Sunday, October 18, 2009
October came in with a gust, donning wings equipped for the ride. I graciously accepted an invitation to sit amongst a group of exceptional childrens book authors and illustrators. Side eyeing everyones prized accomplishments I eagerly anticipated the chance to brag without exuding arrogance. So pleased with my latest achievement, its illustrations, its purpose, its meaning, I thought to myself, Just how comfortable am I wearing the Authors Chapeau? I've been Margo Candelario Folk Artist & Poet, labeled by those who do the Labeling. Reconnecting with friends who are load bearing walls of support helped me to realize that I have the means, ability and talent to write my own labels in Sharpie. I've wasted enough time dimming my light like a dying ember. I am a force to reckon with. Talented enough to be called a Fine Artist, International Poet, Author of whatever I choose, Friend, Daughter, Mother, Business Owner, Farmer, Animal Owner, Landscaper, yes I cut the grass too. Borders Bookstore in Athens, thank you for hosting a powerhouse panel of accomplished authors. I recommend you pick up the recent release by Donny Bailey Seagraves Gone from these Woods. Elizabeth O. Dulemba's Soap, soap, Soap ~ Jabon, jabon, jabon. Gene Fehler's YA Free verse novel Beanball. Robyn Hood Black's nonfiction interactive book Wolves. Donna Bowman's Did Dinosaurs Eat People.
Friday, June 19, 2009
In an effort to readjust my thinking about food and companionship, I've committed the next 12 weeks to healthier thoughts, healthier friendships and wiser food choices. I've been sucking on the porkchop pacifier to long and my teeth are bucking, along with some other parts of me. At week 5 of the rest of my life, I'm feeling better, breathing easier and at ease with "ME". The American Heart Association needs the support of all women to eradicate the #1 killer of mothers, sisters, aunts , and nieces, HEART DISEASE! Through awareness, and prevention, we can beat it. So along with adjusting my attitude, I'm eating food straight from my garden, some I'm cooking and others I'm juicing. I've been inspired by friends and family to get moving, one foot at a time. Learned behavior is a tough habit to break, but I'm NOT gonna be broken!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Stamford art show honors Black History Month
Posted on 02/16/2009
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Stamford art show honors Black History Month
By AMANDA NORRIS
Hour Staff Writer
A Stamford art show and new children's book focus on the family in celebration of Black History Month. Four visual artists whose works represent various transitions in people's lives submitted paintings and installations to "The 3rd Eye: A Study in Transition." The show opened Thursday and works will be on display at the University of Connecticut Stamford Art Gallery, 1 University Place, Washington Boulevard, through this month.
The show features mixed media, photography, fiber art, painting and sculpture by Barry Mason, Natalie Alleyne, Jerry Craft and Margo Candelario.
Also, Craft and Candelario have produced a children's book to be distributed by Simon & Schuster beginning this month. "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy" documents a family's experience with a particularly painful transition: the death of a father. Candelario wrote the book, and Craft illustrated it using a combination of photography and pen and ink drawing.
Candelario chose the works and location for "The 3rd Eye." She explained that to fulfill the theme of life transition Mason and Alleyne portrayed "the newlywed" through their pieces, Craft "the family man" and herself "the widow."
Candelario and Craft are both intimately familiar with their subject roles. A Norwalk resident, husband and father of two, Craft also draws "Mama's Boyz," a comic strip portraying a family of two boys and their single mother.
When she was still pregnant with their third daughter, Candelario's husband, Phil, died of a heart attack in 1996 at the age of 34. She wrote the book almost 10 years ago, when her daughters were still very young.
On Friday, Cheyenne, 17, Camaryan, 14, and Trae, 12, helped unpack the first boxes of the book's first edition at Craft's Harriet Street home, sniffling as they handled the tangible completion of their mother's artistic goal.
"In many ways, I documented their grief as a means of not dealing with my own. It was much easier to watch what they were doing," Candelario said. "I didn't want them to have psychological repercussions from this. I didn't want them to have to go to therapy. I couldn't wallow in my grief. I had three children to raise."
