Written by Regina Herring
Just because I’m pro-black does not mean I’m anti-white. Feelings a lot of black people including myself have today. What will it take to get people to understand that there is nothing wrong with loving the skin you are in?
Ebony Bennett an artist from Philadelphia, PA has been drawing since she was a child encouraged by her parents to pursue art. While in grade school and high school she took art classes. During camp Ebony participated in different summer art programs.
After high school Ebony had plans to attend The Art Institute of Philadelphia but she started working and the money earning potential took priority and she never went to art school. But as the saying goes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. While in her mid-twenties Ebony went through a bad breakup among other trials. During, this time art was her therapy and Ebony got back into painting.
African American history is where Ebony gets a lot of her inspiration. Black influence is her interest. The classes she took in college did not match what she was taught in high school. She learned much more and it made her proud leading her to paint more African related pictures. She often experiences backlash from others including family and friends when she creates Afrocentric pieces. Ebony is often asked,
“Why is everything black?”
“Why does it have to be so political?”
“Don’t you have anything else to show?”
She simply replies, “This is our history and there is nothing wrong with it.”
Several years ago Ebony was encouraged by a friend to enter an art exhibition. She was nervous especially after not painting for a while. With only two months until the event to create paintings for her very first showing; Ebony did it and had a lot of fun. The event led her to meeting other artists in Philadelphia and she was able to build friendships. After a successful exhibition Ebony entered more art shows and hosting paint parties. She enjoys the paint parties because they allow people to paint, which is something many think they cannot do.
With each client for a paint party there is usually a theme and they have an idea about what they would like to paint. One of Ebony’s most memorable paint parties was her neighborhood garden’s annual festival. This was a party for four to ten year olds. It was memorable because her son was allowed to attend and he could see his mom at work. She hopes to make art a full time career and allow her son to see the passion she has for it. So whether she is successful or not her son will be able to see it all; the good, the bad and the ugly.
If she had more time Ebony would promote her parties and interact with people more. Time is a current obstacle Ebony faces. Working a full-time job and caring for her young son does not allow her to put much time in painting. She paints thirty minutes here and there or stays up late even though she has an early morning ahead.
Ebony’s dream is to have her own art studio. This would allow her to showcase her art and host paint parties. She will also have other artists to show their work also. Traveling is a dream of Ebony’s too especially visiting Africa to experience the art and culture.
In twenty-five to fifty years from now Ebony would like her legacy would be for the world to know she created what she wanted and did not let people change her mindset.
To see some of Ebony’s inspiring art and/or to book a paint party (Philadelphia residents) please visit www.ebennettart.com. You may also follow her on Instagram at @EBENNETTART.