Email from travis to Mrs. S-------
10/25/2007 7:40 PM-

Hello Mrs. S-------:  GREAT! to hear from you….

==  Yes, I know ANDRE GUICHARD.

When my solo art exhibition opened in NYC, in 2003, the curator asked me to look into a show in Chicago.  I telephoned the South Shore Cultural Center where Andre Guichard was in charge.  He granted me a half-hour interview. 

I arrived half-an-hour early.  He arrived in the gallery on time, and on his cell phone!  He never hung-up his cell phone the ENTIRE time I was there!  NEVER Hung Up!  Between long sentences, he grunted things AT me like:
“Your work is too depressing, too dark."


"Black people like brilliant colors.  Why is it so dark?"


"Don’t you ever paint flowers; I like flowers….”

This went on and on as I felt more and more demoralized.
Why:  I paint what I know.  I know the life of a Mississippi Black, Native American, Decorated VietNam Veteran, Mid-East Veteran, South Side Chicago home-owner dodging guns, gangs and racists.  Why would I ever paint flowers for the sake of painting flowers, or pretend to be free, White and over-21?  I was 57 years old in 2003.  An entire decade earlier I had achieved two Art degrees, from Northwestern Univ., and both With Highest Distinction, Summa Cum Laude:  Straight A!

You, Mrs. S-------, were there!

In 2003, I was painting flowers in lynching fields where Black women and children historically lost their lives.  In 2007, we have Blacks and Whites jumping up and down because nooses are hanging from school yard trees from Louisiana to New York City and "out East."  Black gallerists, like Andre Guichard want me to paint pleasant images.  I paint what I know.

==  I packed my 12 paintings and left Andre Guichard, still talking.        He Never Got Off The Telephone!  Never missed a beat.  I drove straight to Restvale Cemetery, collected silk flowers from the graves of Black men aged 18-25; collected broken mirror and glass; bullet sinkers; stones from the Itawamba, Mississippi, grave of my grandmother, Finous Mary Magdalene Wall Stegall, and started painting death masks named AndreG1 and AndreG2.  Those paintings were shown  at Scot's Bar 16MAR07-30APR07. 

(Scot's Bar is a North Side Queer Bar.)


That is only HALF of my Andre Guichard story!
But, I think you get the picture.  This same scenario plays out at
literally every Black gallery I have interviewed. 
Love 'ya./travis