Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inside the Mind of Daniel Fortune...The Artist

Daniel Fortune is nothing less than the epitome of a modern "Renaissance man". He is as talented as his 6'7 frame. Producer, DJ (hence is alter ego "D Smooth"), entrepreneur (Daniel is the creator behind Stylepump, Conflict Rhymes, Art Officially Dope, and his latest venture Freshgianity), poet, and lately he has set off a frenzy as he almost out of now where exploded on the art scene. It's almost like he's a mutant, like Darwin from X-Men (and no not the bullshit version in X-Men: First Class).

Darwin's mutant power was the ability to adapt to any circumstance in order to survive. Only with Daniel, its more like develop a skill in order to dominate. And dominate he has. If ever there was an example that human beings are multidimensional he is a poster child. Today, we will take the time to get to know one of Fortune's other sides, artist.

What inspires you to make art?

Art has been apart of me since I was a child and was one of the 1st few ways I learned to express myself. My father was big on books, always brought them home. I loved to read but when the book was done I still needed something to hold my interest so I used to doodle on the blank pages in the beginning and ending of the books.

You're a man of many talents, what cause you to decided to try art? Are you different than what your art dictates?

 I don't know how a person would interpret me through my art. Am i different then what the art portrays? i wouldn't thinks so. This is a tough question

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?
The biggest mistake I ever made was probably not trying my hand at painting long ago, I might have very well been quite good at it. But with me there is a season for everything.

What do you think cause you to put painting to the back?

I got into music, and kind of put the drawing down for a bit ocassionally doing pencil portraits for friends and co workers

What are you trying to do to people with your art?
I want my art to make people think, I want them to ask questions, I want them to see an image and ask themselves why was this painted, what is the story behind it.

What's the most annoying thing you've encounter in your time as an artist?
I think the most annoying thing about being an artist is working on a schedule. The art should create itself. Whenever it wants.

Have you created a piece that is deeply personal to you yet?

I think the piece I'm most attached to would be the "Most Queens" piece. Not only the significance of the elements within it tell a story, but this piece kind of took me to the next level. I love the blending, its probably one of the longest paintings I've painted in that size
*Notice Daniel pays tribute with the background of the painting, incorporating "Charles The First" by Jean Michel Basqiaut which had the phrase "Most young kings get their heads cut off".

What was the hardest piece you have created so far?
The hardest piece? I would definitely have to say "The Rebirth of Mother Earth". Some parts took longer than others, I'm not gonna mention it, but that was one of those pieces where it had to be just right, I couldn't half ass it on that one, Well on any of them at that. This one was critical though.

Do you feel people really appreciate art where your from and in general?

Art is one of those things people like but can't really figure out how to love it enough to justify paying for it. Art to me is like a special breed puppy shop. All the dogs look cute until you see that price tag. I dont really see it as people aren't willing to support, I feel like I have to work harder to give them a reason to sacrifice the new outfit and buy something that'll look good on their wall. Art is still the foster child.

Do you feel that you are receiving the support needed by your peers, or that they may still not fully grasp how serious you are about art? Because there is a saying that "A jack of all trades is a master of none" Yet it appears your are the exception to that rule.
Some of my art peers are very supportive some are not, but I've never been the type to make art a competition, In fact the only person I compete with is myself, I understand every artist has their own unique approach so who am I to say my style is better. It's true I like to express myself in different ways not just art but I think those closest to me understand that, I can see how some artist might be offended thinking my heart may not be all the way in it but with everything I do I give it my best

What do you think needs to be done, or what do you think you can do to give art a bigger purpose in your community?
Art is flourishing more than ever in my community, I dont think I alone could do anything to give it more purpose. Art just isn't what's on the forefront, maybe if more celebs or musical artist mentioned art or tried collecting it from locals that would spark a greater interest

What is the best thing to happen to you as a artist thus far?
The best thing to happen to me being an artist and showcasing is it has allowed me to meet more people, And I love to network and see what the rest of the world is doing

Just recently you had some of your pieces showcased at The Funk Art Show at 1310 Gallery. What kind of feeling do you get seeing your work displayed?
I felt proud to be apart of the community, it was an eye opener

How would you define yourself as an Artist?

