Discipline: Visual Art – mixed media

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris

Discipline: Visual Art – mixed media
Region: Iowa City, IA
MacDowell fellowships: 2016

With myself and my communities as subject, I use painting, video, photography, music, performance, installation, project-based art, context art, confession, the internet, and institutional critique to explore the internal drives and external influences that shape identity. My practice critiques the invisibility of blackness in cultural forms built upon the appropriation of popular and sacred black expressions and idioms. Although I was a "creative child" I came to art through my tumultuous experience of trying to "make it" in Los Angeles as a vulnerable teenage girl on my own. I explored the roles of rapper, video hoe, certified audio engineer, certified massage therapist, phone sex operator, stripper, prostitute, a sexually exploited, uneducated woman, porn star, occasional drug dealer, barista, customer service call center agent, professor, and art star, which now all inform my art and social practice. In addition to making my own music and music videos, full of tongue-in-cheek hip-hop posturing and works about my identity as an artist and a mixed-race woman of color, I sample and mix materials liberally in my practice as well. These range from paintings on found fabrics from all over the world and used bed sheets salvaged from Mississippi Gulf Coast neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, to photographs of myself exercising and exorcising stereotypes of race, gender, and class to visceral performances centered upon the act of licking, f*cking, crying, and mimicking. In my work, as in life, I constantly re-invent myself. I engage issues in music, art, academia, sexual exploitation, and street-life, all of which I have been a subject, actor, and agent. Laying bare the race to mythical perfection, my work throws into relief how exploitation is built into these systems, in particular for a folks of color, the other, women, and queer communities. The fragmentation is somehow liberating and inviting as I approach and examine meta-self-improvement, success and self care.



T.J. Dedeaux-Norris worked in the Alexander studio.

Originally designed to be a visual art gallery, this facility was built in memory of the late John White Alexander and funded by Elizabeth Alexander and their son James. John White Alexander is highly regarded as a portrait painter and, in the early part of the 20th century, served on…

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