This work began as an inquisitive journey into my own identity as a black American. I asked myself who would I be and how would I view myself if all the information that I was inculcated with about being black was given to me without the negative connotations so inextricably entwined within the history of our nation. Ultimately I recognize that the transformation of the meaning of “black,” given its various connotations and what it means to be described as such in America, is a constantly changing thing. With this in mind I use portraiture as a visual alternative to textual explanations of the human condition as it relates to my ideas of “blackness.” I synthesize my own archetypes and icons; playful yet sober portraits of black Americans within an imaginative history where I do black my way, in the European tradition of oil-painted portraiture. Ultimately, my work is a conceptual metaphor for who I am as a black American, the by-product of tradition and innovation.