‘The Journey’ art celebrates black culture

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‘The Journey’ art celebrates black culture

Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Gilbert Bernal

Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Gilbert Bernal

Gilbert Bernal

Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Emmanuel Akinola, Staff Writer

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‘The Journey’ art gallery is on display till March 3 in Houston Community College West Loop campus gallery.

The artwork was created by known artists Al Sauso and Kevo from the Houston art scene.

The Exhibit Coordinator Maureen Lewis said that the artwork on display presents “the journey of [the artists’] lives.” The exhibit is in celebration of Black History Month.

 Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Black and white art by Al Saulso on display at the West Loop campus.

Sauso runs his own photography company, which he developed independently for 10 years. His art primarily consists of his trademark black-and-white photographs. His main inspiration is from his parents who he recalls “opened my eyes to the direction of art.”

Spirituality, nature and surrealism are major themes for Sauso in his work. Some of the pieces displayed involve seashells in black-and-white covered with white dots in a pattern that mirrors the stars.

In order to be a well-rounded artist, Saulso has studied sculpting, painting, ceramics, and photography. His first foray into art was through making graffiti.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder,” Saulso says, acknowledging that it is similar to how people see beauty.  

To him, it’s more about the thought process behind the creation itself. To honor his African and Native American heritage, he created the art with the goal of adding narrative to the art itself.

“It’s a way for him to show his inner self,” Lewis points out.

Kevo has been running his own tattoo shop and business since 2010. For his own inspiration in life, he admires Jay Z, Kanye West, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.

Caravaggio, the famous Renaissance artist known for his light and dark contrast paintings, is one of Kevo’s favorite artists.

Kevo’s artwork mainly calls to mind impression art similar to Claude Monet. He is primarily concerned with themes of commentary on social and cultural issues dealing with African Americans.

His artwork consisted of a portrait of Oprah Winfrey at 25 years old, just when she was in a critical part of her life: leaving her job as a journalist.

In designing the portrait, Kevo used colors associated with Oprah’s birthday for it to be more authentic, saying, “I allowed her to paint, instead of me.”

An untitled work by Kevo that is on display at the West Loop campus.

Gilbert Bernal
An untitled work by Kevo that is on display at the West Loop campus.

His other pieces of art included a panel of his favorite basketball players that mirrored the Last Supper, and a four-sided portrait of black citizens who died in race-related issues—including Trayvon Martin.

There’s also an art piece of an Air Jordan shoe held together by chains, worn by a black person that’s walking on water. A message that Kevo could be sending is that African Americans in our society put on themselves shackles of consumerism. The art itself shows a person that can be seen as walking on water in a godlike fashion, but yet is tied to his fixation on getting the best shoes.

“He’s taking concepts that we’re familiar with and changing them to make us think about the feelings behind them,” Lewis observes on Kevo’s methodology.

Beach scene by Kevo on display at the West Loop campus.

Beach scene by Kevo on display at the West Loop campus.

As part of his legacy for future generations, Kevo hopes his art will be studied through other mediums including literature, so that he can inspire others to realize their potential.

Lewis’s main wish for students visiting the exhibit is to see the opportunity of two young artists who have taken the initiative to market themselves and to understand the importance of being successful both inside and outside of the classroom.

For more info, contact Maureen Lewis at 713-718-5978 or maureen.lewis@hccs.edu