Tag Archives: Maya Freelon Asante

MAYA FREELON ASANTE interviewed by Magic & Musings

17 Oct

M & M

Interview: Maya Freelon Asante on Being an Artist, Family Inspirations, and Working Outdoors

12:00 pm

Past Tense Present, 2015, 8.5”x18″, tissue ink mono/photo print
*All images are courtesy of Morton Fine Art.*

Today’s interview is with the incredibly talented creator Maya Freelon Asante, who creates bright, colourful, and complex artworks, sometimes combining printwork with photography. She dedicates her artwork to her grandmother, which you’ll find out a little more about in our interview, and comes from a family with its roots in the African American Impressionist movement. I love the colourful nature of her art, my favourites being ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Divided/Whole’. Please read on to find out more about her story. Thank you for Morton Fine Art for providing images of her spectacular work to share with you today!

Magic & Musings:
For any readers who don’t know your background, do you want to tell me a bit about yourself and where you are today?

Maya Freelon Asante:
I’m an artist, a creator, a risk taker, and entrepreneur. I’m a Black woman; I always reiterate those two facts because I’m proud of them.
Magic & Musings:
If you describe your art style in three words, what would they be?
Maya Freelon Asante:
Bright, brilliant, kinetic.
Magic & Musings:
When did you first get into art? What first drew you to the field? Did you study it formally or come across it as a hobby?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I’ve always loved art since I was a little kid. It’s something that brought me peace and I could sit and draw for hours starting at about age five.
In middle school I had a teacher who saw my talent and really encouraged me by offering assignments that were challenging. I attended North Carolina Governor’s School and started painting, drawing, and sculpture in high school. I also discovered the artistic roots of own my family in high school. My great grandfather was a African American Impressionist painter named Allan Freelon and he worked during the Harlem Renaissance. I also apprenticed with a Black female artist, Beverly McIver.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, 2013, 62″x30, tissue ink monoprint & collage
Magic & Musings:
Did you have to find yourself overcoming any hurdles regarding your confidence when you first started displaying your art?
Maya Freelon Asante:
When I first started exhibiting my art I applied to lots of different exhibitions and got lots of rejections. I also got a few acceptances, which always led to other projects. I went straight from undergrad at Lafayette College to graduate school at Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts. I had a fast paced, accelerated journey through schooling so by the time I finished and I went straight into teaching at the college level. It was like I never left school. After two years I decided I wanted to try to make art full-time. I found art residencies, art grants, and living in a city that supports the arts are crucial to surviving as an artist. The three places I’ve lived in the last decade are Durham, North Carolina which has a great State Arts Council, Baltimore, Maryland which has MICA, and public art funds, and Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts offer really great opportunities for the emerging artist. I met Deborah Willis at Harvard, through the CCA conference. All of these opportunities helped build my artistic career.
Magic & Musings:
Of all of your work, what are you proudest of and why?
Maya Freelon Asante:
All of my artwork is dedicated to my grandmother, Queen Mother Frances J. Pierce and it’s either about living with her, remembering her as a child, using the tissue paper which I found tucked away in her basement, water damaged. She really had a huge impact in my creative life. And I’m proud of her life and legacy. Her sacrifices allowed me to be the artist I am today.

Handmade, 2013, 36″x37″, tissue ink monoprint
Magic & Musings:
This is a question I like to ask purely because of the variety of answers I get! I’m really interested in how people work and get things done. Do you have a particular place you work or find yourself most productive? Are there a particular set of things that need to be in place for things to get done, like a milky cup of tea or particular album of music you listen to?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I typically like to work outdoors, or in a place that can accept a lot of water because my creative process can get really wet. I also like to work in studio spaces that are outside of the home, but I recently moved into a place where my studio is in my home and I need a space that’s away from my living areas. I like to listen to Spotify and the station that I’m really feeling is Janelle Monae, Phony People and No Name and The Internet.
Magic & Musings:
What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a rut creatively?
Maya Freelon Asante:
Space to think and being quiet are super important when your are a creative person. That’s when I get my inspiration. If I’m stuck in a rut sometimes I write my journal or I’ll sit and meditate and be quiet and just let the creative process come through.

