These are the two images I saw on Tumblr that stopped me in my tracks. When I discovered the other works executed by Patience Lekien, I knew I had to find out what made him tick. (His background stories about his pieces alone made me want to know more!) He’s become one of my favorite artists that I’ve (happily) stumbled upon, and hopefully he’ll become one of yours, too!
THE JUNQUI: Can you remember when you first started sketching/drawing? How/when did you figure out it was something you wanted to develop?
PATIENCE LEKIEN: I started drawing around 4. I remember I didn’t have many toys growing up, only a few that were dear to me. But it seemed I had an endless supply of paper and so I would just draw what I saw or what came to mind. My parents fueled my creativity by giving me supplies growing up. I didn’t make a conscious decision to develop my drawing skills. They kind of just manifested as I grew up because it was something I loved to do and it helped me escape from reality and create a world of my own, with characters, stories, and so on. I didn’t start taking art seriously until about two and a half years ago.
THE JUNQUI: I got so excited when I saw your “Grown Up Proud Family” work. Please tell me that you are involved in a future project!
PATIENCE LEKIEN: Yeah, I plan on creating more Proud Family pieces in the future. I’ve been working on part 2 of the graduation scene as well as other character scnes but it’s all been halted due to my internship and the time it takes. I’ll hopefully be back at it in a month or so. I don’t know where the project will take me, but I’m just glad people have taken a liking to it.
TJ: What pieces would you say get the most comments/questions/inquiries from other people?
PL: Definitely the Proud Family pieces. Mainly because the Proud Family itself is very known and is dear to many people’s hearts. We grew up with it, you know? One of the few black cartoons I had growing up.
(BACKGROUND: After Penny and friends graduated from high school, they celebrated by getting piercings together. Penny, Dijonay, and LaCienega all got stud nose rings. Zoey decided to finally break out of her shell and make a bold statement by getting a septum nose ring. Sticky wasn’t about that life, so he just got his ears pierced. Four years after graduation we catch up with Penny and friends once again.
Zoey graduated from a four year college and received a double major in Psychology and Women Studies. She now travels around the world working for a large nonprofit organization helping underprivileged children and women around the world. She is extremely free spirited and loves what she does.
Penny graduated from a four year college studying Communications with a minor in Race Studies, and graduated Magna Cum Laude of her class. She is now working towards her Masters in Education at Columbia. She also stopped relaxing her hair and went all natural, embracing her naps.
Sticky decided not to go to college and instead pursued his love of music. He is now a full-time producer and DJ and couldn’t be happier. He finally had his growth spurt and can finally fit into his pants. He now prefers to wear clothes that fit him. He has a newborn son whom he loves more than anything: Sticky Jr.
Dijonay went to a two year college to study nursing only to find out she hated it. She decided to drop out of the program. She took her side job of doing hair and made a career out of it, opening up her own salon. She is well known at what she does and it has brought her much fame. Upon dropping out, she also gave birth to her son, Sticky Jr. Her dream finally came true.
LaCienega attended a four year college for two years as undeclared, just because she had the money and the means. During the beginning of her junior year, she was told she had to choose a major. Indecisive, she decided to drop out and do something worth her time. She went into the modeling business and was extremely successful. She is currently working on dropping her first single.)
TJ: What are YOUR favorite pieces and why?
PL: My number one favorite piece is probably “One Blood”. It’s just very powerful, both visually and emotionally. It focuses on unity within the black race. Every aspect of it was very personal to me while making it.
(BACKGROUND: This piece stemmed from a moment when I was on twitter and saw “#teamlightskin” and “#teamredbone” and for some reasons thoughts just came into my head and it all lead into this.
In this illustration there is a slave mother, holding her dead child. The child was born half white, half black, but because he had black features and very few white features, the father wanted nothing to do with him. The father often took out his anger on the child, and one day, he went too far. The mother is holding the child tight in her arms praying her son can be brought back to life. The blood symbolizes the unity between the two. They share the same blood.
The meaning behind this is to stop all the bullshit with blacks taking sides with skin color. We’re the same people, having gone, and going through the same struggle and we have to hold each other close and keep each other alive.)
TJ: I saw multiple pieces on LEVIATHAN, & I fell in love…I want to read that story! Is that a comic/Manga that you are developing and turning into a physical book?
PL: Yeah, I’ve been working on the first graphic novel here and there for the past two years. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be out anytime soon. But there will be a website launch that will have a basic overview of the story and the characters. It’s probably the project I’m most excited about because it focuses on many different types of struggles people face and these struggles are told through the many diverse characters in the story.
…also, LEVIATHAN becomes part of a larger universe (something like Marvel Universe or DC, but less tights and body suits, lol) with many different characters by different artists, and the joint project is called NOIR. But in the meantime, I’ll still be creating art to accompany the story!
TJ: What’s the story behind Hop Hop League Of Heroes, because I thought that was too dope!
(BACKGROUND: From L to R: 2CHAINZ: weapon of choice, his two large gold chains, are used to grab far away opponents or objects. The chains are coated with an aura that can turn into intense fire, burning and disintegrating anything it touches in seconds; NICKI MINAJ: able to take the form of other human beings by shapeshifting, by simply touching them. She is also a master of disguise; J COLE: can freeze anything he touches and he can manipulate ice and lower surrounding temperatures at will; WIZ KHALIFA: Holds the ability to set little things on fire. He can also make his opponents hallucinate by affecting their psychological being.)
PL: That started as a fun piece. At first, I didn’t plan on going far with it, but it’s been liked a lot, so that’s changed. I actually restarted the whole project and restructured it, so I can have more freedom in the designs of the music artists I choose. As for the story behind it, you’ll have to wait and see. I’m releasing the new and improved designs pretty soon… :)
TJ: Do you need to get into a certain element before you start a piece? (Certain kind of music, environment, food, tons of coffee? Lol)
“Hey! Arnold: What If?”
“David VS. Goliath (Pikachu VS. Charizard)”
PL: Nah. All I need is pencil, paper, and an idea, and I’m good to go. Most of my ideas begin on paper, until I execute it in Photoshop, Illustrator, or what have you. The hardest part is getting the idea, or motivation. Once I have that, the wheels just start turning.
TJ: What do you ultimately want others to feel when they view your work?
“Black In America”
PL: It honestly depends on the piece. One of the strongest and most reoccurring themes in my art is empowerment. As a black male, I recognize my oppression based on my race, but I also recognize my privilege based on my gender. These often come into play in my art. I like to focus on themes such as black empowerment, female empowerment, social inequalities, and so on. I guess ultimately, I want people to be able to see that through my work.
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