Brothers48 x 48
48x48in Acrylic on Archival-Quality Natural Cotton
Genesis: When I first heard “Brothers,” it was January of this year. There’s this hotel I was staying in when I heard it, the Dwell Hotel. That shit is fly. It just gets the creative juices flowing. I was working on a commission piece for a friend I met in LA. That’s when I got the call from Kev about checking that song out. He said, “Hey, let me know what you think of this.” He didn’t load it down too much. After I heard it, he let me know who it was. “Would you be down to do the artwork for it?” And I’m like, “Yeah, duh, of course!”
Initially, as I was hearing it, it was like some peaches and oranges and deep reds were the colors I saw. It was reminding not of a heart but something internal. Words, language, have an anatomy to it. Brothers is a sturdy word. I don’t want to say regal. But it’s sturdy. I thought about writing this whole poetic thing. Throwing different metaphors around to construct the word brothers. But I scratched that idea. I wanted “Brothers” to be able to hold its own weight. It doesn’t need the other stuff.
I went back 150 maybe 200 years and looked through all these different relationships whether they were blood brothers or brothers in spirit. There were some brothers like Du Bois and Booker T. They weren’t brothers. They had a lot of arguments and they disagreed a lot in their political views. But they were kind of brothers in the same fight of equality and freedom, they just had two completely different ideas on how to make it happen. There were other brothers like Quincy Jones and Frank Sinatra. All the way up to Kanye West and Jay-Z. Seven and Gotti. The whole landscape of different types of brothers. That all came out of listening to the song. Going back and forth, back and forth, and having it play while I paint.
If all of those relationships through history, if they failed, then the word “brothers” wouldn’t be so sturdy. A brother can check you. I got a brother and he calls me on my shit all the time. Cause sometimes I can fool myself. We all have this blind eye inside of us. No one can see themselves fully. It’s very intimate to trust somebody to be in that sanctuary with you. You’ll fight. But it’s your brother.
It took at least a month. Sometimes you put the clothes on, you look in the mirror, you’re like, “Ehhhh.” You walk to the store, you walk to the house, you take the clothes off. I actually have pictures of it in different stages. It was a lot lighter. It was like a beige. The names in the back were popping out too much. And I made it darker and darker and darker. It kind of takes time to get the clothes right.
It took me four or five days to get the canvas. But that gave me four or five days to go on some nice walks. And I went on some nice walks. Once I get the bullshit out of the way, through walking, that’s when I can find the right place. As artists, a lot of times we can get in our own way. You can really overreach trying to put too much of yourself in something. You’ll already be in it by being honest. It’ll be the essence of you there but not enough to overshadow anything. I think that’s when you can reach people.