Shortly after I moved to Charleston, the City Paper ran an article on Colin Quashie, a local artist who was painting a massive Civil Rights-inspired mural at a UNC campus. I read about OJ Simpson coloring books and Auntie Jemimah Oprah while copy-editing the issue and I’ve been obsessed with Quashie ever since. He’s basically the reason I started blogging again, because I wanted the few people I know who give a shit about me having a blog to see what this guy does.
Quashie is an amazing artist who can basically do anything, and when he does, he’s making a statement about race. He does remarkable graphic design stuff, realistic portraits, and even created a “plantation” version of Monopoly for his newest local exhibition. There is no one else making art like him in Charleston. We get a decent amount of attention for our (albeit small) art scene, and there are some talented people among us, but no one is doing what Colin Quashie does, with a message that is so strong and obvious and effective. In the past, he also wrote for MadTV and won an Emmy. Nowadays, he works maintenance to pay his bills.
What’s even more remarkable is that you don’t ever see his work displayed in Charleston. His last solo show here was in 2005. And he rarely sells his work or accepts commissions.
I have no doubt that he is the smartest, most talented working artist living in this city. When I found out that he’d be opening exhibition here, I volunteered to write the story months in advance. I got to spend an hour talking to him in his studio and then gushed about him for 4,200 words. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever written and favorite things I’ve ever done. I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to talk to someone who I’m so in awe of.
And we went to the same college.
On another note, I have entered into my office pool for Mega Millions (with about 20 people). It has been stipulated that if we win, we are not allowed to quit our jobs for six months.