Inception, 2012, 90″x36″, tissue ink monoprint
Magic & Musings:
What are some things you like to do in your spare time when you aren’t working?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I love being outdoors, I love the water I like going on a nature walks and going to the ocean and going to the lake. I also love yoga and to go horseback riding.
Magic & Musings:
Have you ever explored working in another medium?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I started out doing drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography, and now merge all my media together. The two things that I’m still interested in learning are glassblowing and metal work.

Lost, 2015, 26.75”x17″, tissue ink monoprint
Magic & Musings:
What would you say your relationship is like between your business and the internet/social media? Would you say this has helped you greatly in your success, or not?
Maya Freelon Asante:
When I came up in college and graduate school, Facebook was just starting. So social media hadn’t popped off yet. I just started Instagram this year and it’s been interesting the amount of followers I’ve gotten in such a short amount of time.
Divided/Whole, 2015, 25.5”x19”, spinning tissue ink monoprint
Magic & Musings:
If there was one thing you could want to say to the world if you knew everyone was listening, what would it be and why?
Maya Freelon Asante:
The one thing I want to say to the world is there needs to be more love and peace for everybody. Be honest, forgive, and accept everybody for just where they are. I think we would have a much sweeter and loving place for everyone if we could do those things. Also we need to share our resources. There’s an abundance and just a few people are utilizing them. If we shared equally it would be a lot better for everybody.

Dark Matter,  2015, 55”x44”, spinning tissue ink monoprint
Magic & Musings:
What tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
Maya Freelon Asante:
Some may say I’m not organized at all, but I say there’s a method to my madness. What method you say? I’m not sure, I have to find it.
Magic & Musings:
What one thing do you wish someone told you when you were first starting out working in the field?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I wish somebody told me that I could do whatever I want if I just focus on my energy on it. That it’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of self-confidence. I started out teaching thinking that I needed to teach in order to be an artist and that’s not necessarily true. If you take your business skills, you take your creative skills, and then you take your entrepreneurial skills, and if you can merge all those three together you will have ability to be great at whatever you do.

Letter to my Great­ Great ­Grandmother, 2015, 8″x21″, tissue ink mono/photo print
Magic & Musings:
Onto a fun question! Can you recommend everyone read a book you have enjoyed recently, as well as a film and an album or song?
Maya Freelon Asante:
The books you should read are The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and Love, Freedom and Aloneness by Osho. Those are totally personal books that have nothing to do with art. The art books you should read are anything by Deborah Willis, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, and A Natural History of the Senses. A film I would recommend is Beasts of the Southern Wild. An album I would recommend is Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged – I know that album is old, but every single time I listen to it I feel totally renewed in my life purpose.
Magic & Musings:
Is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? How can people find out more about you and your work?
Maya Freelon Asante:
I would say to all Black female artists who are wondering – should they do it? Could they do it? Just go for it! You don’t have to be the best artist, you don’t have to be the most well-known, you just have to speak with the voice that God gave you and let it come out in whatever form. Come share your gifts with the world because we are waiting!

See You Soon, 2015, 42″x30″, spinning tissue ink mono photo print
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An architect, three artists and a professor: the Freelon family by Maryam Mohamed

11 Oct

The Freelon family has roots in the Triangle, but their talents have taken them to everywhere from an art installation in Madagascar to a mayoral campaign in Durham.

Philip Freelon is an architect responsible for designing historical centers across the country, such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Ga.

Philip has received countless awards for his work, and was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. He is currently working on the expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit, Mich.

He said he went into architecture because it combined elements of mathematics and physics with craft and design.

Philip is married to jazz vocalist and six-time Grammy nominee, Nnenna Freelon. Their son, Pierce Freelon, is a Durham native who ran for mayor.

Pierce said his passion for Durham is what compelled him to run for office.

He said while Durham is quickly changing, he wants to make sure this change reflects equity and sustainability.

“I felt a strong sense of urgency and obligation, almost like a calling, to step up for my city and community to be that change,” Pierce said.

Like his mother, Pierce has a background in music. He specializes in hip-hop and rap music production. His family has always been supportive of his decision to pursue music.

“My parents always said do what you love and success will come, because success has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with being happy,” he said.

