By Adrienne Yancey
Art has manifested within many forms of my expression. I have ALWAYS found influences through various artist and their mediums. Music, poetry, literature, linguistics, fashion, and canvas is what I continuously live for. I’ve pulled together a couple of my ‘first and foremost’! Uno…dos…!
1.) Zora Neale Hurston: After coming across Dusk Tracks on a Road in an elementary enrichment program, I stuck to the works of Hurston for years to come. One of my most favorite biographies about the author, entitled Wrapped in Rainbows, exemplifies Hurston in her roaring essence, as well as her saucy presence, literally, and physically. Her most potent influence I’ve absorbed was at-ti-tude…and an expressive mind to match. Her embrace towards life didn’t do much hurt either. ;)
“I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.” – Zora Neale Hurston
2.) Georgia O’Keefe: Along with my grandmother’s gardening books, Georgia O’Keefe became a favorite of mine as la niña. Her explosion of colors and inquisitive eye towards the works were a major aspect of my appreciation for her. O’Keefe’s most potent influence I’ve absorbed was a distinct and descriptive eye towards work ethic, and most importantly, vida. She was down to earth, too!
3.) Gordon Parks: American Gothic, one of Mr. Parks’ most renowned photographs, embodied a relevant African-American experience at the time, and stretched far beyond its image. Many of Gordon Parks pieces translated through more than one medium, including photography, film, and literature. Among his works, ALL were symbolic. His most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to be entrenched in humane emotion.
4.) Salvador Dalí: A high school, Spanish class project introduced me to this wonder! Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech (I dare you to successfully say that in one breath) was a Spanish Catalan, surrealistic painter who lived for his infamous handlebar ‘stache and larger than life approach to the arts. Often spotted with his pet ocelot Babou, and an outrageous quote to follow, Dali definitely made sure to leave his Persistant mark on time beyond his own. His most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to understand life’s brevity, and take FULL advantage of that fact. P.S. The Persistance of Memory is my favorite!
5.) F. Scott Fitzgerald: Before The Great Gatsby, I had read a short story by Fitzgerald entitled, The Hotel Child. The themes, like many of Fitzgerald’s stories include love, naivety, wealth, and ownership. The period vibes of the 20’s and 30’s of his pieces puts me in a visual escapade of my own in that era as I read. His most potent influence I’ve absorbed was toappreciate youth, wish for the best, acknowledge the present, and make the dreams of your future attainable.
6.) Robert Capa: As a 1950’s war photojournalist, Capa lived the majority of his adult life on the wild side. The Hungarian born photographer covered wars including the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and World War II all across Europe. As compassionate as he was, while fighting off firearms in the dusk, they ultimately got the better of him in 1954. Many of his works gave description to the horrors of warfare, but also what was left after bloodshed. His most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to be at times, stupidly brave, and magnify, with respect, the unseen.
7.) Mos Def: “You can’t stop my GO!” Introduced to Yasiin Bey (a.k.a Mos Def), in the 2002 film (at age 8), Brown Sugar, I fell for his poetic slur of the tongue that caused you to “tip off of a curb” in sound, combined with his words that followed suit and allowed balance again. I traveled three years back, and came across “Mathematics”, which was a single of his. ? Sixty-nine billion in the last twenty years, spent on national defense but folks still live in fear…? That verse is just a minor bite! His most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to think deep, and after that, think even deeper.
8.) Spanish: Deemed, “el lenguaje del amor” by many, the Spanish language has me gracefully entrapped! The roll of the tongue, tremble of the verse, and the fiery appeal of the language is what I love. My high school electives did not give it justice. Rosetta and I have taken it from there…It’s most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to be cultured, accepting, and bilingual
9.) Quadron: Danish duo Coco O. & Robin Hannibal have been ablaze on my iTunes charts for almost 4 years now. Since their self-entitled debut album Quadron, I have been Slippin’ in my Jeans, with Buster Keaton, my Average Fruit. With their second album, entitled Avalanche, I’ve been LFT in Neverland, dipping in Sea Salt, with my Favorite Star, who I know I would beBetter Off without. Coco’s soothing, cool, soulful vocals interlaced with Robin’s eloquence of manipulated sound elevates music from just a craft, to an experience. The two are something of a circa 60’s/70’s/80’s mash up. Their most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to be airy, be earthy, be creative, and be FUNKY!
10.) Ulyana Sergeenko: Russian couture designer, Ulyana Sergeenko began her fashion career in Fall/Winter 2012. Her flush of Russian influence among her designs, include exaggerated capes, ankle-length flared skirts, an epic runway tale, satin, fur, fur and more FUR! Ulyana conveys a “by the way” gothic elegance within her designs that belongs on the stage it’s now reached—GLOBAL. Harpar’s Bazaar, Elle, NY Times, WWD, Fashion TV and GQ all want a piece. Her most potent influence I’ve absorbed was to take pride of your origins, think “strategically, yet matter-of-factly” of what’s worn, and just OWN it! Keep it coming Red Queen
Who are among YOUR influence? What’s most POTENT within their influence on YOU?