Can you dig it?

african, design, fashion, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, North London, Zimbabwe

I first came across black American (was it Afro-American those days?) entertainment as a child in the 70s. It was enlightening ti say the least. People like me on the TV! We started mimicking the accents, the walk, the dress sense where we could. The power of the media was at its purest; people like me saw that our lives had another possibility, perhaps just like our parents came to realise a decade or two earlier when they also became mesmerised by America’s black culture. We needed to be mesmerised. Life in southern Africa at that time was mapped out  for us. There was limited opportunity for people who were not white.

I think the authorities underestimated the power of media. In the 70s many more young people managed to win scholarships to study abroad than ever before  and I think they had to have had that idea from somewhere else than school…

MY book always have a bit of the 70’s in them. I try very hard to include the showmanship, flair and slight excess that captivated me as a child. It doesn’t always translate to this new century where media power is much more understood.

I thought of including, for a little while, some of the phrases that made the 1970’s in this blog. Enjoy.

Image; How you like me now, sucka?

Back to the Future

african, fashion, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”
-Truman Capote (1924 – 1984)

This is an experiment with watercolour. I have a new text to play with and am making the visuals in watercolour, in the hope that I can find my own way of using this medium.

Grace Jones

african, fashion, idea, iPhone illustrations

Grace Jones burst into my life in the early 1980’s with her singles ‘My Jamaican Guy’, ‘Pull Up to My bumper’ and subsequently the albums ‘Warm Leatherette’ and ‘Nightclubbing’. Then there was her iconic look and style. Talk about Girl Power! She still has it at the age of 62…
More importantly, for a black teenager growing up in a very new country she showed us that we are in charge of our own destiny. I will go so far as to say she really personifies the word unique. Grace Jones and Jean Paul Goude were a particularly brave couple who pushed boundaries in popular music and culture. They created Grace Jones the performer without a color or gender label, much like Michael Jackson or Prince, for instance at a time when skin colour defined the type of artist.

Metro Reader

fashion, illustration, iPhone illustrations, Ken Wilson-Max, London

NY

design, fashion, illustration, iPhone illustrations, Ken Wilson-Max, London