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Art In Sacramento: Tavarus Blackmon Embraces Playful, Vibrant Images To Explore Gun Violence, Black Identity

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Artist Tavarus Blackmon in front of red-and-blue stereoscopic prints featured in his “Exquisite Diversion” show.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Listen to artist Tavarus Blackmon discuss his work by clicking “play” above.

Artist Tavarus Blackmon exhibits under “Blackmonster,” a surname that speaks to his work’s exploration of challenging themes, such as fatherhood and identity, gun violence and growing up black in America.

“I want people to think about not only the importance of family,” he said during a recent interview at Verge Center for the Arts in downtown Sacramento, “but creating a political climate where we don't have to worry about young people being killed in school or or in the street by police officers.”

Blackmon, a recent MFA graduate and Provost Fellow at UC Davis and current resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, creates work across a variety of media — painting, video, digital and printmaking — and balances lively imagery and colors with somber issues like gentrification and debt.

“The work has serious repercussions,” he said, “[but] I think I also want it to be playful. I want to have a middle ground where I'm not telling people what to think, but providing them an opportunity to reflect.”

The opening reception of Blackmon’s “Exquisite Diversion” is Friday, February 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, VergeArt.com. It’s part of a double show with “The Amazing Black-Man,” artist Kumasi Barnett’s interpretation of the Marvel Comics’ character.   

Nick Miller

Senior Editor, News & Features

Nick Miller is an award-winning editor with more than 15 years of newsroom experience. Previously he was editor-in-chief of the East Bay Express in Oakland, and worked as an editor for 12 years at the Sacramento News & Review.  Read Full Bio 

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