Floyd Strickland, The Massacre of the Innocents
In Search of Myself
Paintings by Floyd Strickland
My art is unique because of my worldview and upbringing, which has been directly shaped by being raised in south central Los Angeles. Simply put, there are not many visual artists from my community. My art occupies a space that, in a lot of ways, is still uncharted. Because the subject matter focuses heavily on the experiences of my childhood, understanding my environment and its actors, I am mining my own experiences for inspiration.
I created In Search of Myself to explore the varying relationships between black children in specific environments. From gang violence to systemic racism, my art is heavily influenced by my childhood dreams, hopes, and fears. Because of this I often use figures of children in my work. More specifically, black children who are raised in the areas that have been historically linked to poverty. This body of work is grounded in my experience as a child and as an adult. I believe the innocence of black children is not correctly represented in the cannon of figurative portrait painting. Having held jobs in various impoverished neighborhood grade schools across the United States, In Search of Myself is linked by a recurring theme: creating images of empowerment.
My interest in art started at a young age. My mother and older cousin both were creatives and drew portraits. Besides the artists in my family, there weren’t many other art influences early on. Most of my influences were from other parts of my culture like hip hop music, sports, and other cultural aspects were used for inspiration. Once I matured and sought out to learn from other artists, I was mostly influenced by the realist masters, Ilya Repin, and John Singer Sargent, as well as the Flemish baroque artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Contemporary artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, and Kerry James Marshall works have also been very influential in my work.
I’m mostly self-taught, beside a semester of life drawing in college and a 1 year of high school art class, most of my training came from practice and master copies. Because of this, I employ many different techniques in my art. I use oil glazes, direct ala prima painting, decoupage and various other techniques are employed in my work.
Aspects of black American culture are often vilified until it is adopted, because of this in my work I’d like to continue to display my culture in its truth as well as its beauty and authenticity.
Exhibition Dates: December 8 through January 26, 2019.