As a child, there was no mention or representation of Black artists in Palm Springs, CA-based muralist Brittney S. Price’s school curriculum. So she became what she did not see. Since then, Price has been grateful for the opportunities to push Black culture forward in a town that only had 12 high school students in an entire high school. Brittney was one of them, and the artist we see today is not the same artist from yesterday. By sharing her love for art and passion for life through her murals, we see a future where Black creativity is a necessity for a thriving community through public art in the form of mural making.
Price gives the world an opportunity to see who she is as a person and an artist by creating from a place of vulnerability. “Murals are my favorite projects to do,” she said. Over the course of her life art was a coping mechanism to escape the daily trial and tribulations Black women go through daily. She tries to be the artist she needed as a child through her specialization in portraiture. “I ran from art for most of my life… I had to build up the bravery to be an artist,” she added. Taking a chance on herself was the best creative decision she has made to date.
Price rejects the term “self-taught artist” and describes herself as a “community taught artist” whose practice is molded through the knowledge passed down from other community members. “I knew I wanted to be an artist,” she said. The last three years have been particularly transformative for her practice. “My [lack] of technical skills are no longer a hindrance…I’m like ‘LET’S GOO’,” Price explained with glee. Murals, as of recently, have become her favorite form of artistic expression.
“It is my intent to express both the high and lows of the Black experience… my work is the discovery of a Black woman learning and processing her culture in real time.”
Price’s creations touch on themes connected to the human experience and take inspiration from those who “think freely, boldly, and express with love.” She focuses on making art for art’s sake and is able to see herself outside of the “Black artist” label. “I think the reasoning is flawed and diminutive…why isn’t art made by white artists called white art?” She postulated. In an effort to shift the narrative placed on Black artists – Price takes the focus off herself and lets the spraypaint do the talking. “It is my intent to express both the high and lows of the Black experience… my work is the discovery of a Black woman learning and processing her culture in real time,” she said proudly.
Art is generally an interpersonal experience in quiet galleries and exclusionary art institutions. Murals allow everyone to engage, connect, and create with works of art. Through her mural practice, she tries to paint portraiture images that’ll hopefully resonate with the community and inspire others. In an effort to expand their practice, Brittney can be seen making the rounds in the Los Angeles art scene. The scene has been kind to her overall but that does not excuse the misogyny she usually experiences in a male dominated industry. “When I do art shows or exhibit my work, I could be standing next to my work and the nearest male presenting body would get credit for my work,” Price said.
Without a doubt, social media has changed the landscape for opportunities for artists. What was once out of reach is now at our fingertips. This new freedom comes with new responsibilities that are not lost on Price. “With the rising of social media culture I feel like there is an emphasis on ego versus a search for truth, vulnerability, and transparency… It’s a bizarre thing but, ego is what kill(s) the artist,” she said. Inspired by truth and discovery of truth – Price is using the lived experiences of Black creatives such as Jill Scott to James Baldwin to Nina Simone and Maya Angelou. The virtues typically found in Black creative icons from music to literature has been a consistent source of inspiration for her. “They create not for their ego but to leave treasures behind for the next generation to enlighten and enrich others…I’m inspired by that,” she added.
“With the rising of social media culture I feel like there is an emphasis on ego versus a search for truth, vulnerability, and transparency… It’s a bizarre thing but, ego is what kill(s) the artist.”
Throughout the six years of being an artist, Brittney’s art has had the privilege of being shown in 19 exhibitions in three years. That ultimately led to her desire to create larger images for a wider audience. Today we can find Brittney participating in art shows across socal from LA to Palm Springs. “I feel an obligation to be a vessel to tap into the ancestry of what Black lineage means and what it means to be present in the moment. I do believe that the answer to liberation will be found in an art form then transcribed for others to understand,” she said.. You can find Brittney and more about her work on Instagram @BrittneySPrice.