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.

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