Queendom

Queendom upon completion, 2016

Queendom upon completion, 2016

In my years as an emerging artist, I have created many pieces of work, all personal, and all created with a meaning and story behind it. Although all of my work is very personal and meaningful to me, the latest piece I am currently painting the final phases on has to be one of the most special. The process of creating "Queendom" which is what I have been inspired to name her, has been an inspiring process.

Map of Africa courtesy of Legacy.lib

Map of Africa courtesy of Legacy.lib

I was staring at an image of Africa on the map one day while doing some research when I noticed that if mirrored, the continent looked like butterfly wings. The image of a woman wearing those wings immediately entered my mind and I knew I had to create it. She was a dancer, one that stood on her toes like a ballerina proving her strength. She held her arms high above her head to show her beauty and poise and she was adorned with a golden head wrap and small colorful beads. The color palette was a simple one, nothing like the usual bright and vivid colors that I would select for a painting. I started this painting in 2015 as a simple pencil sketch on canvas. With a few more hours of work she will be complete.

Africa always finds it's way it to my work which was something I found very quizzical in the beginning. Truth be told, I didn't know much about Africa at all when I started painting but when it kept showing up I started paying attention. I am learning more now through research but I hope to travel to the motherland someday to learn even more. I feel more honored than anything that this work finds it's way into my dreams and visions until they are brought to life.

                         

Africa is known to be the Motherland for many people globally and her divine nature has carried the world through many different periods in time. Although some view her as indigenous, her royalty is undeniable, and her story cannot be erased when it is embedded in the souls of her people. With the strength of her wings she always ascend to greater heights reaching destinations to show her power to the world. Her resilience to never give up even in the face of adversity has proven her to be the Queen of Gaia.

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This piece also represents a woman's willingness to carry the weight of the world. She nurtures and brings undeniable transformation to life from a higher state of being. Have you ever noticed how attached a woman is to her emotions, how she cries and hurts for the world, how she will protect her offspring at any cost, how she will give her all to see others happy? That is because she has the natural ability to nurture. Without the woman, earth would fade away. She is the queen of the kingdom of earth... Hence "Queendom"

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There is currently a pre order list so if you are interested in purchasing a limited edition print of Queendom, they will be available soon. Please email artsimplicated@gmail.com with the subject line as "Queendom"

Decisions Decisions

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Rocky roads come as a part of human living, we laugh, we cry, we love, we hate. It's like a nonstop dirt road full of sticks, stones, forks and other obstacles determined to steer you in the wrong or maybe the right direction. When you come to an fork in the road, deciding which direction to go can alter your life in UN-imagined ways. The process of decision making for me can be very difficult at times because it could mean losing out or letting go of something or someone that is important; It also means that the people I love will be affected in one way or another.                                                        

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One of the biggest decisions I've had to make thus far was in 2015 when I quit a decent job to pursue a full time career as a visual artist. I struggled with that decision for quite some time because I was always taught that a job and steady income was important. I have two children to care for and it is nearly impossible to provide necessities without a regular stream of income. Was it realistic to think that I could really make money creating art? I'm not dead after all and the trending rumor is that artists (specifically painters) only make money after they die. Now I had to worry about where the money was going to come from to feed my family, pay bills and keep a roof over our heads because I am human first. Thank God for my younger brother who was very supportive of this decision because a-lot of financial weight was going to fall on his shoulders by me doing so. He made the decision along with the rest of my family to support me in my endeavor.

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It was very different for me to step out of the matrix and go against the grain. This was a decision based solely on faith. I will confess, my children have not gone hungry, we have a roof over our heads and always will, and I have steady work. I'm not rich (by financial standards) but I have all I need when I need it. I've had to let go of relationships and friendships that just were not healthy for me or my children. Relationships with other people are necessary in life but you need to learn discernment to decide which ones are a reason, season or a lifetime. I've had to sacrifice much of my social life in order to maintain the strong work ethics that were embedded through my bloodline. My children and family don't get as much time as I would like to give them and I don't spend nearly as much time with myself as I would like to either.

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Whether it's a friendship, marriage, or family relationship, my career has definitely been a learning curve. I sacrifice so much energy into my "Gift" that I sometimes lose valuable time with those I love or have to let go of someone I think is hindering my process, some people may think it's selfish but when has it not been a little selfish to grow into your own? I know I cannot make everyone happy and I've learned that is not my job. My job right now is to help people transform and grow through art with the hope that it will be a valuable experience for everyone involved. Be mindful of your decisions, they will always show up ready to challenge you just when you thought you were done. Not everyone is going to agree with what you decide, find peace with that.

Inspired by Craig Tracy

The first time I ever laid a paint brush on human skin was in 2006 at a family function, face painting my little cousins. There was something about the human connection that really made me come alive especially because I suffered from social anxiety at the time. By 2009 I really wanted to enhance that connection by painting not only a face but an entire human body. It was a far fetched idea in my mind that I would find someone who would be willing to participate in such a task but eventually I had a volunteer. The experience was even more powerful than I thought and I realized that I stumbled upon something very special.

My very first body paint experience, 2009. Model, Lalli C. Wells. Photo by Ajani Housen

My very first body paint experience, 2009. Model, Lalli C. Wells. Photo by Ajani Housen

In 2011, I reached out to Mr. Tracy just to let him know how much he inspired me and how I hoped to meet him someday. To my pleasant surprise, he actually responded. In his response, he encouraged me to keep painting, told me to keep in touch and share any cool projects I had going on. This was a very big deal to me and the beginning of a major boost to my creativity and my confidence as an artist.

