Updated: Mar 28, 2020
Band of Vices is an art gallery based in the West Adams Arts District of Los Angeles. They serve as “a platform for emerging, mid-career & established Contemporary artists that matter.”
This past Wednesday, Band of Vices founder Terrell Tilford, overcame the setbacks of the COVID-19 and took to the live stream to introduce the work of two phenomenal young black female artists, Grace Lynn Hanes and Yo Yo Lander.
Terrell Tilford, of the Tilford Art Group and founder of Band of Vices, opened the live stream with warm love and thank you’s to all who tuned in. He kicked off the stream by sharing some comforting words about the critical role that art plays in society—reminding us all how art and literature are two things that keep civilizations alive in spirit long after the physical people and the places have perished.
“When we look back through civilizations, the things that outlast us are our books and our art. Civilizations can be destroyed, but the art and the books outlive it all.” - Terrell Tilford
As we face these uncertain days that can feel a bit apocalyptic at times, his words were like a rallying cry for artists everywhere to create—knowing that what we create, what we write, what we put out into the world will outlive us all.
Following that inspiring opening, he proceeded to give us a full view of the gallery, then walk us through for an up-close look at each art piece on display, starting with Grace Lynne Haynes’ solo exhibition, Shades of Summer.
The Artists & The Art
Shades of Summer
Grace Lynne Haynes, an inaugural member of Kehinde Wiley’s Black Rock Senegal residency, is included in the 2020 edition of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Art & Style. Her first Los Angeles solo exhibition is in March of 2020 at the Band of Vices Gallery, and she will follow it up with a solo exhibition at Luce Gallery in Italy this October.
The variety of bright colors and textures exhibit a playful femininity that embodies the various layers that exist within the black woman. She crafts a sense of place, both visually and emotionally, in her work. Her work is a cultural commentary addressing the complexities of our perspective on black femininity.
This piece, in particular, caused the hearts to go crazy on IG live. In it, the woman is sitting or possibly dancing. I’m choose dancing because the sweater is painted to appear so light and feathered that the essence of freedom radiates through the piece. A freedom that allows you to move effortlessly in any way you wish. She also could just be big chillin’. Both positions represent light and freedom to me.
Terrell then guided us to the gallery annex. There Yo Yo Lander’s art pieces were mounted on the wall. The surprising size of these pieces alone will draw you in to connect with the story and the detail. Terrell told us a little about each piece while bringing us up close to witness every feature of the work.
YoYo Lander is an autodidactic painter living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Her visions emanate from all that surrounds her while abroad. YoYo’s work explores unconventional color palettes, bold color contrasts, and womanhood. Her subjects are comprised of an arrangement of brown color harmonies, placed on backgrounds of both subtle and loud color blocks. YoYo creates her interpretations using personal photographs and stories from indigenous women as her inspiration. The figurative artwork enjoins a conversation between itself and its audience regarding joy, identity, sisterhood, and community.
The intricate layers of individual painted pieces, one on top of the other, each doing their part to represent a different piece of the complexities that lie within the melanin filled body. Her work gives great pause. The almost life-size nature of each piece makes the art a reflection of the onlooker, opening the door for you to look at your own nudity and vulnerability.
Bruised Bananas are Sweeter
As Terrell moved into the Bruised Bananas are Sweeter collection, he shared a personal story with us about Yo Yo’s creative process behind this series. It was a profoundly moving story about her growth and acceptance of her father after he suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was a story that drove her to represent the soul of black men in a lighthearted manner. To achieve spirit, the men in this series were all captured doing cartwheels.
I am still getting a grasp of the art world and all the magic that comes with it. So it was amazing to bear witness to such marvelous work at the hands of two young black women using their art to tell genuinely unique and compelling stories. The cultural commentaries that lie in all of these pieces have left me truly inspired.
I look forward to Band of Vices doing more live streaming while our city remains under the "Stay-at-Home Order." Although there’s nothing like seeing the art in person, I have to say it’s pretty lovely getting a personal tour and getting a full view of the art without having to worry about being blocked or blocking someone else’s viewpoint. So to continue the gratitude that Terrell showed over the Instagram waves, I want to say thank you to Terrell and the whole Band of Vices team for featuring the talent of these young black women. As well as a huge thank you to both Grace and Yo Yo for using their talents to share the black female perspective in all of its strength and its beauty.
The gallery is still open by appointment only.
(and with the 6 ft social distance.)
You can contact the gallery at HELLO@bandofvices.com