The conceit of MOCA GA's current Movers and Shakers is simple and clever: let artists who were part of the exhibition in previous years pick their favorite "Rising Stars of the Georgia Art Scene." The connection between these artists is sometimes easy and clear to identify and other times more perplexing. Alex Kvares' selection of Jason R. Butcher, for example, makes perfect sense when you consider the way drawing and color is emphasized in both of their works. Making a connection between the video artist Micah Stansell's selection of Jeff Guy's uncomfortably funny bowling ball sculpture, though, requires a deeper consideration of the themes at play in their work.
The reasons why Fahamu Pecou selected Corinne Stevie Francilus are both obvious and not. Her painting and collage work does some grappling with global politics through the lens of hip-hop culture and imagery, as the best of Pecou's paintings have done, but it isn't interested in the flashy examination of self that dominates his work. Her detailed works emphasize precision over scale, again opposite from Pecou's current style. The most obvious reason for Pecou to choose Francilus, though, is simply that she's a talented young painter who hasn't had nearly enough attention yet.
We caught up with her this weekend to ask her a few questions and see more of her work.
What's your background? When did you start painting?
When you ask what is my background I feel like I can answer this question in multiple ways. Let's see, I'm an Haitian-American artist born and raised in Miami. I started painting when I was in the 8th grade.
What's your process like? With "Gun Nation Remix" for example, did you start with a specific idea or image in mind?
My process was a bit tedious for "Gun Nation Remix." First I created my wooden panel and rounded the corners to prepare it. Then I began thinking the about the imagery. It all started with this photo-journalism book my roommate had laying around the studio. My roommate always kept an array of books that had great imagery. As I was flipping through this book, I came across a couple photos that really spoke to me. The photos were taken by British photographer Zed Nelson and they came from his series called "Gun Nation." The "Gun Nation" series focused on the gun culture in America. When I was a child my father was robbed and shot and I never really got a chance to deal with this incident because I was so young. I chose two images from this series scanned them in, printed them out in black and white and I began to collage them on to the panel. Once I arranged and put the images on my panel everything else just flowed with the paint. I consider this painting to be mixed media because I combined so many materials; spray paint, house paint, acrylic paint, collage photos,and decorative tissue paper.
Fahamu Pecou, one of the artists in the show last year, selected you for inclusion this year. Did he let you know that he was choosing you?
I've been getting familiar with Fahamu Pecou's work since I arrived in Atlanta in '05. He actually attend Atlanta College of Art (now, Savannah College of Art and Design) years before I arrived there. My freshmen year in college, I remember seeing flyers around for his shows. More recently I'd gotten the chance to meet him during the art walks and other artsy events. I had no idea he was going to choose me — it was a very nice surprise.
Who or what influences your work?
Everything and everyone in my life. Family, friends, art history, the media, other artists, music, musicians, flowers, sunlight, moonlight, butterflies and hummingbirds. I can go on and on. I try to be open to different kinds of inspirations.
When can we look forward to seeing more of your in the future?
I will be showcasing new and old work at the Auburn Research Library at in March with an artist collective called Esoteric Lore. You can also check out my latest work on my website Corinnestevie.com and check my blog corinnestevie.com/blog for weekly sketches and paintings.
Movers and Shakers, a group exhibition including 32 artists from Georgia, runs at MOCA GA until March 19. More details at MOCA.
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