Installation series from ONLI STUDIOS presented at the DuSable Museum in Chicago.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

“It has been said that, “art is the absence of fear”.   Recently I went on a quest to find this quote, by Erykah Badu, on a t-shirt from the Afro Punk website.  While perusing the site for more merchandise that spoke to the culture of art making, I noticed a small window that featured a publication regarding Chicago artist Turtel Onli.  It discussed his contributions to the world of graphic novels and beyond, connecting Onli’s practice to the current movement, which has been coined Afro Futurism by contemporary illustrators.  Since we had been collaborating recently on a series of projects, it was a surprise to encounter Turtel’s story while shopping online.  The publication made me reflect on the impact my colleague has had on contemporary methods of art-making.

The process of illustration merged with a storyline follows an organic, synergistic process that Turtel Onli has cultivated since the 70’s.  A combination of African Centered plots and perfected illustrations makes his graphic novels highly intellectual works of art.  The work visually stimulates audiences while urging reluctant readers to indulge in the adventure.  Process is about action and activity; work flow, concept and consideration. Technology makes it possible for this art form to be accessible for local as well as global communities, collectors, and curators.  Passing along stories- just as the Griots did- puts us in tune with our ancestors.  Rooted in historical context, these graphic novels manifest education through the elevation of a better future.  

As the article stated about ONLI STUDIOS, “We support your dream-not the mainstream”. Which is of the utmost importance to the future of our children as well as their creative spirits.  Turtel Onli’s practice, which predates the movement affectionately named Afro Futurism, merely reminds us that this art form is building a foundation for the next generation of culturally grounded artistic power and prestige. “

Dr. Auburn Ellis

Legendary! "AFROFUTURISM PORTRAITS" is coming. This is a studio portfolio that features faces from the Rhythmic Zone. Due June 2015 from ONLI STUDIOS.

portrait is a paintingphotographsculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. 

Including critical essays, notes and studio insights about the art that is Future-primitif, innovative, intelligent, political, and beautiful. A must have for fans, educators, critics, curators, and collectors.

Onli tends to work from personal visions and something he often calls genetic memories in a future-primitif context. He was a trained professional clinical art therapist and applied aspects of diagnosis, treatment and interpretation to his visual expressive flows. As a graduate student Onli felt some of the theories of Carl Jung were in sync of those expressed by the Renaissance icon, Leonardo DaVinci.
According to Jung, the psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:

( The launch and growth of art movements tend to be compounded, in various proportions, of the original genius of a few genuinely original talents, some few other capable or established practitioners who have been politically or economically co-opted or gone along for the ride, the apprentice work of epigones and wannabes, and a great deal of influential hype. )
  • sensation—perception by means of the sense organs
  • intuition—perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents
  • thinking—function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions
  • feeling—function of subjective estimation

Full Definition of PORTRAIT

:  pictureespecially :  a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face and shoulders.

  1. Origin of PORTRAIT  Middle French, from past participle of portrayer First Known Use: 1570

  2. Synonyms: definition, delineation, depiction, picture, description, portraiture,portrayal, rendering, sketch, vignette
DaVinci often wrote of transmutation as a way to shift the power and impact of one emotional quadrant to another one. In this the impulse for violence can be mutated to fuel the quest for learning or expression. The drain of sorrow could be the foundation to courage or hope. Inspiration can cascade from one time period to another era. Our DNA or better yet, the DNA of the visual artist can provide the references for these portraits. Sort of like seeing the peers within.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Onli created the actual backdrop for this photo-shoot in the pre-digital days of the early 1990.  This misty scarlet Mars-scape scene was painted on a canvas of 8ft by 14ft  at ONLI STUDIOS that was photographed with the Black-interplanetaray models standing on it. The way the future-magic was projected in the pre-Photoshop era.  It was used in a major advertisement campaign with a little notice being served that Afrofuturism was upon the Rhythmistic horizon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do you collect, own, appreciate, curate Rhythmistic or Afrofuturist Visual Fine Art? I often ask folks, "Who is your favorite visual artists?" Why?  Because I want to know, to learn….to see…. 
Fine Art at home!
STARTS 4/20/2015 Blue 1647
7pm FREE, reservations recommended.  Above:  Regina Taylor & Ytasha Womack


Join us for a provocative discussion on Afrofuturism sparked by Regina Taylor’s productionstop.reset.
Sun Ra to Boostsy—Janelle Monae—Samuel R. Delany—Octavia Butler—Basquiat—Renée Cox
Afrofuturism combines historical and science fiction with magic realism. It is used to examine present-day dilemmas of people of color and to reexamine the past while speculating on the future. How does Afrofuturism inform our past, present, and future?
Panelists Include:
Ytasha Womack, Turtel Onli, William Hayashi, Douglas Ewart, Jonathan Woods, D. Denenge Akpem
Monday, April 20 at 7pm
at Blue 1647
1647 S. Blue Island
Chicago, IL
ABOUT stop.reset.
Award-winning actor/playwright/director and Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate Regina Taylor celebrates her 20th season at the theatre with the Chicago premiere of stop. reset. In stop. reset., e-books and digital technologies are transforming the literary world, and Chicago businessman Alex Ames must try to save his long-standing African American book publishing company from extinction. While his employees fret over losing their jobs, Ames finds unlikely inspiration from a mysterious teenager, J., who seems to be plugged into the future. The aging Ames is forced to discover how far he’s willing to go to survive.

