October 2020 Unicorn Of The Month: Jupiter Lockett
This Covid nonsense has really thrown a wrench into my writing practice here. When you add that we are going through a much needed revolution in this country at the same time that old white supremacy is doing everything it can to tighten its grip, it REALLY throws one off their game. A major disruption isn’t entirely a bad thing, like a grain of sand stuck inside an oyster that transforms into pearl. But even though I have a creative outlet that I enjoy, I am still dealing with history that is strenuous. This monthly art feature is something I do to feel good, to feel renewed.
When I post about the work of other artists, I tend to feel less alone. I tend to feel more hopeful and the constant thoughts of " I have completely wasted my life," go from a scream to a faint whisper. I don’t quite remember when I met Jupiter, I think we knew of each other through Instagram before we met in real life. When I saw his work, greats like Basquiat and early Romare Bearden as well late Matisse instantly came to mind. I saw a conviction in Jupiters work that reminded me of The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence. Not so much in the style of Dynamic Cubism that Lawrence used, but in the everyday scenes Jupiter depicts.
When asked about the way he portrays his figures he answered, “I render the people in a childlike way to remind the viewer of the innocence that Black people are robbed of DAILY. Any interaction outside of your house, even going to the store for your Grandmother could be your last.” But much like the work of Lawrence, Jupiter’s work displays the spectrum of the Black experience- an experience that is much richer than the intergenerational trauma that often frames it. Life. Joy. Laughter. Art. Hangovers. Sex. Love. Breakups. It’s all there.
He also has an aura of generosity that is rare. But he does not suffer fools. Nor should his kindness be mistaken for weakness. We recently had a long phone conversation in which we both laughed and talked serious trash about America, the Sacramento Art Scene, politics, and people that suffer from a scarcity mindset.
“My work is created to make the viewer feel comfortable and uneasy at the same time. Focusing on beings who are daily ostracized, while giving light to the humanity of dark skinned people, who originate from Africa. The imagery in my work evokes a reminder, that no matter the form of suppression, beauty and power cannot be taken away, to clearly display the irrefutable humanity of black people.“
Jupiter currently resides Sacramento CA. in and recently returned from residency in France, at Chateau d'Orquevaux. Jupiter is gearing up for his second and third residencies in September 2021, at the Imago Artist Residency in Tsarimir, Bulgaria; as well as the SkopArt Residency in Skopelos, Greece of October 2021. To view more of his work, visit his Website and follow him on Instagram.