In the paintings of Troy Lamarr Chew II, a layered tribute to Hip-Hop

The paintings that make up “The Roof is on Fire” continue in this circuit. During the first months of lockdown, Chew was completing an artist residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito. “[The pandemic] felt unreal then, unlike later. We listened to music all the time, chills down our spines,” he said. As he moved away from that safe community environment, however, the gravity of the situation deepened, and Chew misses the feeling of losing himself when moving with other people or with crowds. As an alternative to that, there’s TikTok, a tiny alternative. And Chew doesn’t lose that most popular moves on TikTok are created by young black dancers and then taken over by the whites.

After deciding to explore specific dances on canvas, he decided to include, along with some current crazes like Extendcreated by Jalaiah Harmon, and SavageCreated by Keara “Keke” Wilson, older moves haven’t been picked up by cybertrends: dances like Tootsie Rollfrom the 69 Boys’ 1993 song of the same name, and Milly Rock, featured in a 2011 song by Terrance “2 Milly” Ferguson. Also included in Chew’s mix, to name a few, Mop, SpongeBob, Whip, Humpty, Hammer Time, Chicken Noodle Soup, Robot, Butterfly, Tom & Jerry, Snake and Fountain.

Chew didn’t care that the paintings took time and effort to figure out. “When I got to class, I stopped spelling things out too much,” he said. “If you really want to know, you’ll go looking for it.” He continued, “That’s what I find about fine art, or memorable art. It is just what it is and if you want to know more you go and do it. In other words, if you know, you know. And Chew will also continue to learn things for himself – he plans to explore vernacular from other parts of California and eventually other parts of the country. “I always considered myself a rapper in my head, because I was playing with words,” he said. “Rappers are like Picasso with their words. I feel like the opposite: I’m Jay-Z with the paintbrush.” In the paintings of Troy Lamarr Chew II, a layered tribute to Hip-Hop

Fry Electronics Team

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