Thought It Was a Drought
This still-life painting brings together a group of distinct objects, each one drawn from the sophisticated and often geographically-oriented slang heard in rap lyrics. This work is part of the artist’s ongoing Slanguage series, which draws its everyday subjects from the hip-hop lexicon. Each composition creates an index of terminology and materials around a specific theme—a reference to a historical European art style used to depict the transience of life. Chew's still-lifes approach this genre through the lens of Black American culture, reframing a tradition that has excluded Blackness.
Troy Lamarr Chew II is a highly skilled realist painter who explores the reverberations of the African diaspora throughout American culture. His work draws inspiration from both contemporary Black culture and its history, examining the cultural translations of various objects drawn from the hip hop vernacular. Chew’s images include references to Western art historical traditions, reframing their exclusion of blackness.
Recently, he walked us through one day in Los Angeles with him.