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Lloyd Lawrence    

intradiscipline, U.S.A.

born/raised/ Baltimore Md. had an uncle who was self taught. Although he never lived his life as an artist, he helped me to develop my artistic ability. I was very young but I loved cooking as well as art. So my ambitions were torn between baking and art!

Then when I was grown up /about 12 /I decided to be an artist even though I wasn't sure what an artist really was. I survived high school by making sure that I always had an art class each semester. Then was selected for several after school art programmes, one being sponsored by Maryland Institute College of Art. I took these classes very seriously.

Lloyd Lawrence (left) and Kenneth Ray, 2005.
Photo: Mike Relph From an article about the Hush Harbor devotional meetings they organized in New York City.
Read the 28 November 2005 (BWNS) Bahá'í World News Service article

Lloyd send a caption for here.

Eventually participated in the Model Cities Cultural Arts Project during the following three summers, where we were paid to make art we could keep as well as art for public use, such as murals for playgrounds. I enrolled in the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1976. At first I Wanted to make portrait paintings but then I realized that I could never make great portraits because I didn't care about individuality that much. Yet I didn't trust abstract art at all.

I spent my third year in Rome, Italy. It was a completely different environment /good to be away from my own cultural influences and to see the world in a different light/ returned to the USA and graduated two years later/ unconsciously moving towards performance work. I'd pick things up from the street/incorporated them as objects attached to or on my paintings. So, the paintings became more like sculpture/ heavier and heavier.

Then I realized I was interested or more interested in the conversations/human interactions REAL TIME EXPERIENCE- with people on the street than with the process of collecting and object making/paintings.
I owed another student a favor and so I wrote a performance for her right before left Philadelphia. It was called "H2O blues" and contained references to Watergate, and the proverb about the danger of throwing stones while living in a glass house. A woman slowly and seductively dressed in black clothing, ogles/teases the audience like a prostitute in the booth of a peep show. Then at the sound of crashing glass and the scratching of the repeated, phrase "just how blind America" as she fell to the ground. Another person then chalked her outline on the ground, after which the woman got up and walked away. The remainder was just the chalked silhouette on the ground of where she had fallen.

I moved to Seattle to study under Jacob Lawrence at the University of Washington. The sculpture department didn't accept performance work as an art form and so for my first critique with my tutors I sat tied by rope to a chair with 3 chairs positioned in front of me for the three professors. Only the visiting professor saw that I was dealing with institutions, restrictions and power relations and at the time (due to his limited interaction with African Americans) announced his surprise that I was articulate! At the end, one professor asked if he could untie me, to which I said "no", adding that I could untie myself. It seemed then, that at least they were open to my performance work/ a day later I was encourage to leave the school. As the contention mounted, I was denied access to materials and tools, Posters for my performances were torn down then I was physically threatened in my studio one night. The next day The Head of the Department stated, "Things like that don't happen at the University of Washington." Despite this hostility, I continued to make performances. One called the "Trust Walk" was a high profile piece and "Atonal Drawing for Muddy Waters".

Atonal Drawing for Muddy Waters

For the Atonal Drawing for Muddy Waters (Muddy Waters had just died) I'd left signs around inviting people to meet me at 10 pm with a flashlight and a sheet for a mid-night performance. A flash was set off, blinding everyone for about 5 minutes. The individuals, each wearing a sheet, and using their flash light as guide followed me through a park for about 30 minutes and then without warning I left them to themselves.

Atonal Drawing for Muddy Waters

I accompanied my wife, Tavoria to Japan and in 1986 where I made performances in rice fields, dressed in a suit I made out of rice, I planted rice, as an act of shaministic "renewal".

In 1994 we moved to New York city where I did a performance incorporating sign language for Summerstage Central Park and another collaborating with artist Homer Jackson, entitled High Flying where the sneaker was employed as stand-in for Black male masculinity at the institute for contemporary art in Philadelphia Pa.

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