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← Jordan Casteel Stays in the Moment | Art21 "New York Close Up"

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Showing Revision 11 created 02/18/2020 by Jonathan Munar.

  1. ["New York Close Up"]
  2. --Thanks for coming, you guys.
  3. --You've been in this whole journey with me
  4. --and it means a lot.
  5. --My whole life…
  6. ["Jordan Casteel--Artist"]
  7. [WOMAN]
    --Congratulations, though!
  8. [CASTEEL]
    --Thank you.
  9. I consider myself to be more of an introvert
    than an extrovert.
  10. I can flip on--
  11. like, adrenaline can kick in
  12. and I'm able to perform
    extroversion really well.
  13. And so I often try to find
    my kindred spirits in the world,
  14. and usually it's somebody who's, kind of,
    standing off to the side.
  15. There's a certain amount of mindfulness
  16. that it requires to slow down enough
  17. to really feel what it is to be present
    with someone in a moment.
  18. ["Jordan Casteel Stays in the Moment"]
  19. I've always had an inclination
    towards seeing people who
  20. might be easily unseen.
  21. [LOUIE]
    I remember it like it was yesterday.
  22. It was a real calm, vivrant night.
  23. It feels like the way it's painted--
  24. it was a vibe...
    like pink, summer...
  25. 125th Street, where we ran into Jordan.
  26. I'm so proud to be here today,
  27. to be a part of this
    and be the face of it right now.
  28. I love her.
  29. [QUENTIN]
    I feel like a superstar. [LAUGHS]
  30. Yo, I can't stop blushing! [LAUGHS]
  31. I can't stop blushing.
  32. [ZEN]
    I was walking the dogs, right?
  33. And we met and I sat and posed for the photo.
  34. [MAN]
    It was here in New York right?
  35. [ZEN]
    Yeah, Harlem.
  36. [125th Street, Harlem]
  37. [LOUIE]
    How you doing?
  38. Can I introduce you to Megastar Brand store?
  39. We got it all.
  40. You get hoodies.
  41. We got long sleeve tees.
  42. Black Power everything.
  43. We got all kinds of...
  44. How you doing miss?
  45. Can I introduce you to Megastar Brand store?
  46. [WOMAN]
    Maybe next time, baby.
  47. [LOUIE]
    All right, take care.
  48. [CASTEEL]
    I was walking around, shooting at night
  49. and Louie and A-Thug
    were packing up their stuff.
  50. So while I was taking the pictures,
  51. at some point, Louie asked,
    "What's going on here?"
  52. "Are you an artist?
    A photographer?"
  53. "What brings you to Harlem?"
  54. And I was like, "Oh, I'm actually a painter,"
  55. "I'm doing this project,"
    blah blah blah.
  56. And they were like, "Oh, yeah!"
  57. "We'd love to participate!"
  58. They had phenomenal energy from the beginning.
  59. --Y'all turned this into a photo shoot.
    I ain't mad at it.
  60. [LAUGHS]
    --Make use of it while you got the camera!
  61. The actual moment of me photographing someone
  62. is that speedy moment.
  63. I'm in and out with them.
  64. But I get to spend the most intimate time,
  65. by myself in the studio,
  66. re-engaging with what I felt from someone
    in an instant.
  67. I sit in here literally for hours alone, in
    my own head--
  68. to have the space to really delve into
    my most intimate thoughts and feelings,
  69. and to process the world around me,
  70. which is what I do when I'm painting.
  71. I spend a lot of time just looking
  72. and deciding colors in advance,
  73. and then mixing them meticulously
  74. so that when I get to this point
  75. I'm able to exert a certain amount of confidence.
  76. My way of trying to reconnect with
    the immediacy that happens
  77. if you're sitting in front of somebody,
    you know?
  78. That you're working from life.
  79. The camera, it's really become a liaison
    between me and the sitter.
  80. It gives me time to
    slow down before I go fast.
  81. In that moment with A-Thug and Louie,
  82. I don't know if I noticed that "melanin" shirt
    sitting on the table.
  83. I'm quite sure I didn't
    as I'm taking the pictures.
  84. But it's only in retrospect,
  85. as I took time to really study the environment
    that they had created,
  86. that I was like, "Whoa!"
  87. "There are really prominent things
    happening here."
  88. His shirt saying,
    "T.H.U.G., the hate you gave us,"
  89. I also didn't notice until I started making
    the painting.
  90. I think that's a very powerful statement,
  91. to wear it on your chest like a shield
  92. that communities of color often have to create
  93. in order to protect and honor ourselves.
  94. [LOUIE]
    I get the best feeling when I come outside
  95. and somebody's wearing one of my t-shirts,
  96. one of my hats.
  97. Right here is a little bear I done drew out,
  98. animated it with the little graphic design.
  99. So, I've got to produce.
  100. Like, making art into
    wearable clothing right now.
  101. Young Style Designs.
  102. It's wearable art right here, though.
  103. Jordan, her work is on showcase.
  104. You've got to go inside of an establishment.
  105. I'm more of a street hustler,
  106. I get it out right on the
    cement concrete block.
  107. She left a little event in my life,
    like a nice little milestone.
  108. Just dropped down and did something nice.
  109. [CASTEEL]
    I have somehow found a way
  110. to weasel myself into a one-percent opportunity
    within the art market
  111. that has proven, on so many levels,
  112. that room for me
    is few and far between,
  113. as a young African-American woman
  114. in a space that is primarily run by older
    White men.
  115. The history of this country is complicated.
  116. The history of how art has moved through institutions,
  117. and been valued, is complicated.
  118. With access comes responsibility.
  119. With visibility comes responsibility.
  120. [ZEN]
    There are very few spaces where
  121. Black men are being represented
  122. outside of criminality and entertainment.
  123. People probably pass the subjects in this
    work everyday,
  124. without acknowledging anything about them.
  125. There is a value in just being.