Thursday, November 26, 2009
Last Sunday was a fairly decent autumn day here in New York City, sunny with a light breeze. I found myself enjoying my ipod while taking a stroll through Soho. All of a sudden I am walking down Broome Street approaching Broadway when I see a circle of photographers gathered around the corner in front of a clothing store. I paused my ipod and upon further inspection realized it was paparazzi surrounding someone coming out of a black SUV.
"What's going on?" I wondered, "Who are they shooting?"
I saw a 30ish brunette in jeans walking away from the SUV and into the store. She was holding a toddler. Lights popped, blue-white flashes everywhere. I re-adjusted my eyes to try to figure out who this woman was. I studied her face for a few seconds and then in my head I asked, "is that. . .Katie Holmes?"
The moment Katie entered the store, men with heavy cameras clamored towards the windows like flies to shit. They were intent on getting a clear shot of her shopping.
"Look there she is!" Click! Click! "She's over here!" Click!
Then she went up to the second floor, away from the window view. Fans, tourists, and curious onlookers joined the crowd.
"Whats going on?"
"Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise."
"Whos's in there?"
"Is there a movie star in there?"
"Who is it?"
"Oh. Its just the girl from 'Dawson's Creek'."
"La esposa de Tom Cruise!"
I decided to stick around so that I could document this moment myself. During the down time, the paps joked around and even snapped pictures of each other. They took pictures of buildings and even interesting people covered in tattoos as they walked by the store.
An onlooker with a mullett asked, "So are you gonna follow them around all day?"
One of the paps, a tall caramel colored black man, with a skull cap answered, "Yes ma'am, thats where the moneys at."
Then the mullet asked, "So whose picture is worth more? Katie Holmes or the little girl?"
The pap responded, "If Katie Holmes came out here by herself, and if Suri came out here by herself, the picture of Suri Cruise would be worth waaay more than a picture of Katie Holmes by herself."
As the mullet pondered that thought, surprised shoppers coming out of the store giggled at the wall of paparazzi planted in front of the store's entrance.
After several minutes of waiting. A short guy with olive skin and black curly hair came outside and said "Everything is gonna be ok as long as you clear out this passage and stand BEYOND the car." Everybody stepped back.
Paps pointed their cameras toward the store entrance and got in position.
Pros and amateurs peppered this woman and child with flashes. This woman and child, who looked like people that I might see on the F train in Brooklyn.
They were whisked into the black SUV and driven off to some other destination.
Posted by Dawn Okoro at 5:42 PM
Friday, November 20, 2009
For the past few weeks, my workspace has become somewhat a revolving door, with models coming in and sitting for my current project.
I remember the first time that I decided to have someone pose for me. I bought clothes, wigs, and props, then brought over a makeup artist and photographer. I directed the photographer and the model throughout the shoot in order to create the look I wanted.
In the above photo, I directed a shoot in my studio when I was in Houston. It was wonderful to work with Kendra as a model because she posed so naturally. In this particular shot, she did something with her eyes that made me love the photo.
For my current project, I am behind the camera myself. I am photographing the models with their own clothes and minimal makeup. Some of these photos are more provocative to me, so I am breaking through some social taboos for myself as I create these images.
Sometimes the women who pose for my artwork are friends. Other times they are models that I am referred to by a photographer. Usually, the models come and pose for me that one day and I never see them again. They are working models, artists, students, waitresses, professionals and more. Above all, the models are women who are gracious enough take the time out of their day to pose for me and become a part of this process.
Posted by Dawn Okoro at 3:40 AM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. However, out of fear, I put it off for many years. Now I have gotten to the point where I just really want to get the ball rolling-- all or nothing. This is one of the main reasons that I moved to New York, because I wanted to be in faster pace, more results oriented environment.
In the beginning, I was slightly alarmed when I faced the reality of hardly knowing anyone here in the city. What now? What next? There is no artists' instruction manual.
Fortunately, things are looking better on that end. I attended William Cordova's opening a few weeks ago, and it was nice to see some familiar faces.
One of those familiar faces was Derrick Adams. Derrick, an artist himself, was also the gallery director at Rush Arts for several years. He is a mover and a shaker, and such a wonderful resource to artists here in New York.
It was also great to reconnect with Rose Ojo, an art writer, who I originally met in Houston.
And of course, it was nice catching up with William and seeing his work.
This weekend, I am headed up to Harlem to the RFA Gallery. They are holding a closing reception for Jack H. White, November 20th, from 6-9pm, 2075 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.
Posted by Dawn Okoro at 1:47 PM
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Its amazing how a conversation with another artist can incite so many new ways of thinking. Today this happened when I visited Kenya Robinson's studio.
Her work is influenced by adornment rituals, and her pieces are composed of mass consumer products. She is currently a resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and blogs about her experience here: kenyaworkspace.blogspot.com
Check out her live performance piece with Rashaad Newsome, "Universal Access" at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, November 12th at 4:30 pm, 540 W 21st St. New York, NY 10011.
Posted by Dawn Okoro at 1:40 AM