Art is an expression of one’s thoughts and experiences immaculately displayed on canvas for the world to experience. Art tells a story challenging narratives and perceptions. Here we have the exceptional creative Carlos Walker, founder of Walkers Gallery. He speaks about his artistic inspirations, views on international black art, and overcoming adversity.
1. How did you discover your talent for drawing/ creating art?
At the age of 8, I was introduced to art through one of my cousins, who drew comic book characters.
2. Do you have any real life experiences that has inspired your artistic creations?
Fortunately, I do; most may not know, but I was incarcerated for 13 years and was released last year. The majority of the art that you have seen has been from the time I spent in prison.
But to answer your question, that whole series came from a vision I believe God gave me. I don’t mean to impede on your thoughts for you that don’t think so, but I was given this. It was an officer that was standing in the middle of the compound with his hands behind his back in mili position (Black officer), and there was a white guy that was cutting grass right in front of him, and the thought came to my mind that this could be a white slave and a Black Slave Master.
3. What are your thoughts on the black art scene worldwide?
I believe we need more people that will take our art seriously. I feel there aren’t enough of us that are seen. Have you looked at Instagram? The Black artist that’s on there is Phenomenal. My work doesn’t compare to some of the talents. I also know that in the next 10-15 years from now, anything that’s created in this era will be valuable that was created by Black hands. We are living in a historical time. So watch out! This is a prophecy being made.
4. How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
This is a question that I believe is easier for the viewers. But to explain…my art give you a different look at American racism. It shows you what people have been through and what we are still going through. It allows white people to see themselves in our shoes and for us to see our struggle from a different perspective. We are a blessed people, and while it sometimes seems like a curse. We are the most revered, and most hated all the same time, and it’s because of our greatness. But my art show past and present, and it allows us to see life—the life of those who haven’t mattered differently.
5. Do you have a favourite art piece?
There are, but I can’t pull them from my mind. So many artists to choose from. Since I can’t come up with a piece to give you, I will tell you one from my art. The one that looks like it could be Pres. Kennedy and his family at a Thanksgiving dinner with the Black Jesus behind them.
6. Outside of your career, what are you passionate about?
I am passionate about Black people. I would like to be able to free all Black people from the things we see and feel. We feel the pain from the past. I am passionate about figuring out a way to help build for our future. I would love to see someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates use my art to address Capitol Hill again about reparations. I’m passionate about us.
7. Can you share an inspirational quote that has served you well in life?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you’re going to go far, go together. I have come to understand that quote more as I grow older. It’s time that we as a people go together because we can change everything. Just review your history. Boycotts were the most tangible thing that we, as a people, have done and made them move in our direction. We have to learn to use those things that worked.
8. What can we expect from you over the next year?
More art and an addition to my most significant project, “Walk a Mile In Our Shoes,” plus I’m putting together a comic book, and I hope to have the book that I have finished in circulation within the next two months called “What If,” that’s based on the “Walk a Mile In Our Shoes” art.
9. Where can we find you online?
You can now buy Carlos Walkers book “What If” on Amazon
All artwork and photos in this interview is courtesy of walkersgallery.net