B.A.G.: DC.

B.A.G.: DC.
Photo by Jim Smoote: B.A.G. at the 1972 National Conference of Artistis Convention & Howard University, DC. Entering the Awards Ceremony Dinner in full B.A.G. future-primitif effect. With a little Robert E. Paige Dakkabar thrown in. L to R: Kennth Hunter, (Photographer Roy Lewis). Espi Frazier & B.A.G. Founder Turtel Onli..B.A.G. was the most prolific Artists Guild of the 1970s.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

 Funny as it goes. Onli was asked to do an illustration of Sun Ra.  Not that Onli ever thought a lot about Mr. Sun Ra's works over the years. If fact Onli felt that compared to the musical works of his former spiritual advisor, Turiya......y'all know her as Alice Coltrane.....that Mr. Ra was very over-rated and a bit of a crude cult leader. He was good friends with a member of Ra's band.  

Talk about stories! But those will wait for Onli's interview with the National Enquirer! 

 But a gig is a gig. And Onli is still a professional illustrator.  Sort of like being a serious session musician.  Have gig will rock!  It will be published in the coming print and web editions of Roctober.

Considering that when Onli was 21 he illustrated an album cover freely applying his early future-primitif Rhythmistic flair..... for two of Ra's more serious contemporaries and musical competitors..Anthony Braxton & Joseph Jarman...entitled "Together Alone" on Delmark Records...this may be a step done way too late to be of importance.  But then...its a gig!



Friday, October 9, 2020

 October has been declared "Black Fine Art Month"  That is spectacular and amazing.  Eventful to set up a month to celebrate and embrace the works of various Black Artists.  Amazing that it omits so many.  As shown when the powerful works and enduring legacy of B.A.G. members and more so the founder of The Black Arts Guild plus the creator of the growing Black Age of Comics, (which aided in setting the table for Marvel & Disney to produce its Black characters and creators), is over-looked. Totally!  


2020 is the 50th anniversary of the launch of B.A.G.  The Black Arts Guild was self sustaining and lasted until 1978.  It spawned careers and innovated genres.....yet is so seriously marginalized in so called Black Art Circles.

The designated mainstream Black Curators such as Naomi Beckwith of the Museum of Contemporary Art or the Los Angeles Art Expo based Hamza Walker....and even Theaster Gates who hosts an annual Black Artists Retreat....and many more...all seem to exclude the B.A.G. alumni and phenomenon.

Well!  Prof. Turtel Onli M.A.A.T. typically says, "When they exclude you they confirm your exclusiveness!"  Followed by, "How Black was all of this in 1970?"

Friday, October 2, 2020

 Oct. 2nd


This month is being declared the 2nd Annual Black Fine Art Month.  

Its theme centers around the works of Black Female Artists.  Plus its founders are pushing their taste as Queen-makers in the visual arts.  It tends to be another way to limit the positive recognition of Black People as a whole.  It denies the overarching connections of all Black genders in the visual arts and more.  But then the power brokers here are Black Women with a certain agenda.

From its founding through its amazing legacy B.A.G. , The Black Arts Guild, was founded with female and male members and equally supported and honored the incredible work of all genders.  Not one over the other. Nor looking to marginalize anyone's expressions or market potential. 

Little wonder why no members of B.A.G. were included in this annual celebration of Black Art.


Aren't you glad this blog exist?

Friday, September 11, 2020

 Onli is nearing the end of his Summer Flex Residency at the vital Hyde Park Art Center.  Here Onli has pivoted away from his 5 decades of experimenting with Rhythmism and all of its future-primitif assets in fine and commercial art. Often with intense oversight. 

 Now he enters the affirmed phase in the vintage masterful stage of his career artistic practices.


When has the Visual Artiste ever named a genre of classification of an art movement?

Onli has named two. "Rhythmism".  "Then the Black Age of Comics".  Both being bold genius level acts of self determination in the face of tremendous orthodoxy. This was like telling parent you will be naming yourself. Usually critics, historians or the art-world press names the genre.  They rule the labeling and the status.  And of course we know that if a Black man names it others will not embrace it.  Hmmmm?

Who named the current trend of "Afrofuturism"?  Not to mention, "Post Black"?  Were these terms acts of self-branding or accepted celebrations of being anointed by the rulers and branding mechanisms of the lamestream?


 In Onli we have something rare....almost unique.  An intelligent visual artist who in his late teens decided on two pathways to visual arts practices. No mentor. No patron.  Just Onli.  With the help of a few amazing artists and visual explores along the way.  He put his money and other resources where his practice and concepts were.  

Onli has influenced thousands through his years of teaching. therapizing, publishing and exhibiting his Rhythmistic explorations.  His acolytes abound.  Thought nameless to most...clearly apparent in style and practices.  Denial on this grand scale is like the powerful river in Egypt.

 Now we have Rhythmism and its manifest of the future-primitif pathways to artistic expression.


Above is an Onli Rhythmistic design treatment for a published textbook for Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
In this assignment he worked with the marketing team. art direction along with a grpahic designer.  Rhythmism ruled the day.  What a triumph for Rhythmism's commercial potential.

Below a recent Residency image and a review of one of his dynamic experimental solo Rhythmistic Fine Art exhibition.  It is of note that the Black nor the mainstream artworld came to witness the full power and impact of this work.  They were invited. 


 But this shared filter of orthodoxy seems to control them as they avoid the self determination expressions of this brilliant, educated, prolific openly-hetero Black male artiste. All to their lost and that of true lovers of dynamic visual art that is not based on the branding and censoring politics of a select few.

RHYTHMISM Lives!  


There is no force like an idea whose time has come!

  What time it is??! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


 The above illustration was done by Turtel and the one below was started by Kenneth then evolved into a visual jam-session with other B.A.G. members adding.  Both were to satirize B.A.G. members
in a playful manner.  Circa 1973