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Beyond The Canvas: Atlanta Artist Fahamu Pecou is honored for his original works

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 7/12/2013, 12:47 p.m.
Fahamu Pecou is also influenced by traditional artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barkley Hendricks, and Andy Warhol, who all play with expectations in very witty ways that challenge conventions.

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"Ambitions of a Rider" (Hard 2 Death: Second Childhood)

Fahamu Pecou’s canvas is ever changing. His palette is a satirical blend of colors, sounds, and words. And this week, his artistic expressions have earned him a distinguished place.

On July 9, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia announced E.K. Huckaby, Scott Ingram, and Pecou as the 16th, 17th, and 18th artists selected for the 2013-14 Working Artists Project.

Each Georgia artist will receive a $12,000 stipend and a studio assistant to support the creation of an exhibition at MOCA GA over the next year. Along with an accompanying catalog, a work from each exhibit will be added to Buckhead’s museum permanent collection.

“This award will actually free me up to experiment on a much deeper level, which is really exciting,” Pecou said. “I’ve been in the process of developing a mobile app that brings together my artwork, music, music videos, and a corresponding blog about black masculinity and Hip Hop.”

The concept is to create an interactive experience for viewers, so each painting has a CUE Art code hanging next to it. You scan the code with your mobile device and download the audio, as you’re interacting with the painting.

The app is scheduled to come out later this month.

Guest juror Franklin Sirmans, who is the contemporary art curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, selected this year’s honorees, which included Pecou.

“Overall, I’m really interested in how he’s using other visual devices and designs,” Sirmans said. “I really admire the way that he takes into account how we view things in the world.”

MOCA GA, with funding from the Atlanta-based Charles Loridans Foundation, launched the WAP in 2007, in order to address the countless visual artists leaving Atlanta in search of better opportunities and support.

Currently, Pecou is enrolled at Emory University as a doctoral student, with a dissertation focused on black masculinity in popular culture and how these images impact both the reading and performance of black masculinity and identity.

His dissertation comes alive through his works like “Hard 2 Death: Second Childhood," “NEGUS in Paris,” and “Sophisticated Ignorance,” which dance on the fine line between reality and fantasy; truth and parody.

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"They Gave Us Lemons" (Sophisticated Ignorance)

“A lot of what is produced and projected from the mainstream media and through popular culture didn’t necessarily look or function in the way that I did,” Pecou explained. “And I am a black man. I found that to be a really ironic reality.”

Drawing inspiration from Hip Hop music (Kanye West to be specific) Pecou recently released an album “All Dat Glitters Ain’t Goals: the EP,” which artistically vocalizes his social activism.

“I reference [Kanye] a lot in my work,” Pecou said. “I really see what he is trying to express. He’s not afraid to take risks. His creativity is undeniable. And I’d really like to work with him someday.”

Pecou is also influenced by traditional artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barkley Hendricks, and Andy Warhol, who all play with expectations in very witty ways that challenge conventions.

But Pecou really creates art to support his two major inspirations.

“My daughter gave me life,” he said. “And my son gave my life purpose.”

You can find Fahamu Pecou’s work in the “Drawing Inside the Perimeter” exhibit at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, as well as exhibits in Dallas and Houston. He is also online at www.fahamupecouart.com.