One installation she created for "The 3rd Eye," Candelario said, features eyeglasses, a wallet and other personal belongings of her husband which she kept in a canister for her daughters to view periodically. Another piece, a series of photographs, captures the changes in porchlight during different times of the day and night. Because her husband was a correctional officer and frequently worked nights, she and her oldest daughter would customarily "leave the light on for Daddy," she said.
According to Craft and Candelario, the book, like the show, fills a niche, making publicly visible common and universal experiences of love, tenderness, sorrow and grief not singularly from the perspective of a black family but inclusive of that perspective.
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I have been honored to be able to view Margo Candelario's wonderful paintings for the last couple of years. She is blessed with an insight into her heritage and people's psyche which is often reflected in her work. The book that she and the talented illustrator Jerry Craft have produced is nothing short of genius. To tackle a complex and emotional subject in such a novel way presents a product that can help many grieving families over that tragic hurtle. Helping her family deal with the loss of her husband and her childrens' father created a means to help many others too. Kudos to Margo and her fellow artists.
Posted by: Peter Muzyka | Feb 20, 2009
I know Margo as a rug hooker, what a delightful person and know her show was great. Pris in Georgia
Posted by: anonymous | Feb 21, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
With a flood watch in the forecast my daughter and I drove through a torrential downpour to visit Greensboro Elementary School. The first group of third graders were told to sit criss cross apple sauce and scoot toward the guest, while Cheyenne and I took our coats off and situated ourselves in those tiny wooden chairs. With no script in hand just experience I introduced myself and toned my life down to a G rating. I asked for a show of hands expressing the loss of a loved one, 95% responded. Happy I didn't have to sugar coat the subject of my book I began to read and show the illustrations. With eyes as wide as saucers taking in Jerry Craft's 3-D artistry and ears opening pathways to the heart, "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy" invited dialog. My book is built around my children coping with the death of their father, but the subject of Loss is the Universal picture. Divorce, Separation, Incarceration, Single parenting, Grand parenting, Foster parenting, are Adult Verbs representing cause and effect. In an hour and a half I spoke with 200 children ages 9-11 about internalizing feelings, proper nutrition, playing outside, communicating to adults about physical pain, things we adults neglect, when we get involved in the business of living.
Donna Jones Media Specialist thank you for inviting me to your wonderful school.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Just in from the Manhattan Times Newspaper servicing my old neighborhood, Washington Heights, a cover story on an Indie bookstore called Sisters Uptown. I had a signing there February 14 and they have graciously allowed my book "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy to be photographed in their spread. Thank you Janifer & Kwame for your support of my family and my book. Sisters Uptown Book store is located at 1942 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY - (212) 862-3680 You can see read the Manhattan Times at http://www.manhattantimesnews.com/covers/Archives/2009/Vol10N9.pdf
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"the more you see us in a different light, the more doors that open up for African-Americans," says Jerry Craft, the award-winning creator of the Mama's Boyz comic strip, which chronicles the life of an African-American woman raising two teenage sons. The strip has been syndicated by King Features since 1995.
Craft is one of three black comic-strip artists who offered FOXNews.com exclusive drawings of what they would like a black superhero to look like.
Hopefully seeing us as more positive members of the community, and not just the people you see on the news or 'Cops,' will get them to expand their horizons to include us," said Craft, who has worked for Marvel and Harvey Comics and was editorial director at Sports Illustrated for Kids.
The first black superhero was Marvel's Black Panther, who showed up in a 1966 Fantastic Four story and has gained some popularity. Another Marvel character, Blade, earned big-market attention when Wesley Snipes personified him in a film version of the comic. Some characters have vacillated between races — both Spawn and Catwoman were black in certain iterations, white in others. And characters like Storm, Luke Cage, Static, and Bishop have enjoyed a certain level of celebrity, but not the kind that has netted others their own big-budget Hollywood films.
But with Obama establishing a new role model for blacks in America, traditional depictions of blacks in popular culture could get a makeover, said culture critic David Horowitz.
"I think having a black president will have a positive impact on black images in the popular culture and will move that culture away from some of its politically correct absurdities," he said.
Comic book creators, authors and artists have many explanations for the historical absence of black superheroes in mainstream pop culture.
Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen, a former Spider-Man author for Marvel, says, "I think part of that is that there hasn't been a breakout character that transcends race the way actors Will Smith and Eddie Murphy have, or the 'Cosby Show' did, or, frankly, Barack Obama has.
