feature: visual artist american queen tjd’s “my thoughts wear crowns” series

July 14, 2014

My name is Tiff Davis better know as American Queen TJD. I am a professional abstract visual artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My purpose is to spread positive energy, hope, and motivation through art. Recently, I have been inspired to create a series of queen paintings titled “my thoughts wear crowns” where I place powerful words on top of colorful crowns. My crown structure is inspired by a combination of the Nefertiti crown, African headdress hats warn by Queen Latifah, the Basquiat symbol, and also royal crowns seen in cartoon and Disney movies. I make art because I have something to say and a positive message to spread, whether or not people think it looks too street or simply doesn’t matter. It’s about the message I share and how the colors and words expressed are able to touch you mentally when you see it. More importantly, I have started a traveling art show called, “Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artists.”

By Tiff Davis, AFROPUNK Contributor

The show is not created to show disrespect to the great male artists. In fact, I hope that female artists can learn from them and gain the same global brand recognition as the male art greats. Nevertheless, I started planning the show after I attended Art Basel Miami this past year and after reflecting on my first Art Basel experience I left feeling like many black female visual artists are underrepresented in mainstream culture and entertainment. I feel like it is a male dominated field when it comes to brand recognition, being featured on big stages or being considered for major collaborations. Part of my story is that I am creating a voice and presence for all female visual artists in mainstream America and beyond.

Though I feel that art should have no gender or skin color, sadly it does at times. One example is that people could love your work but as soon as they see a picture of you or who is actually responsible for doing the work suddenly their initial perception of your work changes. In fact, growing up I felt like most of my creative influences were men and though that it is ok, I still couldn’t understand why I did not know of more than two famous female painters. With that being said, I am planning to launch a huge live and digital art show for women artists from all over the world, giving them another opportunity to stand up and showcase their work collectively. Female artists should be able to dream big.

We should not allow our work or brand to be categorized to just local art. I want there to be more ICONIC female visual artists that strive to reach the same level of mainstream acknowledgement as the male Basquiats, Warhols, and Picassos. And I plan to walk the streets of each city that I travel with a canvas strapped to my back to promote the show. I hope that by doing so I will gain new supporters while getting my message across; that message being that female artists have something to say on big stages and they need not be underrepresented in the grand scheme of things. What am I talking about? Well, though I respect them greatly, I have grown tired of seeing male art brands of Basquiat, Warhol, Picasso and Haring being heavily commercialized, branded, and represented in/on today’s products, culture, and entertainment but not many youth or adults know of many female artist brands besides Frida Kahlo. I mean sure people can do research and look them up but why don’t we know them off the top of our heads like we do the men? Or why is their work or brand identity not as familiar, recognizable, or commercialized to the public as the men.

When I go to the airport or the mall I see Warhol, Picasso and Haring art and products all over the place. So this is part of why I shout “Too many Basquiats not enough new artists.” I am motivating all visual artists to work on their brand identity and craft to the point where they too can have their work referenced in movies, entertainment, politics, or on products around the world. I do not create art solely for profit I create art because I have something to say. And my motto is if the people do not come to the art bring the art to the people. I want artists to see that it is one thing to perfect your craft and it is another thing to perfect your branding and marketing.
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Follow me on Instagram @americanqueentjd

Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artist Show August 2nd Philadelphia, PA See details online: