Our Black History Month collection continues with Curls by Malik Roberts, the artist’s first edition with 1xRUN. Drawing inspiration from Richard Prince and René Magritte, Roberts’ figurative artwork is deeply introspective, using abstract forms and cool colors to contemplate mental illness, gender fluidity, and racism as they pertain to the black experience. Read below for our exclusive interview with the artist.
1xRUN: Can you tell us a little bit about the piece, and what’s happening in this scene?Is there anything you would like to highlight about this image?
Malik Roberts: It’s an image of a guy who just finished getting his hair curled, feeling good about himself.
1x: How did the idea and execution come about for this image?
Roberts: I wanted the subject to have the posture of one of those old presidential portraits, like George Washington or something like that.
1x: Why is it important for people to see this image on a stamp?
Roberts: Because I believe the conversation about Black hair and what is deemed acceptable is important.
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Roberts: I don’t know, maybe the lavender-ish background color.
1x: If you could have dinner with any African American from past or present who would it be and why?
Roberts: James Baldwin, probably. I just love watching his interviews and hearing his perspective on things.
1x: How did you first get into art?
Roberts: I could always draw since I was a kid. My father’s side of the family could draw as well, naturally, so my father and uncle would kind of put me through little tests to get me better. By the time I was in 4th grade, I was getting pulled out of class to help paint the sets for school plays. So yeah, once I seen perks like that, I knew what I wanted to do.
1x: Did your family approve of you becoming a full time artist?
Roberts: Not at first. Naturally they wanted me to go to college or something like that. But luckily I have parents that believe in me if I believe enough, and show that I’m working at it. It took some time but they’re happy for how things are going.
1x: What would you consider a dream collaboration?
Roberts: Jay-Z and Louis Vuitton.
1x:What artists inspire you now?
Roberts: I’m mostly inspired by friends who are artists like Vernon O’Meally, Melvin “Grave” Guzman, Zeehan Wazed, and Corey Wash. Other than that, I’ve been looking at a lot of renaissance artwork.
1x: Any big shows or events coming up thatyou’d like to share?
Roberts: Yes, I have my third solo show coming up on March 12th at Allouche Gallery in NYC.
Follow Malik on Instagram at @malik.roberts.art.