Art by Mario Joyce Harper
I was born to a 14 year old mother and she raised my siblings and I by herself in a deeply and strictly spiritual farmhouse. We were the only ethnic family everywhere we went. I struggled with my sexuality. School was a daily nightmare. Growing up so differently from my peers, I was very alone. All I had was art. It absolutely saved my young life from a potentially dark ending. My work is intended to create a bridge between our ancestor's perceivable alien experiences and our familiar contemporary existence.
Analyzing the notion of "history repeats itself" and ending the pattern is one of my goals. Showing the parallels of basic human struggle and cultural identity, regardless of time and space, is key to celebrating contrasting communities and promotion of individuality. I usually feel compelled to execute a piece with simply oil paint and canvas alone. The background color is an important first step, as it tends to always influence, if not dominate, the subject's environment. I use heavy applications of paint and choose to allow primary colors to play right on the canvas. Red is often used to depict deep sadness, while cool blues and greens tend to project confidence and passion. The composition is tight and almost frozen in time, despite the anxious use of color and line. This is apart of the dialogue that is up for interpretation between the viewer, the subject and whatever they are comfortable to share.