The Urban Entrepreneurs Series
Ricardo Francis: Using Art To Battle Stereotypes
By Gary G. Toms
"My work is aimed towards uncovering the truths and misconceptions of African-American people," said Ricardo Francis, an artist and resident of the Far Rockaway community.
Francis, owner of Apanamae (A-Pan-A-May) Productions, an independent fine art company that provides services and specialized art projects to the general public, attended the High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, in Houston, Texas. He then went on to attend the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting.
During his tenure as an artist, Francis has received numerous awards, such as Presidential Scholar in the Arts; the Arts Recognition and Talent Search – Level 1 Award for painting; and the Musicfest – Level 1 Award for visual arts.
Francis has been featured in many exhibits across the country since 1991, and he continues to gain strength and support in the art world as a premiere artist. Some of those exhibits include "Catch The Monkeys", 1996 (Baltimore, MD); "A Peaceful Journey", 1992 (Houston, TX); and "Urban + Pop", 1999 (Bronx, NY).
"The Catch The Monkeys" series was based on an original game. By incorporating negative stereotypical images of African-American people along with cartooned characters of the game, I created an unapologetic view of racial stereotyping through borrowed fine art and TV advertising imagery," said Francis.
"In 1997, my subject matter leaned towards iconoclastic R&B and Hip-Hop portraits, which I them mixed with known and unknown cultural symbols. By doing this, I was able to give the work a personal and reflective tone," he continued.
In February, Francis’ works were featured at the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance (BADD!), which was the very first solo exhibit in 6 years for the artist.
According the New York Times, "BADD! is a "funky and welcoming performance space that is dedicated to presenting cutting-edge and challenging works by emerging and established choreographers, writers, directors, dancers, performers and artists.
In addition to promoting Apanamae Productions, Francis looks to showcase his body of work, which includes brand new pieces, to patrons and businesses abroad. Other exhibitions are scheduled to take place in the future as well.
"What is most evident in the portfolio are the differences and concentrations of themes and processes. Each year I choose a new path that is geared toward my rewarding and enriching development as an artist," stated Francis.
If you would like to learn more about Apanamae Productions, or Ricardo Francis, you can visit the company website at www.apanamae.com.