Pierce co-founded Beat Making Lab and taught a class at UNC where he showed students how to create beats and write songs. He traveled to countries such as Congo, Fiji, Senegal, Panama and Ethiopia to teach kids how to write beats and shoot music videos.

“I’ve always been very connected to community and Beat Making Lab is no different,” he said. “I wanted to make sure this resource was not only available to Carolina students but to kids in East Durham and around the world.”

He said he was inspired by the opportunities he was provided with in college and wanted to use his privilege to give back to those less fortunate.

“A lot of the countries we visited didn’t have access to these types of resources and privileged spaces,” Pierce said. “I was honored to be a cultural ambassador and teacher.”

Deen Freelon, Pierce’s brother, is an associate professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

“I wanted a chance to work with some of the excellent students here at the Media and Journalism school,” Deen said. “It feels great to be able to teach in such an excellent academic unit.”

Deen’s professional work primarily focuses on political expression online. In 2011, he worked on a study that dealt with the influence of social media on the Arab Spring.

Deen said he admires Pierce for his relentlessly positive attitude and ability to immediately connect with others.

“We’re very different in our personalities but we always have fun when we get together,” he said. “He’s one of the most positive people I know.”

Deen said a standout memory he has of him and his family is them arguing over a plate.

“We had this yellow plastic plate that had everyone in the family’s name on it,” he said. “It was called the family plate, and every night we used to fight over who gets to eat on the family plate.”

Maya Freelon Asante — Pierce and Deen’s sister — is an award-winning artist who has showcased work in places like Paris, Jamaica, Italy and the US Embassy in Madagascar.

Asante uses a special kind of tissue called bleeding tissue paper that blends with other colors around it when it comes in contact with water. She developed a technique called tissue ink monoprint and utilizes this process to create artwork.

“I blend the improvisational side from my mom and the creative design side from my dad,” Asante said.

Asante said her artistic inspiration comes from her grandmother, who passed away in 2011. She said her artwork is about building community, and she feels a tremendous sense of joy when she sees her artistry on display.

“I also feel like I’m honoring my grandmother and all of our ancestors that came before us,” she said. “Because of their sacrifices, I’m able to be an artist.”

Philip and Nnenna said they are proud of the work their children are doing individually.

“I love my kids and am so proud that we’ve helped to raise good people,” Nnenna said. “It’s the gift you give to yourself and the world.”

city@dailytarheel.com

 

Click HERE to view available artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE.

Click HERE to read the article in full.

New Artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE

12 Sep
Morton Fine Art is happy to announce the recent arrival of new tissue paper and ink and tissue ink monoprint artworks by MAYA FREELON ASANTE.
About Maya Freelon Asante:
Maya Freelon Asante is an award-winning artist whose artwork was described by poet Maya Angelou as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being,” and her unique tissue paper work was also praised by the International Review of African American Art as a “vibrant, beating assemblage of color.” She was selected by Modern Luxury Magazine as Best of the City 2013, by the Huffington Post’s “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know”, and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Art Stars” as “the most badass female artists in the biz.” Maya has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including Paris, Ghana, and US Embassies in Madagascar, Italy, Jamaica and Swaziland. She has been a professor of art at Towson University and Morgan State University. Maya has attended numerous residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Korobitey Institute and Brandywine Workshop. She earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from the Museum School in Boston.

Maya Freelon Asante, The Art of Daring Campaign for Cadillac, 2017

 

Maya Freelon Asante, Intuitions, 2017, tissue ink monoprint, 44″x 44″

 

 

Maya Freelon Asante, Transitions, 2017, tissue and ink, 30″x 20″

 

 

Maya Freelon Asante, Synergy, 2017, tissue ink monoprint, 44″x 80″​
(**Not currently housed at the gallery but can be brought in by request)

 

Click HERE to view available artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

 

MAYA FREELON ASANTE and The Art of Daring

16 Mar

We are very excited to announce that artist MAYA FREELON ASANTE and her brilliant tissue paper and ink artwork has been featured in Cadillac’s new ad campaign “The Art of Daring”!

You can watch the video featuring Maya and her work below:

For Maya’s available works, please visit her page on our website or contact the gallery.

