How Jay Moses Fused Art And Politics To Create A Clothing Line Centered Around Black Culture
Blavity went beyond the creative scope to get up close and personal with Jay Moses.
Art is more than drawings and paintings; it is more than a hobby. Art is a life and light source; an introduction to our own worlds from us, for us, and for others to share. Art is a means of expression, using emotion and depth as a platform of declaration for our passions and beliefs. True art — that which feeds the mind, stirs the spirit, and ignites the heart — is the most special sort of art we can encounter. It is the kind of art that compels you and the world around you. When relating art to such profound, young creatives like visual artist Jay Moses, art is a multifaceted combination of all of these things and perhaps something even more.
When Moses decided to make his love for art a career with his brand ARVON, he did not allow himself to be defined by or confined to just one medium. Moses constantly blurs the lines of creative expression by marrying photography to poetry, graphic design to expressionism, controversy to beauty-birthing masterpieces the likes of which we’ve never seen. His work invokes the kinds of thoughts we’d never imagine we could subconsciously believe.
Moses took some time away from his world of creating to speak with us about his journey, his work and what inspires him as an artist.
Blavity: Please tell us a little more about your background. Who is the Jay Moses that the world should get to know?
Jay Moses: I am an artist and an observer. I am drawn to the beautiful things in life that also hold meanings as images. I am an observer of my inner self, and my outside reality. I am here for the world in service as a person documenting culture and its beauty, and I will always grow with my art.
Blavity: How did you come up with the name and concept for your brand ARVON?
Moses: Arvon is my father's name. A few years ago — about the time I started realizing that I wanted to create and have a platform for things I made — I spent only a few minutes trying to figure out what I'd call it. “ARVON” just sounded good. Besides that, my dad is a source of inspiration for thought, and thought, much of the time, ends up being the inspiration for art.
The concept was to make something absolutely new and original; something cool and with an incredible story. That was just how I decided to channel the creative energy and passion that was driving me to create.
Blavity: What drew you to make art that is both creatively intriguing and also, arguably, extremely controversial?
Moses: Well for me it was just a creative work; it started to spark an idea that was political and meant something beyond the artwork. This allows the art to have a relationship with the viewer. If my work can strike a nerve, and make someone think deeper or have informative ideas about race — voila. The work is done.
Blavity: What is the thought process behind some of the imagery you choose to create with? How are the images selected?
Moses: I don't really ever seek images. Most times things just stand out or seem really interesting. They come from everywhere: Music videos, books, magazines, Instagram, New York City streets, household items — really anywhere an image, object, color, etc. catches my eye. I think the most interesting aspect of my work is that when I'm creating something, I select specific images that have a specific story. When the different images and the different meanings all collect, they make a story that explains the piece I've created.
Blavity: How do you deal with the commentary your work garners — both positive and negative?
Moses: I know I will enjoy all of it. Of course, I see any constructive criticism as building in nature. I will always pay attention to the people, listening to what they say and watching what they do. My art is very much about reflection and mirroring.
Blavity: Your website says, "ARVON is for the children." Can you elaborate on that? How do you think your art translates to young minds?
Moses: Children of all ages are the creatives of the world. They’re creative in all senses; from art, to conversation, to thought, self exploration — whatever. The young mind's imagination is free or working to be free. The children have ideas and understand that everything they can imagine is real, and won’t be afraid to go for it.
Blavity: For the artists who you feature within your own creative work, what draws you to theirs? How does their work differ or correlate to your own artistic objective?
Moses: I’m drawn to anything new and interesting. It is exciting to me when the artist is doing something original and with passion. That falls in line not only with the artistic objectives, but the whole concept of ARVON. Most anything can be an original and strong artistic expression, even if it may not be what's traditionally known as an art form. With ARVON, there really aren't any rules.Blavity: To date, what is your most valued creation and why?
Moses: I think I've been in a really developmental period for a while, so every print feels like reaching a new creative headspace within my style. The “New Legends” tee was a valued project for me, primarily because it was recognition of the culture of young creatives who are doing amazing things. Again, it was something never before seen, and I pride myself on creating the unprecedented.
I think for this question, I'd also have to consider the red A'VN. It was one of my first creations at a time when I had just begun experimenting. I really wasn't good at making things, nor was I having the ideas I have now. Despite that, the red A’VN became a staple original image. So that really made me think because I was able to do that, I might have been doing the thing I was always meant to.
Blavity: What is one thing that as a young Black creative you'd have hoped to have been told prior to embarking on your journey?
Moses: I really am glad no one said anything to me. I think I found my best direction by having no directions — I was able to make the rules. But I would tell a young black creative: The world is yours, so is the universe. Be what you will be right now. Don't wait — mind first and manifestation second.
Blavity: How do you hope your work impacts conversations on politics and current culture?
Moses: I hope my work changes minds and will evoke thoughts or ideas, like most other artists in history would. I hope my work will make people unafraid of the outcome of good or bad politics. I also hope my work will blow a hole through current culture, to take a peek at and inspire future culture.