Updated: Apr 3, 2022
Hey, Obsidian People, this week's Creative Corner is paired with an excellent interview with another member of my family. We interviewed, laughed, and talked about how art inspired him to create such beautiful paintings. I had to follow up on a creative Corner with the man who started this for my brother and me. Obsidian People would like to introduce, Odes Roberts Sr., The Artist.
Let me say this before getting into this blog. Dad, Thank you for setting the stage for greatness in my life. You and mom pushed me very hard to get me where I am today. Thank you for never giving up on me and seeing what I didn't in myself. I see it now!!
OK, OK, OK, I'm done crying and ready to tell you about my father.
My family is pretty damn talented. This is not to brag, but to shine a light on the people close to me. Odes Roberts Sr is a well-known artist in Toledo for over 30 years. Mastering in oil and acrylic paints, his work has been seen in Toledo Art Museum, University of Toledo, many libraries, and galleries around Toledo and Detroit. He was even asked to submit his creations to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. For the last 30 years, my father has been setting the stage for others with his Afrocentric paintings, for as far as I can remember, he has been creating. This blog only scratches the surfaces of achievement and strides his made in his art career.
In the early '90s, he received a grant to complete an expedition call from Africa to America; this series shaped my brother and me forever. As my father researched our journey as black people, we explored our history far beyond what American history books refuse to teach our children. We learned about the first Pharaohs of Egypt, Mansa Musa, Rosa Parks, Ida B Wells, and many more. Many of these people we never heard of in school (I wonder why). This pushed us to read about all these people and question why we were never told who we are. I'm not a hundred percent sure if my father understands that his art is like taking a trip in history. Every stroke, glade of the brush, or palette knife, brings the story alive.
In the early 2000s, Odes opened up his gallery OROBS Fine Art; it gave Toledo’s new artists a place to feel comfortable showing their work. OROBS Fine Art showcased photography, paintings, drawing, sculpture, glass, and other media styles. OROBS Fine art is now closed, but the focus of Odes did not close down. Partnered with The Truth Gallery in 2009, Odes brought Handcrafted African masks, sculptures to the scene. Pushing knowledge of our African lineage. These beautifully crafted pieces gave us all another history lesson of what and sculpture meant, how it was used, and the meaning of the art. My husband and I had the great opportunity to work on this with Odes and bringing education to others who didn't understand or know what the art meant. Over 5000 pieces of this African art brought culture to the gallery a heritage of pride. When we would have events, the place would be packed with people enjoying the live band and refreshments. After 7 years, Odes decided to put his focus back into his work his passion.
Watching him create with smooth jazz playing the background with a shot of his favorite bourbon and a bandana tied arounds his head. Setting the mood right, "it's a vibe" he says. I tell you. His mind wandering into the unknown, taking a blank canvas and turning it into a masterpiece, this always amazed me and still does to this day.
Odes Roberts Sr. art pops off the canvas and dances around in your mind. Forcing your imagination to create stories behind every color, person, and motion in his paintings. You can see the emotions of characters come alive.
Odes‘s art is featured in September issue of Indie Incognito a digital magazine by Mr. Tony Smith of Kase Qtr Productions. Indie Incognito magazine is seen around the world and to have a featured section of Odes art. It is amazing. The great thing about Indie Incognito it also gives creatives a platform to share their gifts to the world. So please check out and support another black owned company. https://issuu.com/indieincognito/docs/publicationsep
Title top left to right:A Mother's Anguish, Untitled,Ready for Market
Title bottom left to right: Untitled, Masai, Untitled
If you have never seen Odes work, now is the time; he is a Toledo great, and I believe in giving a person their flowers now, not later. Right now, his work can be seen until October 30th at:
Owens Community College
Center for Fine and Performing Arts
Walter E. Terhune Art Gallery
30335 Oregon Road, Perrysburg
Now, Don't you leave this page without taking a listen to the interview with Odes Roberts Sr. Check it out. I hope this interview gives others that push they need to keep going with their art.
Instagram @orobs2000 and @african.carveakanda2
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