I would say I'm like a modern day impressionist. I like the look of strokes in my art and sometimes I want it to always look wet. If i could use one word to describe myself as an artist it would be..romantic

What artist do you admire?
Hmm, what artist do I admire? There's so many great local talents where I'm from. It's hard to just pick one. I'm not just an artist but I'm a fan too, I think I might appreciate others work more than my own. Luis Royo would be my fave though, followed Feng Zhu.

Do you have any favorite pieces by other artist?
I have a Luis Royo print hanging in my room. It was a gift from a long time friend. It's called "White Angel".

If you could tell a young kid who is building a curiosity towards art anything, what would you say to them?
I would tell anyone doing it for money to quit now. But to those who genuinely have a passion for it is do it, And dont stop, Share your work with as many as you can.

Whats more important to you, getting paid for it or just creating the art?
Of course you want to get paid for doing what you love, But the thrill is definitely the creative process and the thought that this could be hanging on someones wall, and they might love it more than you.

Walk us through the process of creating an Fortune original?
I find a nice spot on the floor, place all my material in convenient places and i go to work, I like to stand above my work, gives me a nice perspective.

What's the feeling you get after completing a painting?
The feeling after a painting is complete can only be described as, an exciting relief, Like I'm so glad its over now I get to look at it as a fan and not an artist, And I spend hours looking at it.

This time next year what do you wish to have accomplish in terms of art?
I would like to have completed an artbook, Maybe 2 or 3 even. I would like to have a personal site for art and maybe do some really creative events for the art community.

How do you find time with all the other things you do to paint?
Finding time to paint means not sleeping

What is Art Officially Dope? How did you come up with the idea, what is the intend of it?
Art Officially Dope is a play on words, but ultimately i wanted to create a site that brought light to urban art and street art

Thank you kindly for your time and allowing us to get to see the psyche of Daniel Fortune the artist. Any last words?
Your welcome and um support the arts

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"RunNoMoreFromRevolution" Painting #PaintTheThrone

The other night BET re ran one of their award shows whilst (yeah I did say whilst) flipping channels I had landed on a scene where Queen Latiafh was paying tribute to Gil Scott - Heron. She stood in front of this huge picture and that coupled with the thought of last Monday being Will Da Real One's bday (both of legendary poets who passed away around the same time) inspired me.

So last night I decided to paint something honoring both men for Daniel and I's upcoming artshow "Paint The Throne". A couple of hours later, while bumping Cole World (def buying that album, shout out to J, Cole), Wale's Eleven One Eleven Theory and Kendrick Lamar's Section 80 (man these joints are DOPE) I completed what I titled "RunNoMoreFromRevolution".

The reason for the title is because one of Gil Scott-Heron's most well known pieces is called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

And one of Will's most well known ones (and my personal favorite) piece is "So I Run"

So I just combined the two titles, nothing clever lol. The painting is 24x24 and I used SOHO oils.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Night was Murder, Not Justice #TroyDavis

Last night at 11:08 Troy Davis was MURDERED by the state of Georgia, after The Supreme Court failed to do it's job and denied him a chance. Needless to say I still feel a type way, and the way that I feel is angry. I feel frustrated, annoyed, and unsafe as a black man in America. And even though the numbers show the outright unbalance usage of the Death Penalty on blacks, I won't go as far as to strictly make Troy Davis death a race issue. And the reason being is because when you do suddenly people become death and unable of having that conversation. But the facts are facts.

Yet in the case of Troy Davis and the case of so many others the facts obviously don't matter.

Fact:  the bullets for the so-called weapon used didn't match.

Fact: Sylvester Coles (who was not only a suspect for a quick second bout became the 9th witness) admitted to several people while drunk that he was the killer and even threaten the life of one the witnesses.

Fact: 7 out of 9 witnesses recanted stating that they were basically forced by the police to say Troy did it (keep in mind out of the 9, 1 of the witnesses was Sylvestor Coles).

