Los Angeles Lakers forward and 10-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony met with youth from Boyle Heights to discuss his memoir “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised” at the Band of Vices art gallery. The event was produced in conjunction with the Lakers’ In The Paint initiative, a competitive program that supports L.A.-based minority artists through leveraging the franchise’s platform.
Through the initiative, a panel of judges selected 15 artists of color to have their art on display at the Lakers facility for their inaugural In The Paint exhibition. The artwork of the 15 artists was moved to Band of Vices and the youth were also able to see the exhibit.
The conversation Anthony had with moderator, Sean Sheppard did not only focus on his book, but on his passion for art and the admiration he has for the In The Paint initiative. The Brooklyn native called the memoir his “form of art.”
“I hope the kids that I spoke to today, they find their form of art, whether it’s through a book, whether it’s through art, whether it’s through music, whatever it may be, I hope they find it,” Anthony said. “The concept of In The Paint was brilliant.”
In the memoir, the three-time Olympic gold medalist vividly displays the admiration he has for his family as he grew up in Red Hook housing projects in New York and the Murphy Homes in West Baltimore. He explains the joys and sorrows of the two neighborhoods and explains the history of the two cities. Anthony also shares the lessons he learned through his experiences.
During the conversation, Anthony talked about the first piece of artwork he bought and how he tries to get to know the creative process of artists.
“Even himself as a savvy collector, is that he’s still looking at very intentional things of why he’s collecting,” said Band of Vices founder, creative director Terrell Tilford. “With each art piece, it has it’s own personal story to the collector, but then also you get an entrée into what the artist was thinking, how they’re processing.”
He mentioned the artwork of Jarrett Camp, who uses his dyslexia to create images that are both right side up and upside down; his artwork is like having two images in one.
Camp used stippling art, a technique where an art piece is created only with dots. He also uses pointillism, which is using dots of different colors to create art.
“I wanted to create this form of art that people can not only turn upside down, right side up with my dyslexia, but also get more detail, more story,” Camp said. “So, people might wonder “man, do you turn that thing upside down?” I actually don’t because my dyslexia actually, does it for me, so I can kind of look at a piece and know where to go.”
Among the In The Paint artists that were in attendance was Buena Johnson, who makes highly detailed pieces with pencil. For one piece, Johnson fused her affinity for angels with the themes of American slavery and oppression.
“As she is stepping forward, this is reminiscent of the Nike of Samothrace. I mainly do female angels because that’s related to my history or the history of women,” Johnson said. “I wanted to show our strength, so I made an African angel.”
Every young person received a copy of “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised.” Band of Vices community outreach representative William Correa noted how he reached out to several youth organizations in Boyle Heights to find youth that would be interested in attending the event.
“The fact that they’re from these communities that Carmelo Anthony was actually explaining is very, very important,” Correa said. “So, they can see somebody in a high successful position that came from communities that was similar to theirs. It gives them hope and belief that they could actually achieve some goals.”