In this post-modern era, Colin Quashie’s highly charged political art may be called “conceptual”. Artistically and aesthetically, much of his art is closely allied to the ideals of the pop-art movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, but the subject matter is radically different from that explored in the earlier genre.
Quashie’s art faces off against hard issues of culture, politics and race with a self-conscious awareness that often offends (or disturbs) black, white and other; he discriminates with equality and equanimity. Quashie is equal to the hard questions he raises, but often the issues are camouflaged in pop-culture imagery and a form of Warholesque flashiness that confounds as well as derides the spectator.
Operating in the tradition of the French avant-garde artists, Quashie challenges the status quo mentality and functioning on frustration with the vision of the masses; a vision that he hopes to help shape and determine by raising questions that the audience might prefer to avoid. His work encompasses a conceptual element which shapes its meaning and underscores the use of art as didactic tools for society. Through the use of ‘positive’ social anger, Quashie uses his art to scrutinize the power bases of our social system, forcing us to examine our collective political perceptions. His point of view makes its mark by challenging us to be more thoughtful, expressive and more aware. With blatant disregard for compromise, he confronts our favorite beliefs, and forces us to think about the roles we occupy in society. Recurrently controversial, his art, “…is as current as yesterday’s headlines, bold and brash like rap music…the equivalent of a three second sound byte; quick, easy and to the point.”
Quashie was born in London, England (1963) and raised in the West Indies. At age six, his parents immigrated to the States and settled in Daytona Beach. The artist briefly attended the University of Florida on a full academic scholarship, but felt ill at ease in academia and left, eventually joining the Navy as a submarine Sonarman. It was there that his lifelong love for art re-emerged. After his discharge in 1987, he made the decision to pursue an art career. Showing steady growth, his art career ended abruptly in 1995 after an exhibition was censored.
Frustrated with the art world, he abandoned art, moved West and landed a job as a comedy sketch writer on Mad-Tv. His love for art re-emerged two years later and since then, in between writing gigs (he has written for 6 comedy series, associate produced an independent feature film and in 2001 received an Emmy award for documentary writing), he continues to produce his unique brand of art. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina where he paints while developing work for television and freelancing as a graphic artist. Quashie’s latest work was shown at Satellite Art Show with The Southern in South Beach Miami, Dec 1 - 4, 2016.