role in a move or guest starred in a TV show. Hopefully my charity has expanded its outreach globally. That would be most amazing. And I’ve toured the world a few times.

Sucker: How do you want your fans to perceive you?

LC: As a business woman that is passionate about what I do. I love my supporters because they understand that about me. They understand that I’m here to change the world through art. I want them to know that I have an uncompromising attitude and devotion when it comes to my work. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about women in the industry, obviously bred by misogyny. They want to promote these messages that women aren’t intelligent enough, aren’t powerful enough to be successful without selling their bodies to a man in power. I hate that shit. I want my fans to know that I’m in control of my shit. No one in the ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ music video told me, ‘Oh I want you to wear this or I want you to pretend to be that’, everything you see in my content is what I wanted. I’m very much involved, I’m very much in control. There is no one telling me what to do and I’m proud of that and I think it’s important that my supporters know this isn’t been repackaged by a man.

In the PYMWMYI music video I made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point where they felt the need to write in the comments ‘oh I wonder who she fucked to get to the top,’ or ‘go back to the strip club’ or ‘slut slut slut.’ If a man puts 100 strippers in his music video, he’s the man. He’s a God. It’s never going to be oh I wonder how many women he had sex with to get where he is because they have all the power and they keep it in their circle. But if embrace my sexuality or look a little too confident in my sex appeal, I get 3,000 comments reducing me down to object. Stripper or no stripper, I’m made out to be an object. I’ll take the backlash in a heartbeat and just do what the fuck I want to do. That’s who I am. That’s who I am going to remain throughout my career, a woman that is unapologetic and willing to make people uncomfortable.

louise-chantal

Sucker: How have you ever experienced sexism first-hand? What changes need to happen to end sexism?

LC: I don’t know how I could be alive in this world as a woman as color, and not have experienced sexism. I could rant on and on about how people undermine on my capabilities or what I can achieve because I’m a woman. But at this point for me it’s about changing the program and what is promoted through the media. The idea that women have to have sex with men in order to achieve career success. The messages that say being in control as woman isn’t sexy. The messages that are promoted through the media must change.

Sucker: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

LC: Princess Nokia, I really like her a lot, and I really like what she has stands for in and outside of her music; the messages she promotes. Her entire life story is really inspirational. I’d also like to work with Drake one day.

Sucker: Do you believe personal relationships go with professional business?

LC: Business is always first priority for me, but I tend to become very close to the people I work with continuously. Some of my best friends are people I work with regularly. For that reason I’ve learned about the importance of knowing and respecting boundaries. I once had a friendship in past that became too multi-dimensional. There were no boundaries or moments alone, too much became intertwined. I learned a lot from that relationship and the outcome was sad. But with time and experience I’ve learned how to navigate my business life and my personal life and how to always keep them separate to a certain extent.

Sucker: Many artists claim that motherhood is not a good combination with their life’s work, do you see yourself being maternal in the near future along with balancing your career or solely dedicated to the music?

LC: I’m so in love with me and what I do professionally. All of my siblings have kids. I have so much work I have to get done, and I don’t think a kid would make that any easier for me due to first hand experience babysitting. You need time to be a parent, I don’t have the time or wisdom at this stage in my life to become one for sure.

Sucker: Who has been the most supportive to you through your journey as an artist?

LC: Probably my dad, I’ll give my dad that one.

Sucker: Is there more in life you want to accomplish than music?

LC: Absolutely. I already see myself and my brand as being bigger than music. I want to change the world and I think it will take multiple mediums in order for me to change how kids learn, how the world thinks and I’ll start with music, but I will definitely be branching out. I have a passion for business, branding and market. , I feel there’s so many ways for me to grow as mogul, as an entrepreneur. I love music, but I will definitely be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so much more.

Sucker: With growing movements such as Black Lives Matter, will fans see you spreading activism, will it be in your music?

LC: I definitely feel as though I am an activist through my music and my words, but I am planning to really take things to the next level by launching the Aranbi Foundation in November. At this point in my life, actions are really speaking even louder than words for me and that’s why I’ve begun taking initiatives to become active in the inner city communities that are being targeted the most by a flawed criminal justice system.

Sucker: What is music to you?

LC: Music is the one place where I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can just say what I feel, and I can just cry on a song, and I speak my mind with no dialogue, and no conversation, just me and the world that I created in pain and isolation. Aranbi is me in my head.

Sucker: What is one place you know for certain that you can go for peace and quiet?

LC: My dad’s place. He’s so calm, relaxed, and open minded. I love that about him. I feel so loved in the presence of my father, and enjoy spending all of my time with him. Another place I love going is to the beach.

Sucker: What advice to you have for young aspiring artists?

LC: Don’t underestimate your value, don’t allow anyone other than you to determine what you can or cannot do. Don’t underestimate your ability to think for yourself. Finding yourself and then believing in who you are is key.