I’ve known Jamel for five years. He was a seasoned poet by the time I met him, and watching him port his stunning poetic talent to painting has been a privilege. Jamel recently hosted a reception to wrap up his three week residency at the Roger Smith Hotel’s Window at 125, where he painted and created in front of the crowds bustling around Grand Central Station for nearly a month. Gallerist Ivy Brown interviewed Jamel in front of an audience of patrons, loved ones, and other supporters, in an exchange that moved me to tears. It was exhilarating to hear him describe how he moved through the fear of creating in front of the public, in a very small and constraining space, after years of working in his spacious Harlem studio. Add fear confrontation to the list of things I have learned from Jamel over the years.
I’ve seen Jamel grow and thrive as an artist and as a human being, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. He does the work and he goes from strength to strength as a result. With so many wannabe “poets” and “artists” in our midst – and particularly thick on the ground online and in NYC – it’s refreshing to see one who takes action. In Jamel’s words: Always be creating.
I love this video with Jamel, which is not recent but is still awesome: