Diovadiova Chrome

Diovadiova Chrome Kip XII (Double Shadow Self-Portrait), Oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kitty Cash XIII, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Red Karyn I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Trinity, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 186 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Tribunal, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 156.5 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Michelle III, Oil on canvas, 74 x 96 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kip I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Karyn I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Kesha, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches 

2 Chainz, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches 

 

Diovadiova Chrome Diana IV, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Joyce III, Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches 

 

Diovadiova Chrome Diana III, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inchess 

 

Diovadiova Chrome Karyn V, Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kitty Cash IV, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Tia I, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Karyn III, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Janderie I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Joyce II, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

 

Portraits of Times Square

Diovadiova Chrome Triumph, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 156.5 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kip VI, Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches

Diovadiova Chrome Kip VI (A Times Square Self Portrait)

Early artists used mirrors to paint self-portraits. For this self-portrait, I used my face as a mirror. I made a mold of my face to make a chrome sculpture and photographed it in Times Square.

During a rare sunny April morning, I mounted my sculpture against an orange panel. I arranged it near a neon American flag landmark and timed the photographs to capture a billboard that changed every few seconds. At the same time, I posed so that my face and various buildings would appear throughout the reflective sculpture. Several bystanders, including native New Yorkers and tourists, interrupted to see what I was doing or to help. I had the optimum composition with perfect daylight but construction workers began to barricade the flag with a protective covering. It just so happened that they were preparing for a summer long renovation project. Despite all the challenges, I managed to get a photograph that connected the environment and myself.

This was not the first time I created a portrait in Times Square. A few years ago, I painted Diovadiova Kitty Cash V as a tribute to New York City. I always knew that the portrait would somehow exhibit in Times Square. Through a serendipitous series of events, Viacom, whose corporate offices are in the middle of Times Square, exhibited and acquired the portrait.

My current self-portrait continues to capture the energy of Times Square, but expands the focus and scale to reveal a portrait about the United States. Within the main portrait, my face is placed between political and commercial symbols. My goal was to position my art in the historical canon of self-portraits while holding a mirror up to society.  

Kip Omolade

Diovadiova Chrome Kitty Cash V, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Diovadiova Chrome Kitty Cash V (A Times Square Portrait)

Ever since I was a teenager in the 80’s, I wanted to use art to capture the energy of The Big Apple. My friends and I would usually go to “The Deuce” (42nd Street, Manhattan) to play arcade games or watch Kung Fu movies or just hang out. We would trek from Brooklyn on the D train to get there. Once we arrived, there was always something exciting about the lights, sounds and scale of Times Square.

The subject of my oil painting is DJ Kitty Cash, who like me, hails from Brooklyn. I made a chrome mold of her face and used it as a reference for the painting. On a cold winter day, I stood atop the TKTS Red Stairs on Broadway and essentially took an elaborate selfie. I spent the day photographing her mask against a bright yellow panel from different vantage points. Each time I took a series of pictures, I would take a break to warm my numb fingers from the 10-degree weather. After a long day, I was ready to leave with what I thought was enough reference shots for the painting. However, just as I was descending the Red Stairs, the sun began to shine perfectly through the buildings. I started to photograph quickly while taking off my hat, which encumbered my view. As soon as I took the shot, I knew it was the one.

A single photograph captured what I was looking for all day. The light gave the face an expression of peace and innocence but also defiance. The skyscrapers became exaggerated hopeful eyebrows. The over-the-top eyelashes embodied the drama and glamour of a Broadway musical. Elongated Times Square billboards of “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” stretched along Kitty’s facial features. Within the mask, reflections of my face, along with other details, were duplicated and distorted in a funhouse mirror effect. The portrait developed into a cityscape that was alive with psychedelic swirling shapes.

My painting of Kitty Cash is a self-portrait that represents Times Square itself as a portrait. It is my tribute to the tenacity, creativity and ever-changing face of New York City. Piet Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” are other dedications with distinct perspectives. Diovadiova Chrome Kitty Cash V reflects my experiences and fulfills a promise to honor the greatest city in the world.

Kip Omolade  

 

Red Stare, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Luxury Graffiti Self-Portrait (COVID-19), Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Luxury Graffiti

Luxury Graffiti Kelley II, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Luxury Graffiti

In New York City during the 80’s, my tag was “Kace”. I would mostly “get up” in Brooklyn (Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy) and in graffiti black books which would travel from borough to borough. I went to Tilden High School which was the most violent school in NYC at the time. Academically I was failing miserably, and my single mother gave me an ultimatum: either quit school and get a job or go to City-As-School in Manhattan. City-As was an alternative school where students would earn their high school diplomas by enrolling in in-house classes, college courses and various internships around the city.

I interned at Marvel Comics, The Center for African Art, Planned Parenthood and other NYC institutions. Incidently, Basquiat attended the school a couple of years prior to my enrollment. City-As opened up my eyes to so many opportunities not available in Brooklyn. One time across the street from school, Run DMC came to shoot a video for PBS’s Reading Rainbow. I was able to get their autographs on my portfolio cover.

Throughout the 90’s, I never stopped tagging. Even when I was painting from life, I was still tagging here and there on random spaces, Years later I even produced a real life Kace. When my first-born twin son was born, I named him “Kace”. As part of my Diovadiova Chrome Avoid a Void series, I made chrome sculptures of he and my other children’s faces. The works were then used as references for a 10 x 13-foot oil painting.

Now in 2020, I’ve returned to my graffiti roots. My Luxury Graffiti oil paintings re-present photographs of my chrome sculptures against backgrounds of Kace tags. The tags are cropped and enlarged to convey how we zoom in on images on our computers and smart phones. There is also references to the “bombed” NYC subway of the 80’s, traditional oil portraiture, Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism but mostly it’s about legacy. 

Kip Omolade, February 5, 2020  

Luxury Graffiti Kace I, Oil, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

Luxury Graffiti Kent I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

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