Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Hank Willis Thomas creates art about the past and present, for the future. On Wednesday, the 16th of November, Cultivist members saw into he future through work featured in his studio.
Thomas' close connection with his long-time collaborators was made especially clear early in the visit. Whether they met through the international In Search of the Truth project or the Question Bridge: Black Males project, the artists who continued working with Thomas have become central figures in his studio practice. This includes artists like Will Sylvester and Helen Boo, who Thomas called upon to lend their perspectives during our visit.
Sylvester and Boo momentarily took the focus off Thomas, fulfilling his wish for expansive conversation as people began chatting and moving freely throughout the large studio.
Thomas conversed with members about topics like news media's role in dictating conversation topics, international sports cultures, marijuana legalization, and even a person's thought process behind choosing their outfit. Conversations relating to the visual and conceptual components of the art on view blossomed as we turned corners and confronted more pieces.
When the lights were shut off, the visit took an unexpected turn for the better. Flashlight-equipped glasses revealed a new element in every wall-bound artwork near the front of the studio. Barely visible images now shimmered under the focused light, evoking excitement during what could very well have been the night's standout moment.
Getting an inside look at the monumental past and current projects of one of our time's most important conceptual artists revealed his focus on creating for the future. Hank Willis Thomas' projects will surely continue to be relevant.