Derrick Alexis Coard
„I was born in Brooklyn, NY in year 1981, being single-parented by my mother. At the age of 4,
I started to draw beyond a child’s natural ability. I was very gifted for my age. I had a fascination with New York City bridges at the time and I drew them quite well. My art evolved over the years as I’ve gotten older, and around my adolescence I started drawing images of bearded black men. Keep in mind that today my images are what you see all the time on African-American men. My art made me popular in Humanities and the Arts High School and well liked; art being my saving grace from GOD at the time, because I suffered from chronic severe depression as a youth. Which caused me to later on seek GOD in my youthful years, as life became more of a burden where I made several conscious and unconscious suicide attempts, I became infatuated with healing and spirituality.
This outlet in reading the word of GOD (reading religiously about GOD that loved me no matter who I was and what I did through His Son Jesus Christ) really liberated me causing me to take less medication for psychosis; loving myself-others with divine purpose. The bearded look is the image GOD favored speaking through Moses, for men not to use razors, I later found out. Since then,
I’ve been desiring a full beard and drawing men with beards in my years to come. I attended art classes to enhance my craft throughout my life. During high schoolI attended Saturday classes at F.I.T., summer school courses at Brooklyn Museum of Art, night classes at the Jamaica Art Center,
I received knowledge from Katherine Gibbs School (Associates Degree in Visual Communications), after high school and hands-on Saturday Studio sessions at HAI in the latter days of my life. My art is my voice for the human race. I use bearded black men as symbolic expression for possible change for the African-American male community. Expressing to them that we as a black male people can be victorious, achieving needed healing and unity. I have respect and honor towards black women too, plus I sometimes draw black women as a form of reverence to God’s creation. But my main focus is the male portion. My work is a testimonial that black men can be seen in a more positive, righteous light.“
Artist's statement for the Wynn Newhouse Awards, 2016
„In the current polarized landscape of American politics, where the aspirant Presidential candidate Donald Trump can call for a ban on Muslims traveling to the United States as the Black Lives Matter movement demands equality for African Americans in in the political process, Coard’s deeply empathetic work, which explores the complex questions of race, spirituality, sexuality, and identity, finds perhaps an even greater agency and sense of urgency.“
Curator Matthew Higgs about Coard's exhibition in Glasgow, 2016
Derrick Alexis Coard died unexpectedly in August of 2017.
The exhibition is a collaboration with White Columns, New York