feature: nelson zepequeno – celebrating underground artists and natural hair through paint & photography

March 17, 2014

My name is Nelson ZePequeno. I’m a Ghanaian painter and mixed media artist currently living in the U.S., residing in a small artistic community in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the last two years of supporting myself thru painting and photography I’ve learned what it means to be an “African American” artist. The good and the bad’s. The “good” as in the culture, struggles and history that lay behind me, which inspires and forms the framework for my art. The “bad” as in the realization that the city I currently live in and countless others do not intend to support/help/encourage young African American (minority) artists to make a living from their own creative endeavors.
Not to be deterred, a small yet determined group of underground musicians, poets, photographers, models, street artists as well as myself intend to make a living based solely on the fruits of our creativity and contributions to this planet.

Words & Art by Nelson ZePequeno, AFROPUNK Contributor *

My “blue iiyes” series is centered around the portraits of these artists. Mainly their wild unkempt hair-dos or dont’s. With most photos shot by me and then painted into an abstract blend of natural colors. A representation of the driving force of life. Each is portrayed with blue colored eyes. A mistaken sign of privilege that seems to be rarer among the darker of skins.

I’ve completed two paintings centered around Afros with the 3rd Afro painting underway. Also nearing completion on the 4th painting which is a spotlight of African American Muslims. All of which will go into my first publication later this year or early 2015. A 50-page photo-book of different portraits with color schemes centered around natural earth tones and the seasons.

Also working on a series that blends famous cartoons with Afros into my photography. Bringing them to life in the real world. That specific project; entitled “dear [adult swim]” has been greatly received by the animation community and may be aired on the television network “Adult Swim”. Also in the early stages of developing a pilot, part live action/ part animation to pitch to Cartoon Network based on the idea.

(still seeking portraits of artist to profile and paint. contact me via email or social media if interested in a painting and possible placement in the completed photo book)

* portfolio:
instagram: @bedcouch