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“The reason why people don't know how to navigate through [identity] is rooted in misunderstanding and lack of knowledge.” 

 

I approach my art with those things in mind. It's a chance to educate people—to make people smile—to pull emotions out of them.

 

All of my paintings are my own stories or my own feelings…I'm really just being Kyng Rodes. It’s second nature…this is instinctive for me. 

 

I've been an artist since I was three years old. I got into some of my mother's cosmetic products and began to draw all over furniture and the walls. She noticed that my art was better than what a three-year-old is expected to create.

 

While creating, I work from a human perspective. What colors trigger me? What images hold my attention the longest? What pulls emotion out of me?  I feel like that will translate to other people. Some of my newer works are infused with Caribbean culture, as 

I'm Barbadian and Nigerian..I always correct people when they identify me as ‘black.’ I'm Nigerian American. No one's skin color is black.

 

The phrase “put yourself in another person's shoes” is often thrown around extremely loosely, because I doubt anyone ever takes the time to actually do so. At [its] core...what you are seeing manifested through my art, through my interactions with people, is as simple as ‘[treating] people how you would like to be treated’. 

 

Art can be taught as a skill, whereas creativity is something that you can’t teach. It’s something that you must find within yourself. Art is about you manifesting your creativity… [It is] one of the only things where no one can tell you what to do… it’s an expression of yourself. 

 

I believe that all human beings are [worthy of affirmation]. Unity and selflessness are two things [society lacks]...just simply giving grace to be patient and to understand people…we aren’t perfect. We all have things that we have to work on; they're just different things. Pain brings about a lot of progress within people. When you're happy, that is a moment you don't want to leave…you just want to enjoy it. But when you're in pain, it's a moment you want to get out of and so we go searching for ways to cope with it.

 

When people throw negativity my way, I refuse to fight fire with fire. Believe it or not, a lot of paintings come out of that. I take those bad couple of seconds…and paint…sometimes you have to go through the uncomfortableness. Without those situations, we don’t learn and we don’t get stronger. 

 

– Nathaniel Kyng Rhodes