At the “Making a Scene” exhibit opening, SOMArts, San Francisco, summer 2015.
At the “Making a Scene Opening,” SOMArts, summer 2015.
SOMArts really knows how to throw an opening. From “Glitterbomb” and “Making a Scene” (both in the summer of 2015) to “The Black Woman Is God” (in the summer of 2016), SOMArts openings have drawn huge crowds of art lovers from across the Bay Area. I think it’s because SOMArts group shows include a diversity of artists, each of whom draws their own community of friends and family. Even those openings that have been overwhelmingly Black or LGBTQ draw on a richly diverse array of identities within those respective communities. There’s something about these events that feels so Bay Area. As much as I whine about missing my beloved Northeast, the art community in the Bay always reminds me of why, since coming to Oakland in 1999, I’ve decided to stay put.
I wish I could remember this guy’s name. He was really nice, and he had a great smile. Also, he was friends with my partner’s friend, T-Mark, and so I knew he had to be a great person. We ran into the two of them at an art exhibit I was participating in at SOMArts, in San Francisco. It was a very pleasant surprise. I don’t know T-Mark terribly well, and he’s more my partner’s friend than mine; but he’s one of those people who always has a warm smile and kind words to share. When I think about the public perception of Black men as tough guys who’s emotion range extends from stoicism to rage, I feel sad for those people in the majority–actually, I feel sad for all those people outside of Blackness–whose negative stereotypes of African American manhood will prevent them from ever having the benefit of the warmth, love, and friendship of a guy like T-Mark or the friendly smile of a guy like his friend.
We ran into my partner’s old friend T-Mark at the opening of the Making a Scene exhibit at SOMArts. It was early July, summer 2015. T-Mark is a fascinating guy with a penchant for memory games, a great sense of humor, and a warm spirit. He now works for one of the national airlines, and his position has enabled him to pursue his lifelong love of travel. Whenever we run into T-Mark every year or so, he always has an amazing travel story to tell; and every time we part company, I wonder whether or not I should get a job with one of the airlines. Perhaps they could use an official portrait artist. Then again, perhaps not…