The sun’s red sparked my orange passion, I’m light like yellow. Fire raging inside of me, I’m a young mad nigga, mad with love, and rage, and hope that is contagious. Faith flew from my heart and took my veins with it. Still tethered to my being, my spirit lay out of me. Cast in the ether I … couldn’t sense much, felt no physical belonging. Soul engaged, was on standby—now she driving, I … fell, bound to infinity. Flowing in forever—feeling all and nothing, all at once. This dissociation treated me to time in my mind, introspection led me to softer waters. Rivers rage, right? Sometimes roughly in the night but at times the waters rock with ease; rage ain’t always rough. Nor is it always mean or vindictive. Rage be the sun shining, sayin’ keep pushin. Rage be passion, born and dying, dead again, just to rise with more rhythm and purpose. Back in body, my heart beating, flames is booming, soaring, adding to the eternal fire of—.
I’ve been blessed with eyes that can illustrate feelings of the heart. Let a story make its way through my senses to my art. I say often, “this work is not mine, it is ours.” Which goes to say that what I create with my hands is simply a conversation with what inspires me, and I love to give credit to those entities. What I make with my hands is no longer a practice of sole self-expression, it is a bountiful allowance of the divine flowing through me. It is the shock that brings my mind back to oneness. I be feeling electric with connection when muses enter through me. I just be vessel, for a story bigger than I. I always tell the people that inspire me: you are not MY muse—that sounds possessive—and I’d like to believe that I drop all possessiveness in these makings. To be mused, motivated, or inspired by another is a blessing to me. Anything (good) that brings you out of stillness or being blocked is (to me) to be respected for however long it’s with you. I think it’s an honor to be impacted in such a beautiful way.
After finally deleting Instagram for good I’ve struggled with ways to share these creations. I realized that I’ve never hidden my art from my peers. Back when I lived in so-called Ypsilanti, I had friends that were always in my room, which is where my art was; it was never without discovery. But now that I’ve moved away and have receded into my reclusiveness not many people have seen my work (in person) these past two years. It feels weird, but I’m also excited to one day soon let people back into my physical world to experience the art and myself. I’ve probably been cocooning into something wonderful for a while now. I honor that.
Anyways, I’m here to say that I’ve decided to share my makings by way of the Black-Ink website—I guess these days people call that an exclusive? Well, here’s your first exclusive. I intend to share on the seventh of every month and perhaps sometimes just randomly. I am honored to be in community and conversation with y’all …
I am known as Kavonna, but I love to say I’m a nigga that goes by many names. I’m a painter, sketcher, novice woodworker, and a future stonecarver, ceramicist, sign carver/painter, and blacksmith. I’m a pro-bono creator. I intend for a lot of my work to function as a way to raise funds for honestly whoever may need it, but I do center Black and Brown communities, QTGNCPOC, single parents, and basically those struggling financially in the Amerikkkas. If someone lacks funds for their basic survival-needs to be met—let it be food, medicine, shelter/rent, transport fees, etc.—I wanna be able to help.
*How can my work aid these people? Well, sales of sculptures and paintings will be split and shared to whatever “cause” is at the forefront of my attention. I also have intentions to be in direct conversation with someone who is engaged directly with communities and causes that need monetary support. We can come together to decide a plan of action that can be most helpful to them. This plan of action would determine what would be created to sale for the sake of raising said funds, or even awareness.
**There’s so many people that need help and I’d like to be able to do that in my local communities (Albion, Battle Creek, Detroit, Flint, Lansing, and Ypsilanti) as well as nationally. It’s hard to say to y’all that I can help everyone. I can’t. But bring an issue to my attention and it’ll have a place in my mind and on my list.
I like the idea of bartering skills, services, or talents: to make an exchange. I know in some cases that isn’t possible, though. I’m working on a list of what I can offer up in exchange for your help. There’s things that I need in order to be able to do my work more efficiently, whether that be lessons or materials. I want everything I do to be mad accessible for my people; I’ve never liked the idea of overcharging.
Here’s a list of what I need and why:
Woodworking tools (hand saw, wood blanks, chisels, and knives): These will help me create more work that is reflective of what muses me and will help me to create bowls, sculptures, and totems. As I learn more about woodworking, I will pass the knowledge onto others. (If anyone has access to free wood, reclaimed wood, or wood period, that would be a helpful resource for me as well. Sustainably sourced woods are preferred.)
Blacksmith and bladesmith classes: I will be able to learn the art of metal bending. Which I can then take into my personal practices to be able to make more work as well as be able to teach others the trade.
Access to a kiln: To be able to fire clay objects and render them finished. These objects will either be kitchenware, housewares, or sculptures. One day I intend to own my own kiln and will happily allow others access to it.
Midi woodturning lathe: To speed up the process of making bowls, vases, and other wooden objects.
Direct ways to donate:
Woodcraft: gift card (recipient email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I also embrace and accept words of encouragement, YouTube / Spotify / SoundCloud playlists, podcast recommendations, book recommendations, and whatever you feel called to share.
If you are interest in collaborating or getting some pro-bono work done, email me at email@example.com with clear intentions in the subject line.
I’m walking towards my purpose, which is to be a helping and fighting hand. To be a clenched fist screaming, wanting, hoping for the best. For comfort, for peace, for fewer struggles, for more love … If you feel me, then you feel me. I’m all for you. Forever sending out love from my beating Black heart.
Note: No part of my expression would be possible without the influence of my many connections. Giving high thanks for my loved ones—those present physically on this earth as well as those who are not. Much love to my grannie Annie, my chosen family Daziah and Marcus, and Zuu—and to all the brothers fallen to gun violence in my second hometown Battle Creek. I see y’all forever.