2016 Forecast Public Art Grant Recipient for "Unsighted"

Still from  Unsighted

Still from Unsighted

This Summer I studied abroad for the first time in Italy.  I went to Italy with one mission- to create a project centered around the turmoil between Black Americans and the police.  I love being in new creative spaces where I am challenged to look at my work from a new perspective.

Although photography has been my main medium for so long, I have always felt that there is so much inside that I want to express in many visual forms and my project Unsighted is proof of just how strong my voice can be when expressed through other mediums. While in Italy, I created my first short experimental film  Unsighted.  Unsighted explores the many layers of tension that have exploded in recent months here in the US between the police and Black Americans.  

Once I created this video,  I wanted to show it in a public space and now with the help of Forecast Public Art, I am on my way to doing just that.  I have been named one the Forecast Public Art 2016 Grant Recipients for the Mid-Career Professional Development Grant!

I am so excited to be awarded this grant for my first short film and even more excited to share it with you in the near future!




Black is the New Orange??

After watching the second season of Orange is the New Black, I was beyond hooked.  I feel in love with the complexity of the characters and how easily their dreams and mistakes so seamlessly intertwined.  The second season embodied everything I love about storytelling- it was honest, provocative, and beautifully nuanced.  I disappointed when it ended.  (And even more disappointed in myself that I inhaled the whole season in three days!)

Not long after bingeing did I come across a fan art contest on the internet to create work to celebrate the show.  All of the entrants thus far had been of either computer illustrations or those done by hand.  I have many talents but those are not among them.  Not one to be easily discouraged, I knew I could create something using my skill-- photography.  Shooting people is my specialty, but using real people would be to cumbersome.  There had to be some way to convey a narrative without using an actual person.  With my mind adrift, I asked myself..."If orange is the new black, why can't black be the new orange?"  Black...orange...Black Oranges!  Fruit has long been used to represent parts of the human anatomy.  Why not use the black orange to recreate some story lines in Orange is the New Black?

Armed with my new vision, I went to the store and grabbed a dozen oranges, black spray paint, orange screwdrivers, glycerin, peanut butter, and caramel apple dowels.  I stuck the dowels in the oranges and placed the other end of the dowel in a styrofoam base to spray paint them evenly.  The concept would not work unless the viewer was able to identify the inside as an orange so after the paint set, I cut into the orange to reveal the inside.  I cut multiple oranges until I got the most symmetrical V shape.  To make the dripping orange juice, I mixed glycerin with various flavors of Crystal Light.  Styling the peanut butter and the bag of oranges proved to be the most challenging, however.  Ultimately, I shot the orange and various props on a white seamless and transposed the orange onto the file in Photoshop.  This project was definitely a test of my food styling skills, but I knew that with some effort I could create something that was as well thought out and as provocative as the show itself.  

I was trolling the next the other day and was pleasantly surprised to find that my series, "Strange Fruit", was chosen as one of the Runner Ups for the Orange is the New Black Global Campaign! Check out the triptych below.

© Andrea Ellen Reed

© Andrea Ellen Reed

© Andrea Ellen Reed


While I was creating my pieces for OITNB contest, my husband, Iyare Oronsaye, was creating a piece for the contest as well.  Since he is a 3D Animator, it's very rare that he and I are working on similar projects.  He is always my go to when talking ideas through, but it was nice to be working creatively on the same project at the same time.  It's also interesting to see how we interpreted the challenge.

There must be something in the water at our house because we both got chosen as Runner Ups in the Orange is the New Black poster contest!  Go figure.  Check out his genius below...


© Iyare Oronsaye (aka My beautiful husband)

Iyare Oronsaye is a 3D Animator living and working in Minneapolis, MN.  Check him out and his dope animations at iyare.co.


Check out the finalists and other runner ups from the Orange is the New Black poster campaign click on the image below!

Click to view

Click to view