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Artist Studio: Preparing to Move (what to do with old unfinished work?)

A few years ago I decided I wanted to have an artist studio away from the house, a separate space to work, away from distractions of home life ie, kids, husband, tv, etc. It led me on this amazing and unexpected journey which I have been documenting here: www.thehousethatfreedombuilt.com.
However as this part of the journey comes to a close, the space is almost finished and I am beginning to unpack my art supplies and artwork as I prepare to move. It is a very strange feeling unpacking loads of unfinished drawings and paintings, some of which I don't even remember creating. Do I toss them? (blasphemy!), try to finish them? (unlikely), gesso/paint over them and start anew ? (appealing) or just leave them, leave them as records of my artist journey. What are your thoughts on what to do with old unfinished work?

Here are some pictures. I believe they were created between 1998-2002. Some in NY, some in Cuba and some in St. Croix. 







Huffington Post article: "La Vaughn Belle's Contemporary Art Practice of Speaking in Layers" by Jacqueline Bishop

I was recently interviewed by Jacquelin Bishop for the Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt:

Not many people start their art career being mentored by world-renowned artist Tania Bruguera, but La Vaughn Belle has been one of the few lucky individuals to do so. "To understand how I ended up working with Tania," La Vaughn told me in a recent interview, "you have to first understand how I ended up studying in Cuba in the first place." As a junior at Columbia University in New York, Belle realized that she wanted to be an artist, but she was too far into her undergraduate college career to switch majors. She decided, a few years after finishing her undergraduate degree, that if she really wanted to make it as an artist she would have to return home to the Caribbean, where she would have family support to pursue a visual arts career.

Back home in the Virgin Islands she started researching art institutions in the Caribbean and found out about an amazing art pro…

"From Imagination to Freedom: Maroon Strategies in the Visual Arts" presentation

I was invited to participate in a roundtable panel discussion organized by the VICCC (Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center) and SUCCEED (St. Croix Unified for Community, Culture, Environment and Economic Development, Inc). Each presenter was asked to talk from the perspective of their field and work as it relates to the maroons on St. Croix. Other presenters were Dr. George Tyson (historical), Dr. David Goldstein (archeological), Dr. Chenzira Kahina (spiritual), Dr. Olasee Davis (ecological). I was honored to be part of such an event and illustrious panel.  I was asked to give my perspective from the visual arts. Here is an excerpt of the beginning:

From Imagination to Freedom: Maroon Strategies in the Visual Arts presented by La Vaughn Belle September 26, 2014 at the University of the Virgin Islands SUCCEED & VICCC panel discussion on the Maroons of St. Croix
Slide 1:

Slide 2: “Secrecy, cunning, fugitive sensibilities are critical to the success of an artform’s craft.  For art prot…

"Big Art Small Place" written by David Knight, Jr

If you happen to be traveling on Caribbean Airlines or Air Jamaica this month look out for an article I have in the inflight magazine, Caribbean Beat, which is also the region's most widely distributed magazine. Written by St. John writer David Knight and portrait photos taken by Quiana Adams (of Q Studios), it is a nice profile of my work. Here is an excerpt:

Her work makes a strong argument that “small island” art should be as much about deconstruction as it is about decoration. She is fascinated by the things we often take for granted: the cultural artifacts, practices, and locations that make our homes distinct. In this way, Belle’s investigations remain grounded in everyday life in St Croix. But despite a self-professed interest in the provincial, her work fixes its gaze outwards. Informed by a Pan-Caribbean heritage (her parents moved to the Virgin Islands from Barbados and Tobago), an international education in New York City and Cuba, and the multi-layered history…

Art VI Advocates

This weekend Priscilla Hintz Rivera with ART VI Advocates presented two amazing workshops at the Caribbean Musuem Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 12.

My take away quickly on the two workshops.

The Role of the Curator and Recent Shifts in Curatorial Practice presented by Cheryl Hartup
This was quite fascinating as Cheryl gave a historical analysis of the rise of the curator, when this term was first used, what it meant for the art world and how this role is conceived today. It was very interesting and informative.


Arts Marketing Strategies to Get Exposre For Your Work presented by Marta Mabel
Marta works in the Artist Assistance Program at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. She is also an artist herself and this museum and program is dedicated to the development of Puerto Rican artists. It's quite amazing what this program is doing and how it has nurtured the artists and reshaped the art landscape in Puerto Rico. It was a very detailed workshop that addressed issues like how…

"Losing Our Virginity: Contemporary Art of the Virgin Islands", Presentation at the Biennial Music and Arts Conference

The Virgin Islands is an amazing place to make art. We are this small place in the Kincaid sense of a small place, like many islands in the region. We are full of contradictions, insularities and strange obsessions. We are still navigating our "coloniality" in a post-colonial world. We are are in constant negotiation with our shifting identities. I wanted a space to talk the art that has happened in the past 20 years, the contemporary work that often gets misunderstood or neglected. I wanted to put them all together and look at them and think, ok, so what does this say about us as Virgin Islanders, as artists, as people?

So I have been working with this idea for about a year now, "losing our virginity", as a framework in thinking about contemporary art in the Virgin Islands. Slowly, inactively and used this conference at the University of the Virgin Islands as an opportunity to finally concretize these thoughts on paper.

Here is a an excerpt of this essay/slide pr…