( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Artist KOLPEACE Creates Subversive and New Artwork and Performance Art
ENSPIRE Contributor: Natalie Dean
Meet up-and-coming artist Christopher Johnson, AKA KOLPEACE. Currently, an Artist–In–Residence at the Greenmount West Community Center, an Elizabeth “Libby” Bowerman ’82 Fellow, a Leslie King Hammond Grad Fellow, a MFACA Private Fellow recipient, and more, this young artist is a rising star in the creative community. His work includes studio art including painting and photography, performance art, and graphic design. These works are available for viewing in galleries across Baltimore and online for those who are not local.
Another great accomplishment of KOLPEACE is his work as an activist. Determined not to let his fame be unproductive, KOLPEACE works closely with his community. He works to bring people together through art, creating bonds and relationships between people who would have otherwise been strangers. This is accomplished through his participation in various community projects. He values the lessons he has learned from his mother, which he cites as an inspiration for his commitment to the community.
Recently, KOLPEACE spoke with ENSPIRE about his work:
Where do you get inspiration for your art?
I get my inspiration from the personalities of family and friends I grew up with. Those memories create moments, from the food we ate to the music we listened to and the cinemas that raised me.
Being from South Carolina and engaging in other cities’ cultural approaches invigorates my own practice.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is me listening to my instincts.
I incorporate music and unorthodox mediums to engage the audience or self during the creation process. Tapping into memories thru sound and cinema is the starting point for me. I would have tapped into moments of peace through engaging with community, prayer, cooking, my animals, and physically training my body to unknowingly be in this creative spirit and process.
Besides gallery work, you also do graphic design and performance art. How do you balance all these different subgroups of art? What excites you about each of them?
Balancing these subgroups of art-making honestly simplified itself once I brought it all together. I decided not to separate a talent/skill but rather mold them together.
It’s exciting to see how the performative art brews a moment of peace between myself and the audience. The intensity behind the moment really sets up the graphic work well. Documenting the work allows for moments of engagement on social media. It brings me joy to see responses from patrons who have followed the work as it evolves.
What accomplishment have you been most proud of so far?
My most memorable accomplishment is when I was asked to show my performative art in the Cayman Islands for the Atlanta Falcons and I got to finally take my mother on a vacation she deserved.
To see her resting and relaxing made me happy because that was a goal of mine since I was a youngin, at that moment I was more proud of the work I had developed.
Tell us a little about your upcoming projects! What are you working on? What are your hopes for future work?
My community art project I’m working on is currently partnering with the Greenmount West Community Center in Baltimore, MD which has been an advocate of my work since my 2-year community arts residency with them in 2019. We are restoring an elder’s home called “The Bellhouse Community Build” on Instagram. Ms. Bell, like others, is one who has been impacted by harsh living conditions in Baltimore.
With the help of my friend and colleague Genifer Fraser we are developing an art mentorship with youth called “Mural Maestros” to create a mural on the side of the home we are restoring with the GWCC.
Upcoming projects for my practice actually involve the project above and also I’ve been preparing for a closing exhibition celebration on May 1st called “Made Down South” in Baltimore MD to pay homage to all the work I put into self-evolution and community support, the southern way. Also, I’m currently duo exhibiting at Black Artist Research (Instagram) through April 16th in Baltimore MD, and just returned from demonstrating/exhibiting my performative works in:
• Charleston, SC (The Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture,
– Food + Wine Festival
•Charlotte, NC (Harvey B Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture
• Cleveland Ohio (Deep Root Gallery)
• Greer, SC (Greer Cultural Arts Center)
• Trap Museum (Baltimore Pop Up, Blkass Fleamrkt Collective)
With such an impressive CV at such a young age, KOLPEACE is creating a name for himself in the world of art. And this is no surprise: his talent and skill are clear to anyone who visits his galleries, exhibitions, or his website. We at ENSPIRE are excited to see his new projects come to fruition!
To visit his website, click here!
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