Collection: Cedric Smith

I started painting all kinds of things without any focus, until one day while listening to Public Enemy (a political rap group), I heard Chuck D. say "most of our heroes don't appear on no stamps". That gave me a focus and I started placing black images on postage stamps. I didn't want to paint people. I wanted to place photographs instead. It was a way to make some ordinary person look famous. I went from stamps to dollar bills to what I do now, advertisements.

I've always been amused by signs off the highway or in magazines, but I've never seen a lot of blacks in those things. I feel a lot of the reason why we as a whole don't seem to respect each other is because we have no sense of worth. I think that if we saw more positive things pertaining to us, we would do better. So my way of contributing to this is through my art.

I use black and white photographs as a representation of the past, and by adding color I bring it to the present. I place circles in all my paintings to represent the air bubbles that are in old films, as if you were looking at a film. The ribbon I place in my paintings represents the gift, which is how I view my paintings, as a gift that I am giving to the public. I also place a church on the back of my paintings as a signature, which is a tribute to my grandmother. She was an usher in her church for as long as I can remember.

I try to paint like a kid, no rules, and no boundaries. I am just having fun while trying to educate the public.

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