Fact 3 of the Jurors after learning about the gun (1 of which is pro the death penalty) said had they known they would of voted otherwise. But like I said, facts don't matter.

Fact former Death Penalty Wardens (including the former Warden of The Georgia prison) wrote letters saying the "execution" shouldn't happen because there was TOO MUCH DOUBT.

Troy Davis murder was about the so-called Justice System's pride. It was a case of no one wanting to admit they were wrong and about to murder a innocent man. Make no mistake justice was not served last night. The dish that was feed to America was murder, point blank period. And I for one an disgusted to the core about that.
I want to send this painting I did to Troy Davis family so any one with information so I can do so please hit me up. Thank you.

When I say I am Troy Davis, I really mean it. As many times as I've been threaten, beaten, mistreated by police/sheriff's in my own city I can't help but think to myself how easily I could be in Troy's shoes. As many times I've been hit with the "Mistaken Identity" its safe to say I'm tickering that very thin line where one day the system that's suppose to protect and aid me will be used against me. And the thing is, I will be innocent when it occurs, but guilty of being black.

But my real beef, my real issue is in a country that prides it's self on being a beacon for the world practices such a savage act. Murder is murder, and Capitol Punishment is murder. Even the KKK man that killed James Byrd   murder by Capitol Punishment makes me cringe. Why do we offer the sweet escape of death? Who are you to wield the power of who lives and dies? Do we not believe in rehabilitation? Why is it ok for Troy Davis to be murdered when their was so much doubt but Charles Manson still lives?

The Death Penalty is a cruel, sadistic joke. If the Wardens, elected officials, supreme court judges (looking at you Clarence Thomas) truly believe this is right then they should be the ones in the room injected people with death. But know it's easy to live with yourself from the comfort of behind your desk, correct?

Maybe it's just me, maybe I've bumped my head or am to emotional about the subject of Murder By Jury, I mean the Death Penalty to see things clearly. I don't know...nah you know what in my Kendrick Lamar voice "Fuck Dot!". No one has the right to play God, especially when there is a ridiculous level of chance that person may be innocent. Like I said earlier, justice was not served last night, murder was. The barbaric act of the Death Penalty must go. I'm not even going to edit this so I apologize for misspelling or any other errors.

Petition To Abolish The Death Penalty
Amnesty USA

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Am Troy Davis Painting

Believe me We ARE ALL TROY DAVIS. #toomuchdoubt! to be sending a man to his death CALL Judge Penny Freesemann: 912 652 7252 or fax her at 912 652-7254 ask her to withdraw the death warrant or email

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My letter I emailed to regarding Troy Davis. D.A. Chapman can still withdraw the death penalty. 912-652-7308 or email DEMAND IT!!!
To Whom It May Concern,

    I don't know if you'll ever read my letter for it may get lost in the floods of out cries from the people. Or it may just turn out that you may just not care. My name is Jason "JaFleu" Fleurant, but you may consider me Troy Davis. I today am writing you as a distraught young black man. Distraught because this justice system that you vowed to serve has once again failed us, and yet though you have the power to correct that wrong it appears you have chosen not to. I ask you, if your son/daughter was suspended from school for throwing a rock at a teacher, but the students who claimed he did it later said they were wrong and another student had done it what would you do? What would you expect the school's action to be?

   I know that the crime at hand is far worse than the scenario I presented but the crime of not taking account the overwhelming evidence SCREAMING Troy Davis innocence is even more grievous. There is a saying that goes "All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing". Do I feel remorse for the lost life of the officer, Lord knows I certainly do. Yet we can not live by the Hammurabi code of "An eye for an eye", especially when they eye is innocent. I have been one who has been harassed, beaten and morally destroyed by the law enforcement officers in my area due strictly because of my skin tone, yet I still choose to believe that Justice does exist. And a case like this has the opportunity to truly show that Justice is for everyone.

