Understanding the construct of race, I make work that challenges biased notions by shifting the focus from skin color towards the individual. The subjects are young, emphasizing the attitude of keeping the same energy. My work explores the idea of Black people who are not concerned with the opinion of others. It focuses on the subject, their feelings, and puts them in the forefront. I’m interested in presenting people frankly and honestly, while the navigation of the white gaze always reduces the subject to the audience member’s expectations. My artwork examines the in-between state, addressing that the gaze exists although it is a contradiction, while simultaneously elevating the person beyond it. These images break down the ideas of Western beauty by allowing each individual to be themselves. In contrast to traditional oil painting and works on paper, I use repetition and mark-making to investigate how each person has their own characteristics and internal and external complexities, which make them who they are.