MACON, Ga. — It's Black History Month and the Macon Arts Alliance's newest February show features eight African American artists from right here in Central Georgia.
One of the artists featured is painter Caleb Brown, who has two pieces in the showcase.
Brown began painting in 2015 while at Mercer University. Mercer requires that students have a minor, and Brown says he chose art to fulfill the requirement, but it has now become his full-time job.
He says initially he didn’t like painting.
“Eric O’Dell will tell you I was kind of a brat in the class, 'cause I just didn’t like it. I was always a pencil artist, so the transition to painting wasn’t an easy one at first, but I fell in love with it eventually, and now, I do it for a living,” Brown said.
The pieces he has in the showcase are two large portraits of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“It’s very important to try and preserve moments for me -- you know, help people remember the feeling so when they look at certain people or the subject of the painting, they can go, ‘Oh, my god, I remember how that made me feel,'” he said.
This sentiment plays into the black backgrounds in much of Brown’s work. He says he wants to viewer strip away all non-essential information so that the viewer can focus on the pivotal moments they want to remember in his work.
“I want them to feel that intense passion when you fall in love or something like that. Something like romance, that’s what I really want people to feel when they see it -- to get chills, if at all possible. That’d be a wonderful goal to achieve for me,” Brown said.
He says that Black art is important because it has always been a way for Black people to express themselves and their talents.
“The Black voice, at times, has been stifled throughout history. We haven’t always had a lot of mediums to express how we were feeling or to just express our talents, so art is a way that has been maintained over the years to express ourselves even when we can’t do it with our voice,” Brown said.
His advice for other Black artists is to stay curious and persistent in their art goals.
“Don't quit, like even if you have to take a break, take a break and then come back to it because it's going to be the most important thing when it’s all over is that you expressed yourself honestly and authentically,” Brown said.
You can see more of Brown’s and other Black artists work during gallery hours at the Macon Arts Alliance in downtown Macon. You can also check out more of Brown’s work on his website and on his Instagram.