Krista Franklin. In recent years, my work has come to straddle the literary and visual worlds. As a writer, painter, and mixed medium visual artist, my goal is to create complex, interrogative images that reflect the vernacular experiences, dream worlds, and psychic landscapes of the black community in the United States and larger African diaspora.
My art tends to have a strong focus on subtext. I often utilize distinct, sometimes recognizable and familiar images of people of color, related iconography, and the juxtaposition of text in my work as I attempt to engage the viewer while at the same time deconstructing the ways in which our gaze reifies and distorts notions of culture and gender, race and class, power and privilege.
I am deeply inspired by popular culture and public history, as well as by the frenetic glamour of music videos and magazines. Using a variety of mixed media acrylic, watercolor, handmade paper and found objects: old letters, vintage magazine advertisements, playing cards, old photographs, and receipts I work to create post-modern American totems wherein the complexities of our present and our past(s) are evoked through purposeful layering.
Though I have been a visual artist for over fifteen years, my professional accomplishments have intensified in the past four. I support myself primarily as a teaching and working artist. I have exhibited in group shows in New York and Minneapolis, solo exhibitions in Chicago where I live and work, and publications in literary and lifestyle magazines in the United States and Paris. My artwork has donned the covers of books by major publishing houses, prize-winning manuscripts and music CDs, and has become highly sought after by fellow artists, writers and academics.
One key achievement to date was the receipt of a Chicago Artist Assistance Program Grant in 2007 for my Artist Book inspired by the novels of Octavia E. Butler titled SEED (The Book of Eve). A year after receiving that grant, projections from SEED were shown during the keynote address at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, and in 2009 were featured as a part of The Octavia Butler Project at the Brecht Forum in New York during an event honoring her legacy. One of my immediate artistic goals is to continue to develop exhibits and installations around the collages featured in the Artist Book.