Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazing Artwork: Shawn Alleyne Pays Loving Tribute to H.E.R

While wandering around the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center on the third and final day of the 2009 New York Comic-Con, I had finally exhausted all of the main attractions.  I decided to give some of the independent creators a chance.  I happened upon a table where artist Shawn Alleyne and Writer Koran Curtis were promoting a comic they’d created called A Hero’s Diary.  They were selling posters, stickers, and a sketchbook.  Shawn’s amazing artwork immediately piqued my interest, so I decided to show my support by purchasing one of each.  I don’t know what ultimately became of A Hero’s Diary, but I still have that sketchbook.  I soon sent Shawn a friend request on Facebook.  Today he posted something that reminded me just how wise a decision that was.

WARNING: The following image contains nudity.

This morning, Shawn posted one of his latest works.  It’s a poster titled Hip Hop Tribute- H.E.R Truth.  The title is an obvious reference to Common’s controversial yet classic song “I Used to Love H.E.R.”  The fairly abstract work consists of a number of striking images, chief among which are a pair of exposed breasts with fancy drawer handles covering the nipples. Hovering Just behind the owner of those breasts is a giant schematic of a semiautomatic pistol with a microphone jammed in the barrel.  Every bullet in the magazine has the word “TRUTH” inscribed on it.  Shawn offered the following disclaimer and explanation for his work:

This is one of my most personal pieces of art to date...There is a much deeper meaning here than just a woman's body...she represents the BEAUTY and TRUTH of what REAL hip-hop is to me. Feel free to ask any questions before you judge.

While the more provocative elements of the piece definitely pull the viewer in, closer scrutiny reveals much more than just shock value at work here.  The great thing about a piece like this is that is that it invites both visceral reactions and personal interpretations.  Its boldness keeps closed minds and prudes comfortably at bay.  Those who choose to dismiss it due to the nudity on display would likely never get it anyway.  Some things can’t be expressed through safe and passive imagery.  Any work of art that pays tribute to Hip-Hop should embody similar qualities to that which it beholds.  Shawn has prints of this exquisite work for sale.  They range in price from 10 to 20 dollars depending on the size.  Contact Shawn at for further details.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Scott, thank you for your positive words and continued support. Your analysis perfectly mirrors the message I was seeking to convey and hopefully viewers will understand the elements of the piece. I would also like to mention this image was colored by Blair Smith.