There’s enough bad in the world that art should take you away from the negativity. Creating that positive element is what Chicago artist Dana Todd Pope strives to incorporate into her creations.
“In all of my work, I try to convey something positive, whether it’s an emotion, a feeling, confidence, hope, or inspiration, she said.
I just feel like you get beat up enough in the world so when you come home, it should be your safe haven. I want you to come home, look at my work and just be able to relax and remember the good things in life.”
Some of her work will be on display at Thursday’s Harlem Fine Arts Show, which will be held at The Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza. The opening reception will benefit The DuSable Museum of African American History and the South Side Community Art Center, which is celebrating 75 years in 2015. This show has already made stops in Atlanta and Martha’s Vineyard. Since 2010 it has been held in New York City.
Some of Chicago’s top Black newspaper publishers will be honored at the reception. There will also be beverages and Hors d’oeuvres available for attendees to enjoy while listening to live jazz. Tickets are $150.
Todd Pope’s paintings have been featured in a music video by R&B singer/songwriter Anthony Hamilton. She was a semi-finalist in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series at Gallery Guichard. She has participated in numerous festivals and exhibitions such as The National Black Fine Arts Show in New York City, the Chicago Jazz Festival Art Fair and Marketplace, the Gallery at Oakwood Shores, Chicago, and many more.
Todd Pope is known for her children’s pieces.
“These pieces are really done to simply shine a light on all the young people doing positive things because it’s hard out here for little Black kids,” she said.
The Chicago artist and mother of a daughter, nine, and son, five, said she also hopes her work will offer hope to youth who don’t believe they can one day live a certain lifestyle because of where they come from. She wants her art to change that. For adult viewers, the conveyed message is that it’s not too late to get back on the path they may have started on in their younger days.
“Life can beat you up and you can lose track of your purpose or where you originally wanted to go,” she said. I hope they can look at my work and kind of reconnect with that and start on a new path of rediscovering those goals.”
To create pieces that have that kind of effect on people, Todd Pope said she needs lots of inspiration, which she mainly pulls from her childhood.
“I just dig back to different moments in my childhood, fond memories and I’m definitely a dreamer so I put all of that in my work,” she said.
It is more than just that, though. She uses everything she can.
“I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m an entrepreneur and I used to be a little Black kid on the South Side of Chicago so I mix all of that together when creating art,” Todd Pope said.
The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2nd. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased www.Hfas.org.