• Caitlin Correa

Celebrating Blackness-Artist & Podcaster Jamaal Barber

Artist & Podcaster Jamaal Barber on Race, Being a Professional & Talking to Greats David Driskell & Bisa Butler on Studio Noize Podcast





How do you make work, write about it, and host a podcast when 2020 throws us into a spiral of change? Jamaal Barber, a printmaker and the host of Studio Noize Podcast, talks about how the changes of 2020 have impacted his work and about his prints that celebrate Blackness. As a printmaker who makes large work, Jamaal was forced to shift gears when his local printshop shut its doors due to the pandemic. Since then, he has started to work with watercolors and explore alternative media as his work moves from the figure towards abstraction.


Barber’s beautiful, large scale, black and white prints are celebratory in nature and share a narrative of being bright and Black in America. There is an undercurrent present that also speaks to battling stereotypes and the reality of what these stereotypes can mean for Black people such as unwarranted traffic stops to what we have seen with Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and historically, countless other Black people. Barber talks about how his work is shifting as he begins to explore a more personal narrative of grappling with race in America.


Jamaal Barber was born in VA and raised in Littleton, NC. At a young age, he was fascinated by the illustrations in children’s books and the colorful images in comic books. He started drawing on the back of his tests in elementary school and was soon drawing on any material that he could find. He finally decided to become an artist after reading about the life of Romare Bearden in high school. After attending East Carolina University, Barber graduated with a BA in Communication Arts in 2003. While in school he won the 2002 JOSA award for drawing and 1st Place in Graphic Design for the Rebel Magazine, the annual ECU student art awards magazine. In 2004, Jamaal moved to Atlanta where he now resides with his wife and 2 children. He has worked doing graphic design work for Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and Spoken Magazine. His fine art painting has been displayed at the Art on 5 and with the Mano-a- Mano art show. In 2013 after seeing a screen printing demo at a local art store, Barber started experimenting with printmaking and has made it his focus. His prints have been included in the Atlanta Printmaker Studio Biennial show and the Hudgens Center For The Arts.


TAKEAWAYS:


- How do you make work during COVID while at home with kids

- Having to draw to stay sane

- Switching media during a pandemic, from printmaking to painting.

- Writing a thesis as your work shifts

- Celebrating Blackness

- Battling stereotypes of being Black

- Talking about race

- Graduate school and writing your thesis

- Starting and sustaining a podcast

- Talking to legends David Driskell and Bisa Butler

- Being Ready to Show Up and Do the Work

- Being a professional artist

- How having children impacted his work

LINKS:


Website: http://jbarberstudio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jbarberstudio/

Studio Noize Podcast: https://www.studionoizepodcast.com/episodes

How to Be AntiRacist


Romare Bearden

Bisa Butler

David Driskell

Alfred Conteh -ATL https://www.alfredconteh.com/

Rashaun Rucker Printmaking Detroit: https://www.mcontemporaryart.com/rashaun-rucker























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