Good Trouble | SHEA JUSTICE

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In Partnership with Cambridge College, 2022

Banner Art detail: Shea Justice

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Artist Statement

My work is very political in content. I try to create art as a form of documenting experiences and realities involving people and mainstream pop culture during times of war and strife in the digital age. I prefer to use a variety of paints/markers and other media combined with text and headlines from a variety of news sources and articles. Hopefully much of the work will be combined/displayed to form a narrative about the African American experience throughout the country’s history. One of the most consistent projects I have been working on since 2003 has been a series of scrolls that I document and record moments in history. I use different media and new sources to write down and illustrate events and political figures involved on the paper. I always include the dates and images that can be found in the associated press and other news sources.

By using rice scrolls I create longstanding timelines about how a government’s war from its inception until its conclusion affects the ideology and lives of the citizens it affects through propaganda and misinformation. The text on the scrolls includes information, commentary and dates that are from around the time the events during the war occur. Many of the images on the scrolls are of people who make policy decisions, those who are affected by them, and how it impacts me on a day to day basis.

The series of scrolls I’ve done are based on the traditional Asian techniques used to relate stories. By using Chinese ink, watercolor paint, and pencil drawings on many parts, I try to create a visual sense of change depending on the time and situations that occur. The political context of my work has been influenced by diverse people from artists like Sue Coe and Dana Chandler to political writers like James Baldwin and Noam Chomsky.

During the pandemic of 2020 I’ve spent much of my time (in addition to working on the scrolls) taking a number of headlines and articles in the newspapers and adding them to sketches and drawings I’ve rendered to make collages and archive the headlines that are currently happening. I will also render images of figures from the past that are still relevant to events currently happening. My preference in creating work is to archive people and events during different periods of time in American history. In doing this, I hope to have a narrative/timeline with all of my work that would engage the viewer as a creative and educational tool in learning about different art media and history.

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