I met Craig in person for the first time in 2014 at New York City Body Painting day which was an event he personally invited me to be a part of. As I walked up for registration I saw him and froze. I am not the type of person who gets star struck but I couldn't breathe for a moment because he had been such a prominent part of inspiration from the moment I saw his art. He spotted me in the moments after, opened his arms and said "Come and give me a hug girl". I will never forget that day for as long as I live.

Hanging out with some of the best at the Flesh Art Show, 2015 ! (left to right; Margie Nugent, Craig Tracy, Gina Velasquez, Brittany Pelloquin and me)

Hanging out with some of the best at the Flesh Art Show, 2015 ! (left to right; Margie Nugent, Craig Tracy, Gina Velasquez, Brittany Pelloquin and me)

Craig is a man that is very busy these days as a husband and dad, producer, judge, business owner and traveler. He still manages to find the time to respond to messages from artists like me who consider him a mentor and friend. He has helped to create many resources and platforms such as "Skin Wars" for the generations of body artists to come and he genuinely loves life. If you have never heard of him, now you know his name. Take some time to watch this short documentary about him, view the work on his web site, google him, visit his gallery on Royal street in New Orleans, buy some of his art and simply absorb the blessing that he is.

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I started to research body paint thinking that I would only come up with information on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair. I was mind blown when I searched images and found some of the most amazing art I'd ever seen and it was all on the human body. There was an image of a white leopard that I had to stare at for about two minutes before I actually saw the human body in it. The name attached to this amazing image was Craig Tracy. The more I searched body art online, the more his work showed up.

The infamous white leopard that opened my eyes to a whole new world -"Butterfly" Body paint by Craig Tracy.

The infamous white leopard that opened my eyes to a whole new world -"Butterfly" Body paint by Craig Tracy.

July 2014, New York City Body Painting Day. Craig Tracy & I

July 2014, New York City Body Painting Day. Craig Tracy & I

A few years ago I learned that Craig has a degenerative eye disease which has affected his eyesight since he was a young boy. This is not something that he has never let that stop or limit him from pursuing his passion and purpose which makes me that much more driven. I've studied art history in school and I know many artists in present day who inspire me daily but I have to say that Craig has inspired me the most. Outside of being an amazing artist he is authentically an amazing person. Very giving of himself when it comes to information about body art. He has answered so many questions I've had about the craft and he just shares so much of himself with the body art community and beyond. He has literally been the catalyst for so many artists to pursue what they do with passion.

Craig Tracy Biography Part I- visit his gallery here

A note to Craig:

Craig,

You have been such a blessing in my life and so many others. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon your work when I did and I believe nothing happens by accident. I am even more grateful that you took the time to respond to that very first message I sent you. That was such a pivotal moment in the beginning stages of my art career. You truly are an amazing artist, mentor, and friend.

Sincerely,

Alicia




Of Art & Love

Since I was a little girl; I realized I had a different view on the world than most people. I grew up in a low income community which was deemed "the projects" on the west side of Stamford, CT. Only a fence divided Greenwich, CT which is very well known for its wealth. The divide was evident because there were really nice, elaborate homes on the other side of the fence compared to our run down apartment complexes. I also never remember seeing the police driving through that neighborhood nearly as much as they drove through mine. Although we lived in this community we shared a sense of pride knowing that our neighbors were there if we ever needed them, we tried to make the best of every situation. Like many communities, we had some moments of conflict that made our community look like a terrible place to live but quite the contrary to that was how I viewed it.

Little me (circa) 1980

Little me (circa) 1980

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My three brothers and I had the opportunity to attend schools that would enhance our gifts and talents, I still remember going to art class in Westover Elementary School and feeling like it was "Home" for my heart. Mrs. Grasso was my art teacher and she would often pull me to the side and tell me that I had a gift. I didn't know it was a gift at the time but I did know it was the one thing that stayed with me always and it was the only thing I loved as much as I loved my family.

During my parents divorce I remember feeling lost and confused. The breakdown of their relationship meant the breakdown of everything that I knew to be true in my young mind; art became my solace.

Years later I was married and built a little family of my own. I was so immersed with the life of nurturer that my creative abilities became dormant. As a mother, I honed in on letting my children's abilities shine through. Whatever chances I wasn't given as a child I wanted to give them, I wanted them to have more. Somewhere between putting all of my energy into being mom, wife, student and employee, the sense of who I was and the dreams I had were set aside.

At the height of my depression, 2006

At the height of my depression, 2006


My Family, almost complete, Chris baking in the oven, circa 1980

My Family, almost complete, Chris baking in the oven, circa 1980

My three brothers and I, 1988

My three brothers and I, 1988

I realized eventually that I had lost something very valuable in the shuffle; myself and my first love, art. Through my own divorce, I decided to rekindle my romance with art and that is when I discovered what had been missing for so long. I have been painting ever since. Creating art and sharing it opened a whole new world for me. Meeting and falling in love with people who would be the catalysts to putting that gift into the world for others to see has forever changed my life for the better. I have loved and lost again since my journey back to art began and I have no regrets.

The truth is, art never left me. It is something so ingrained in my being that it is literally a part of who I am. I just needed the right things and people to happen in my life to give me the necessary push. These days I am committed to my career as an artist. I have already done what so many of my peers are just now starting to do. I've been married, had children, the full time job and the white picket fence and I am happy that I experienced it all. Pages turn, chapters continue and life goes on. One of my children is now an adult and the other is in high school. I'm committed to myself and being an example of positivity for them. I want to make sure I am at my best so that when and if love comes along again I am able to truly recognize it and be open to the possibilities. I'm not sure what the future holds for love but for now I am content with my late night rendezvous standing in front of my canvas with my brush in hand creating whatever it is I am meant to create.

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