"The characters in comics are often too ethnic for a white audience and too embarrassing for a black one."Adds Craft: "I don't think that the black superheroes of the past were all that interesting. Since most of the creators were white, they based their characters on their perception of black men and women. They definitely were not built to stand the test of time." Political correctness has also been an impediment. "I think that their creators tried hard not to offend blacks and made many of them too perfect," Craft said. "Many were army heroes or Olympic athletes who were fighting a noble cause. They had no character deficiencies or internal conflicts that are usually needed to make a story interesting."
Before Obama won the presidency, blacks were largely implausible as superheroes, Craft said. "I think that there is a perception of black people that America is comfortable with, and I'm not sure the hero role was it," he said. "We can be athletes and rappers, but not Superman. Thor saved the universe, Captain America saved the country, Spider-Man saved the city, but Luke Cage saved 125th Street (in Harlem) between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards." P.S. Jerry Craft and I have been friends for 28 years, he is the illustrator of my newly released children's book, "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy" and my poetry book entitled "Take me to the Water" Kudos to you Jerry, you're my HERO!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Eleven years ago I sat at my computer feverishly typing out rhyme, with a mission to express the importance of waiting for the "Right" mate. A lot of the fantasy mates were created during my Mary Shelley think tanks. Through all the finger wagging and testosterone slinging, I discovered that we want the world, but choose what we know. My book of poetry, "Take me to the Water" had life's blood poured upon its pages, from the creation of an "Ideal Mate" to the expiration of "A Dream." Hook loaded with aromatic bait, I cast my line into the Atlantic Ocean of publishing. Reeling in new terminology like NO, poetry doesn't sell, Chap book, & Self Publishing. I joined the writers groups and associations, I attended dinners and award ceremonies. I booked signings, wrote press releases, loaded and unloaded boxes of books, sharing space with other self publishers, lined up row by row in auditoriums, gymnasiums and hotel lobbies. I told myself that this was better than having a publisher because all profits went directly to me, but the marketing got in the way of my creativity. The tour zapped my desire to write for fear of the sales pitch. Eleven years in the present, my children's book "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy" has reeled in Karen Hunter Publishing, teamed with Simon & Schuster distribution, what a catch! Self publishing served me well, like apples and oranges they're both great, but I have a preference.
Monday, January 12, 2009
In my last blog I talked about the upcoming art reception at the University of Connecticut, but today I'm excited about the February 2009 release of my children's book entitled, "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy." My friend of 28 years Author/Illustrator Jerry Craft, has put pen to paper, brilliantly breathing life through illustration, into the characters who remarkably resemble my children:) I wrote the book 11 years ago, shopped a few publishers, and received several rejections. Put the book down and shelved the project for my visual art and thicker skin. The book resurfaced last year, minus the illustrations. Jerry agreed to work on the project and here we are, a finished work of art. It is my dream to help children of all ages cope with the loss of a parent through the lives of my children. As a family we have weathered the storm! The girls have worked hard as a unit to overcome many "isms" Single family-ism, Medicaid-ism, Free school lunch-ism,and all the other Isms incurred through death. The book initiates dialog about pleasant memories and events through actual family photographs. If you happen to know a child who is suffering through the loss of a parent please share the book with them. Its available through Karen Hunter Media.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The 3rd Eye finally opens, February 7, 2009 at the University of Connecticut Art Gallery. Long awaited, full of anticipation, growing pains and DRAMA! The Artist Reception is on the 12th, a Thursday evening after work, when eyes are worn from staring at monotonous computer screens. Receptions can be tricky events, filled with family, supporting friends, critics, collectors, bargain hunters, lookie-loos, lovers and HATERS of art. That's why I'm bringing an arsenal with me, my children. Soldiers born into the world of "Art Shows" they know the savvy language, accompanied by, the gallery stroll, and "the couple huddle"which can make or break a sale. A smile and gentle tug on the left sleeve, is code for, admirer in the green dress has found something that moves her into submission! I've also learned over the years to keep a fluid pace, because the minute you break stride the ears inadvertently pick up background noises that aren't always symphonic. For some artist, creating is having a conversation with self. Every now and then its nice to invite others to the think tank, it makes for great subject matter.