John Jennings centers his life on provocative questions: How can we show the work of underrepresented artists, especially those who do comics? How can we go beyond the racial stereotypes of traditional comic art to show the rich expression of black artists, past and present? And how can we help UB students see that creating art is a possibility for them, to recognize that “art is everywhere” and acquire what Jennings calls “visual literacy?”
John Jennings is a professor of visual studies at the University at Buffalo.
Since arriving at UB this past fall, Jennings, associate professor of visual studies, has impressed students and colleagues alike with a sparkling resume of interests and accomplishments.
He is at once a nationally recognized cartoonist, designer and graphic novelist. A researcher intent on explaining and “disrupting” black stereotypes in popular media, Jennings disseminates his insights via books, exhibits and lectures that prod people to think about under-recognized voices in American graphic arts.
Laced with humor and satire, these are rich expressions of women, gays and others who may have felt themselves invisible in the larger society, but who nonetheless create powerful images of dissent, or moving depictions of their diverse experiences in America.
Only at one of SUNY’s premier arts campuses would you find a fusion of talent like this! At SUNY Potsdam, home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, the College performed a unique arts experiment to cap off the fall semester.
Bringing together the Crane Symphony Orchestra and Crane Chorus with SUNY Potsdam graduate student Elijah Foulks, also known as Knowle’ge ReignSupreme, who picked up the mic and began to rap as the musicians started improvising to back him up.
Check it out above.
“This collaboration shows just how chameleon-like hip hop can be,” Foulks told the student newspaper, The Racquette. “Even this freestyle had jazz influences and classical influences that combined with my hip hop flow.”
The impromptu performance took place on the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall stage in between back-to-back Candlelight Concerts on Dec. 4, 2011. The project was the brainchild of Director of Marketing Deborah Dudley, who wanted to showcase the arts diversity that makes Potsdam stand out. Videographer Doyle Dean captured the experience. Continue reading →