Search This Blog

Saturday, October 04, 2008

An American Time Line



A time line of black history stretching from 1441 c.e. to the present. In this video, I try to convey, through iconic photos, images, and sound, African American's audacity to have hope; a determination that is implicit in their perpetual struggle to overcome the overwhelming resistance that stands in their way in pursuit and achievement of the American Dream, as expressed in the spirit of Maya Angelou's poem, "Still I Rise", below:

"You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise." --Maya Angelou

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Brief History of AMKA Graphics

In 1969, I founded AMKA Graphics while I was a student at Howard University. In 1970, AMKA Graphics went into partnership with John Smith’s 'Reflections Unlimited'. By then the company had grown to 3 full-time and 4 part-time employees. AMKA (meaning 'to awake' in Swahili) was principally a graphic design company, but drew its income from concert promotions. This partnership was unique in that Reflections Unlimited did the PR work and AMKA Graphics created the advertising--all of which was done in-house. During that time, I had recently bought a coffee table-sized book about the Cuban poster artists of Castro’s Cuba, and read how the best artists were hired to produce posters for the cinema, theatre, health clinics, schools, government programs, etc. I was smitten. I found my calling. Right away, I saw the seductive powers of colorful silkscreen poster art, and its ability to reach and seduce the audience. I felt silk screening was the perfect advertising tool to reach and seduce people through a fine arts medium that would entertain as well as inform. In the summer of 1971, AMKA Graphics moved to a three-storied house on Kalorama Street, in the Adams Morgan area. This became AMKA Graphic’s home for the next two years. While there, I perfected my silk screening techniques in the development of highly designed poster art for concert acts. Many of the posters consisted of a dozen or more color runs, and were so compelling in their visual beauty, my crew and I had to print additional posters to replace the ones that were bound to be stolen. Our means of distribution was my roommate's '68 orange Beetle. We loaded up the front trunk with posters, and as many as six of us would pile inside the car, and head off to every university campus in the Wash., DC metropolitan area, where we slid flyers under dormitory doors, and tacked posters to trees, walls, bus stops, you name it. It was fun, and it was effective. Every concert, show, and event we advertised Sold Out! Some of the 'Acts' AMKA Graphics and Reflections Unlimited promoted were the Chambers Brothers, Nina Simone, Howard University’s 1971 Homecoming’s first “Pre-dawn Concert”, Washington, DC’s First Blues Festival, and numerous other acts. That same year, I got my first real commission to design the logo for the just formed Joint Center for Political Studies, an African American think tank.

Today, 38 years later, AMKA Graphics, now renamed AMKA Graphics Studios, continues to thrive from its location in Baltimore, MD.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sagan's Run



The year is 2087 c.e., and the USS Sagan, named after the famous American Astronomer, Carl Sagan, sets off on her maiden voyage to Alpha Centuri, our closest, neighboring star system.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not Ready for Space Time















As much as a 'futurist' that I am, I'm concerned that the technology that will take us into the 'new frontier' may overtake the ecological enlightenment of human beings, and we carry with us our trashing habits into the pristine, sterile environment of Space.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Baraka House



I designed the "Baraka House" 3 years ago as my 'Dream House'. It's a 45 foot square, four level house (including basement) consisting of 6,090 square feet. Two bedroom suites are on the second floor, and a 15 square foot studio apartment is on the third level. The basic construction materials of the house is concrete, steel, polished granite, and tempered glass. To read more about this house, see my blog Future Tek.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Visitor and His Gift



The Visitor, Renfo Ademeit, is from the Alpha Centauri star system, the nearest star to the Sun, at a distance of 4.4 light years (1 light year is 6 twillion miles). Thusly, it took him roughly 4.4 years (26.4 twillion miles), at light speed, to reach Earth. The first three years of his journey was spent in hyper-suspended animation, to preserve ship's life support systems, and the attendant boredom such a relatively long journey would engender. He travels to Earth with an important message, and a gift that will transform Humankind.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The U. S. National Arboretum, Wash., DC (Slideshow)

The following slideshow is composed of photos I took at the U.S. National Arboretum, in Washington, DC, in 2002. If you haven't visited, do so! You will be amazed that such natural beauty exists within the confines of an urban city.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Symphony of Two

,
In 1984, while on my lunch hour walk, I caught these two young, gifted musicians holding forth a symphony of two on the corner of 19th Street and M Street, NW, in Washington, DC. They were very, very good and demonstrated a promising career in music. I sometimes wonder what became of them, and if they realized their dreams, whether in music, or some other labor of love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

3 Boys



I took this picture in 1975, on a small playground on 16th street, in northwest Washington, DC. I consider it one of my most fondest, and it always brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it. It clearly shows that character development starts early in children.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mandelas: Chakra Series

Chakra 1
Chakra 2
Chakra 3
Chakra 4
The Mandela Series are 12" x 12" each, and printed on Matte Photo Paper. Prints are priced at $45.00 each. To place an order, please contact me at amkag@comcast.net. To see more of my "mandalas", click here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Journey



I wanted to do something in the way of expressing my support, belief, and admiration for Senator Barack Obama and his seeking the Presidency of the United States and, in the process, make history by becoming the nation's first African-American President. After reading his autobiography, "The Audacity of Hope", I came away impressed with his personal journey to "find" himself, being of mixed parentage, and become enlightened as to what his purpose and ultimate responsibility is as a husband, father, and black man living in America. Here is a man who seemed destined, and by design, 'customized' even, to be doing what he is doing now, which is his inherent ability to bridge the gap between black, brown, and white America, and bringing them together. Cynics and doubters questions his experience to lead the nation, yet overlook his proven ability in bringing people together and building consensus--two attributes he inherited from his parents, respectively. These doubters and cynics are blind to the spiritual forces at play. No matter how prevalent they play race against race; that Hispanics won't vote for him, as they did in Virginia, they will do the same in Texas. Why? Because Barack Obama trenscends race for a higher purpose, which is to finally bury the Civil War and all it engendered. His unique gifts equips him to show us how it is done; that as long as we see ourselves as 'victims' and 'victimizers', rather than as a people of a rich, diverse heritage, on a common quest, America will not become a true democracy.

Almost a year ago, few people knew of Barack Obama. Now he is less than a year away of becoming President. Even now it all seems so unreal. Not because half of us doubted a black man could handle the job, but because the other half doubted America would let it happen. But it is happening: a black man becoming President in this eighth year into the New Millennium. Even former President Bill Clinton unwittingly calls it a "fairy tale", but it is real, and it is happening against all our fears, hopes, and desires.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Wilmington Ten

The Wilmington Ten were a group of civil rights activists who spent nearly a decade in jail after being convicted of arson and conspiracy in 1971. The case became an international cause celebre amidst widespread beliefs that the individuals in the case were only guilty of holding dissenting political beliefs. Amnesty International took up the case in 1976 and the convictions were finally overturned on a technicality in 1980. To read more, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_Ten

The "Ten" were:

Benjamin Chavis (age 24) - 34 years
Connie Tindall (age 21) - 31 years
Marvin "Chili" Patrick (age 19) - 29 years
Wayne Moore (age 19) - 29 years
Reginald Epps (age 18) - 28 years
Jerry Jacobs (age 19) - 29 years
James "Bun" McKoy (age 19) - 29 years
Willie Earl Vereen (age 18) - 29 years
William "Joe" Wright, Jr. (age 19) - 29 years
Ann Shepard (age 35) - 15 years

Jimi Hendrix Solo Tote Bag for Sale by Walter Neal

Jimi Hendrix Solo Tote Bag for Sale by Walter Neal