The Art and Legacy of Ronald Lockett

Hey Y’all!

This is an invitation to very special event today, Tuesday, July 19th 6pm – 10:30 at the American Folk Art Museum. I assure you won’t want to miss this. The short story is I have a limited number of tickets (value of $35) to attend an extraordinary event exploring the art and legacy of Ronald Lockett (1965–1998, Bessemer, Alabama).

The Panel and After Party

First, there will a panel of contemporary artists and arts professionals including Cre8tive YouTH*ink’s new friend Kevin Blythe Sampson who will be considering Lockett’s remarkable life and work. A bumping party with live DJ, hors d’oeuvres and plenty to drink will follow the discussion. This event is presented by Young Folk, the young patrons of the American Folk Art Museum. Young Folk also generously provided us our tickets. Organized by Emily Counihan and Donnamarie Baptiste.

Ronald Lockett

Born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama, Lockett learned to paint by watching his older cousin, the celebrated self-taught artist, Thornton Dial (1928–2016), whose work was inspired by the African American tradition of yard displays. Lockett watched as Dial built an incredible body of large-scale paintings coated with tar-thick paint, insight and anger. His work has been described as monumental, propulsive and spirited and that address social injustices such as poverty, the war in Iraq and the African slave trade. Lockett spent a lot of time with Dial, who encouraged him and was the only person who took him seriously.

Lockett on his porch

Lockett always knew he wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t until his early twenties that turned his attention to making art in earnest. By the time of his death at age thirty-two from HIV/AIDS-related pneumonia, Lockett had produced more than 350 works.

Ronald Lockett went largely unrecognized in his lifetime.

Lockett 3
Ronald Lockett, Timothy (Oklahoma Series) 1995, sheet metal, tin, wire, paint and nails on wood.

Ronald Lockett is now considered the youngest noteworthy southern African American vernacular visual artist. During his life, Lockett agonized over the plight of inner-city city black males—whose loudest cultural sign is the fear they provoke throughout American society. Working within the artistic traditions of found materials, Lockett addressed subjects of racial, economic, and political unrest, including the unfulfilled promises of the civil rights movement and environmental degradation.

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Untitled, circa 1985, tin, nails and pencil on woo

The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 8 with Saya Woolfalk

Drop it like it’s hot!

The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 8 with Saya Woolfalk at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. Watch as the crew help Saya with the 3,000 sq. ft “The Pollen Catchers Color Mixing Machine,” installed in the museum’s main gallery for the inaugural exhibition and grand opening, Sat. Oct. 3, 2015.Saya11








Nourishing Artists, Literally: An Interview with Soomee Suh of Ninja Bubble Tea

Soomee Suh, co-founder of Ninja Bubble Tea, discusses entrepreneurship, the value of community and why she wanted to support Cre8tiveYouTH*ink’s latest project with Nicole Casamento of Niborama


Soomee Suh organizing the counter at Ninja Bubble Tea
Soomee Suh organizing the counter at Ninja Bubble Tea Photo: Vince Maximin

By the time Cre8tiveYouTH*ink decided to rent a studio space in Industry City for the Art School Without Walls Vol. 6., most of the project’s logistics were taken care of, except for one: feeding the entire crew each weekend as they worked on the mural. As luck would have it, there was a relatively new, small store named Ninja Bubble Tea, on the first floor of the building, which offers vietnamese sandwiches and a variety of beverages.

Ninja Bubble Tea is co-owned by Soomee Suh and Chantha Uy. They met years ago in a business program at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Suh and Uy became pediatric nurses in the following years but the dream of entrepreneurship stayed with them. Last year, they both attended Bubble Tea University and jumped on the opportunity to open up shop in Sunset Park. They both still work full-time shifts as nurses, while taking turns running the store on the side.

Click here to read more from Nicole Casamento on Niborama …
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