Billy Colbert is a working artist and new media art professor at Delaware State University, who coincidentally started the university's New Media major at the beginning of his tenure. As an artist, he has extensively shown works of various media throughout the country. And concerning subject matter, many of his works examine cognitive dissonance in popular culture and celebrate the unsung contributions of American culture.
Colbert earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Frostburg State University in graphic design and his MFA from University of Delaware in Painting. At the University of Delaware, Colbert was a Presidential Fellow. In 1999, Colbert was awarded Best of Show and the Mixed Media Purchase Prize at the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas -- part of an art competition juried by MacArthur Genius Award winner, the late John T. Scott of New Orleans.
Aside from The African American Museum in Dallas, Texas, Colbert's work is featured in many public and private collections including museums such as The World Bank in Washington, D.C., The Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas, The University of Wisconsin in Madison, The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Some of Colbert's private collectors include actor Jeffery Wright, noted collector and former NBA coach and player Darrell Walker, former Los Angeles district attorney Christopher Darden, and noted Washington, D.C. collectors Chris and Beverly With.
Below are few quick questions we presented to Billy, as prepares for his exhibition Fast & Slow, which opens at PAR-Projects on Saturday, September 15th.
Describe your studio practice:
It changes for each body of work. I am like a method actor. I try to live through my creations. I love to research the topics of my works.
Describe your current body of work:
My current body of work deals with the thin lines that have separated humanity.
What excites you about exhibiting at PAR-Projects?
I am interested in doing an experiential exhibition. [At PAR-] I get a chance to file down the sharp corners of the subject matter and make it visually intriguing. I hope the work stimulates people's imaginations and memories while presenting a new perspective of the live's that others have lived.
You're a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Crayola should allow each child to have the color of their skin. Furthermore, each child should have to label four other crayon colors with the names of their friends of different races/ethnicites/cultures etc. to help embrace diversity among children.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the good in people, the ability to engage in laughter with someone about a common thread. I am inspired by learning. I am intrigued by how life is basic but is intensified by our life experience and embraced by intellect.
What has been the most important moment in your creative career (so far)?
Being able to stay on top of the wobbly creative unicycle. As artists, we don't know when or if we are going to get a break but we have to keep on riding. I have been fortunate enough to have had some success and [I've] won some awards, but we are only as good as our last show.
How about a #FunFact?
I used to love the "Big Red Machine"
Fast & Slow
Saturday, September 15th
6PM - 10PM
1662 Hoffner Street