MARTINA DODD on Black History Month

25 Feb

In 1926, historian Carter G Woodson along with other prominent leaders from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) sponsored the first Negro History Week. Negro History Week, sought to promote the teachings of Black American legacy and achievement, especially in the nation’s public schools and universities.  This seven day celebration during the second week of February was later officially extended to a month long holiday by President Ford in 1976.

Much has happened in this country since 1926, Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, the first Black President was elected twice and the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors.  As we use this month as an opportunity  to honor the central role of African Americans  within US history, we must also remember to salute those who are now actively creating their own legacy.  We at Morton Fine Art acknowledge and prioritize the advancements made by African Americans within this country, and applaud and thank artists, activists and educators who have made it a goal to do so within their practice.  Artists such as Maya Freelon Asante, Kesha Bruce and Nathaniel Donnett who continually use their artistic medium to preserve and highlight the stories of African Americans.

past_present_tense-webMAYA FREELON ASANTE, Past Tense Present, 2015, 8.5”x18″, tissue ink mono/photo print

Inspired by her discovery of a stack of water-soaked colored paper in her grandmother’s  basement, Freelon Asante’s tissue ink mono photo prints speak to the power of  familial history, connected-ness and renewal.  Bruce,  who also found inspiration from a grandparent’s belongings,  reconceptualizes  the Black American experience in her photo series (Re) Calling  & (Re) Telling,  through  old and damaged negatives  given to her by her grandfather. Bruce’s and Freelon Asante’s use of archival images to explore the connections between personal mythologies and collective memory both help to re-center the black family unit within the American narrative.

that-they-might-be-lovely-webKESHA BRUCE, That They Might Be Lovely, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15

Nathaniel Donnett’s work articulates the complex cultural concerns of a “united nation” still divided by racial tension.  In his Small Bag series, Donnett makes reference to the “paper bag test” and its South African equivalent the  “pencil test,” (two tests used to distinguish a person’s racial identity and/or their ability to “pass” as white) while prompting his viewers to take a four question test of their own that relate to acceptable beauty standards, microaggressions and racial biases. By asking his audience to finish statements like;  “Good hair can be A) Kinky B) Straight C) Wavy D) All of the above,” he brings to light America’s  legacy of racism, colorism and its obsession with classification.

smallbag18-cropNATHANIEL DONNETT, Small Bag 18, 10.75″x5″ graphite, charcoal and printed ink on paper
bag

Although Black History Month is quickly coming to a close, we should continue to support these artists as they maintain their dedication in keeping the  stories of our ancestors alive.

-MARTINA DODD for Morton Fine Art, February 2017

MAYA FREELON ASANTE “Radical Honesty” and group exhibition at University of Maryland Eastern Shore

26 Jan

women-color-poster-1

 

 

Opening next Thursday!

As the most immediate of the art elements, color powerfully impacts the viewer’s emotions. The colors in a work of art trigger inner responses that can range from visceral and subtle thoughts and feelings, to strong memories and psychological states. Whether bright and beautiful or subdued and minimalist, color calls attention.
This exhibition explores the ways that women of color use this commanding art element to convey meaning that is relevant to contemporary sensibilities of race, gender and subjectivity.                              Susan M. Holt, curator

Morton Fine Art in Texas Contemporary

23 Aug

texascontemplogobold500px

Texas Contemporary DSC00764_copy_1140_475_c1

Fair Dates/Hours/Location

September 29 – October 2, 2016 – George R. Brown Convention Center – 1001 Avenida De Las Americas Houston, Texas 77010

OPENING NIGHT: TEXAS CONTEMPORARY PREVIEW

Thursday September 29, 2016

6:00pm to 10:00pm

6:00pm – 8:00pm | Early Access: Exclusively for those who have paid to receive a Patron VIP Pass

8:00pm – 10:00pm| The Preview opens to VIP Pass and Fair Pass holders

PURCHASE TICKETS

PUBLIC FAIR HOURS

Friday, September 30
11:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday, October 1
11:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday, October 2
12:00pm to 6:00pm

Featured Artists

Maya Freelon Asante, Osi Audu,Victor Ekpuk, Nate Lewis, Julia Fernandez-Pol, Vonn Sumner & Charles Williams