John Alleyne

Originally from the island of Barbados, John Alleyne migrated to Brooklyn, NY at the age of sixteen in pursuit of a more well-rounded, quality education. While in Brooklyn, Alleyne became immediately drawn to Hip-Hop culture, and the expressive quality of Street and Graffiti art. In the summer of 2018 Alleyne graduated from Louisiana State University with an MFA in Studio Art, and a concentration in painting and drawing. He has been Artist-in-Residence at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, Michigan, ACRE in Steuben, WI, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center. He has exhibited work throughout various museums in Louisiana, including the Masur Museum in Monroe, the LSU Museum in Baton Rouge, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. He has also exhibited work in New York, Los Angeles, and Ireland. His work is featured in Issue #23 of The Hand Magazine, in addition to volumes of Studio Visit Magazine, and New American Paintings (South Issue). Alleyne is an Assistant Professor of Art at Southern University and A & M College, and Program Leader of the Visual Arts program. He currently lives and works in New Orleans, LA and Brooklyn, NY.

Artist’s Statement

My work is an exploration of freedom, connecting lived experience with an intuitive process of mark-making. In this new body of work, I revisit moments in my past where I felt the most vulnerable; and in some cases, the most alone. I aim to find common ground in the Black experience of the barbershop and hair salon as a safe haven or place of sanctuary. While specific spaces may have positive effects on people of color; otherwise starved for belonging and safety, the need for therapy and a safe haven is itself an essential feature of the human experience. I challenge notions of “imperfection” and movement in relation to (im)migration and deconstructing stereotypes, while simultaneously attempting to elevate Black representation to a state of transcendence. I utilize unhinged silkscreens, squeegees, and acrylic as mark-making tools to create gestures of abstraction. Within the gestures of these silkscreen monotype prints, I challenge notions of painting, printmaking, healing, beauty, manhood, and masculinity within the aesthetic of hairstyle-guide posters. Individuals depicted in these posters tend to be anonymous, identifiable by mere numbers, which also points to the broader subject of Black bodies being commodified, manipulated, and deified. For me, abstraction is a way to celebrate, mourn, and to learn from the past and present, in order to pursue the future.