   I make this plea to you to reconsider this case, and at the very LEAST remove Troy Davis from the death plenty. The same evidence that was used to convict him declares his innocence. If anything there is to much doubt, REASONABLE doubt to go forward. Ask yourself can you truly live with the idea that you, YOU allowed a possibly innocent man to die? Can you look yourself in the mirror and not be haunted by his image staring you down asking you "why"? The eye witnesses themselves have recanted, that is more than enough reason to reconsider.

   I know I am only one man, one voice but I am one in a chorus, in a sea of people demanding justice is done. Today we give you a chance to show that Justice is for everyone, and that it is real. We are not God, therefore we do not posses the right to take away human life so I ask you to think deeply on the choice at hand. There is too much doubt to clearly believe this current course of action correct. I leave you with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A man who DIED for equal rights and justice... "A injustice anywhere is an injustice EVERYWHERE".

                                                                                             Jason "JaFleu" Fleurant
                                                                                                  "I Am Troy Davis"
Take Action! Go Here Or Here Sign the petition!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Amazing time at The Funk: Art/Fashion/Trunk Show

Last night, Daniel Fortune and I we're fortunate (yeah I did that) to be able to not only attend but have our artwork be apart of The Funk: Art/Fashion/Trunk Show. It was an incredible feeling to be in a place with people who really we're about art. Before we even got close to the entrance of the 1310 Gallery, I spotted Daniel's painting of Miles Davis. The feeling was indescribable of walking in and seeing your work up on walls surrounded by other great artist. The performances where spectacular, the singers voices we're angelic, fashion show to dope, and the violinist, Karine Isabelle literally blew my mind.
It was just an amazing night. Nzinga and Caroline put together a extraordinary show. And the fact that school supplies and money was being raised for children in Haiti was the icing on the cake. There was a moment when I saw a couple of folks talking about one of my paintings "Battle4Soulz" and I got to hear honest interpretations before revealing I was the artist. The show definitely has me excited for when we put together our art showing Paint The Throne. And overall it just inspired me as a artist. More Photos

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

15yrs later... R.I.P. 2Pac

15 years, can you believe it's been 15 years to the day that it was announced that we lost the man that could be considered the John Lennon of our generation. The always controversial, inspirational and powerful Tupac Amaru Shakur. To this day he's death has left such a major void in not just Hip Hop but music in general.

Many made claims that he may have been to irrational, and tried to much to be to many things but that may of been what made him great. Pac said it himself "I'm a artist, I have to hit it from all sides". And rather he made "I get around", "Keep your head up", "Hit 'Em Up", "Life Goes On", "Dear Mama", or "I Ain't Mad at Cha" 2Pac touched on various emotions, situations and even beliefs.

His presence is massively missed in the music and his impact expands past just the streets and corners but even to corner offices. They'll never be another. Many have tried and failed. R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur, Rapper/Poet/Actor/& Activist. He truly was, the rose that grew from the concrete.

"I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world." - Tupac

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Of "Mother's Love" from I Am Haiti Painting series

Two of the "I Am Haiti" series paintings

These are just two of the paintings I've been working on for the art opening. They are from a series called "I Am Haiti". The rest will only been seen when we get the Paint The Throne show going.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Thangs Poppin in Art

Forgive me, it's come to my attention I haven't updated my blog in lord knows how long. And the sad part is a lot of great things have happen since. The biggest being what's happening very, very soon. Mr Stylepump himself, Daniel Fortune and I are doing our own art showing this month. Paint The Throne!

Originally scheduled for my birthday, September 10th. We ran into a few little snags and pushed it back about a week. But that just gives us more time to get things together. We've been pushing each other artistically. Daniel is killing it. There are going to be some extraordinary pieces for ya'll to see.

I think what inspires me the most, is where just to young men doing something positive and different. With or without people's support (and laaaawwwddd do we appreciate all the support we've gotten) we're going to press on. We've had our 1st Art Officially Dope show last month featuring incredible young artist like D. Patrice and Alyrical. Great musically performances by Neo Popsicle, Blaine and more. We'reLink going to keep doing what we got to, this is a movement to give the proper love to artist and let them know that this gift is real. Event Photos

Special shout out to our host/photographer and Palm Beach POET OF THE YEAR Sa-Ra!!!