Afrofuturism Symposium

Monday, April 20, 2015

"I met with a curator this week end.  He was fresh, very interested and knowledgable.  However he seemed to pause on the fact that my career practice included a variety of styles in fine and commercial art over the decades. Then came the documented fact that Rhythmism predates Afrofuturism as a term and described genre yet shares concepts in distinct areas. Each image below was created by me.

 This happens a lot when folks get a chance to visit me in my studios.  It seems there is still the expectation that visual artists tend to maintain a limited focus and set of influences.
I hope this is the beginning of a trend of curators coming by for a little enlightenment."

Friday, April 17, 2015

"A few lost Rhythmistic moments along the way to being the artist I am today. Circa 1972/1987." The future shows through line, texture and design too.  Not just in tech and science.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ONLI STUDIOS has been located in the exciting Bridgeport Art Center of Chicago since 2010. Near Cellular Field, The home of the Chicago White Sox AL baseball team. ONLI STUDIOS innovated the 3rd Friday open Studios here to set a regular opportunity for art lovers to experience some of the best and most appealing fine art anywhere.
Plus ONLI STUDIOS is open to collectors, curators, critics and scholars by appointment.

Prof. Onli is known for launching the Rhythmistc Fine Art genre that foretold the later style known as Afro-futurism, along with expanding the Graphic Novels' industry with the growing Black Age of Comics movement.  

Both are forces of creativity, culture & commerce.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Visit the virtual Rhythmistic Museum while it last.  This version, created in 2002, will be traveling to a new server soon. An adventure into Art Appreciation.

Monday, April 6, 2015

 In 2005 I was photographed in my lakeside hi-rise live-work space with the new "No Evil Blues" diptych. Later the entire collection would be showcased along with a lecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago's African American Cultural Center. The limited edition studio portfolio book, "No Evils" was introduced. at this event.  This collection explores the Chinese proverb of Hear No, See No and Speak No evil in musings and a growing body of Rhythmistic  visual art.

Below is the "Danse of the 911 Phoenix" acrylic painting. 30"W X 40"H. It explodes the challenge of the United States American dream after the events in New York on 9/11/2001.

Did I say that in 2015 I am still looking for a major gallery to represent my work?  Plus a major museum to showcase it. Rhythmism lives. It breathes life beyond the limits.  It links all that is future-primitif.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Selected Rhythmistic art works for this collection along with 30 of the limited edition studios portfolios will be available. ONLI STUDIOS is a Rhythmistic Visual Art driven enterprise. Fine art such as Onli's "No Evils" collection is a limited edition of originals that attract positive attention from a variety of collectors, curators and critics. Selected artworks from this collection will be featured at ONLI STUDIOS April 17th Open Studios in Chicago. At the Bridgeport Art Center, 3400 South Racine. Studio #3110.
Here is the "Danse of the 911 Phoenix" which was started on 9/12/2001. The other a work in progress named…"No Evil At All."
Limited autographed Studio portfolio books will be offered. Just 30 are made available for a good price to the right collector.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

 EASTER 2015: I recall my childhood horror one Easter Sunday morning when my late Grandfather gave a Sunday School sermon on the Crucifixion. His charts depicted all the dripping blood and sorrow along with scriptures to read along for greater meaning.  The Progressive Pentecostal Sunday school was like that back then at the Pentecostal Mission across the street from the MOOG Coal Yard on 43rd and State street.

Then decades later I reflected on it and applied my Rhythmistic stuff to the story.  Except I still couldn't hang with Jesus being stuck to that cross by giant nails. So "Off The Cross" addresses the liberated intensity of Being Born Again along with the co-crucified "Thief" & "Criminal" before their transition to the Kingdom of God. No nails. Not stuck to those crosses. Free! Clearly I was paying attention that Sunday School.
Reflections on Easter 2015:  
The major belief systems of the World often has inspired the greatest works of visual art.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

 When studying and working in Paris, I was doing Rhythmistic illustrations for MODE Avante Garde Magazine. I was based out of the AIFS office where Annick was a remarkable asset in this challenge. I showed her my work. She named the images "Venus". She thought it reminded her of the Boticelli classic. Not a matter of direct influences but one one reading compositional similarities or mood. Then comes the ravages implied in my Rhythmistic 911 Phoenix contrasted of the serene Euro-classic ' Venus on the Shell'. Both embrace iconic female forms to express passions of a different nature in a fantasy based setting. I tend to work without a model or photo reference…. I wonder wow Boticelli worked.
 The above cluster of images were actually created in 1977 while I lived in Paris and illustrated for the MODE-Avant Garde Magazine.

 This is a detail of the "Danse of the 911 Phoenix". It was started in a promotional event at the former Divine Alchemy Gallery in Saugatuck Michigan, 9-12/2001.  We were set up outside the gallery to create art as the public viewed our process. Based on the events of the day before in New York, I was inspired to envision the fierce rebirth of the American spirit freed of Evil. Over time I have added more luv ala Rhythmism to them.  It is looking for a home in a major permanent collection.