Artist StatementI create art to inspire change. I ‘am inspired by public figures that use their platforms to make a difference in the world. My art focuses on societal issues that can be explored through a visual arts perspective. In this body of work I appropriate Franklin, the silenced African American male from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts Gang. In a time of great turmoil, I decided to use Franklin as a tool to paint the picture of the American black male experience of 2015-2016. This series is composed of works highlighting various topics such as male identity, masculinity, public education and social issues. I felt there were things I could explore through Franklin that allow people to hear what’s being said as opposed to whose saying it.
Jerrell Gibbs, is a multifaceted visual artist, Creative Community Fellow of the National Arts Strategies, lecturer and educator. His most notable paintings incorporate cartoon imagery; mainly "Franklin" from Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” Gang. In a time of great turmoil, Gibbs uses Franklin as a tool to paint the picture of the American black male experience of 2015-2016. Gibbs's paintings are featured in multiple galleries, coffee shops, book stores, and numerous high-end private collectors homes in various cities. His most notable exhibit took place at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in downtown Baltimore. Jerrell Gibbs participation in The Harlem Fine Arts Show presented an international platform for the young artist, selling a piece that would be a part of a collection in Europe.
Gibbs is renowned for his social commentary on issues such as male identity, masculinity, politics, stereotypes and social issues. His passion for raising awareness on social issues that affect the community is transparent through all of his artwork. His use of dialect integrated with symbolic elements from many different cultures is a way to encourage diversity while building social capital. Jerrell likes to leave messages for deeper consideration.