Art Consulting had the honor of interviewing Claudia Aziza
Gibson-Hunter. Aziza combines printmaking and assemblage with
painting to create mixed media, political art. She earned a MFA
in printmaking from Howard University and went on to develop one
of the first Non-Toxic printmaking studios in the country. Later,
she became the co-founder of Black Artists of DC.
Azizas works have been exhibited New York, Texas, Argentina
and Poland, and a part of the Washington DC Art Bank and John
A. Wilson permanent collections.
Q: Where were you born?
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: I was born in Philadelphia
Pennsylvania. My mother was a person steeped in culture: dance,
literature, art, theatre, and music flowed through my household.
I didnt have a choice art was always a part of my
Q: When did you first discover your
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: My grandfather acted
as a curator at the Pyramid Club House in Philadelphia, a gathering
place for Black professionals. My mother, Jessie Gibson, loved
art and created spaces for creativity. We made our own Piñatas
for our fantastic Christmas parties. We had fashion shows, plays,
dance classes and African American History classes going on right
in our home. The children in our neighborhood were a part of this
wonderful circus. To top it off, my father, Charles Gibson, loved
to design and remodel apartments, and he asked my opinion about
the renovations he was planning.
Ive been exposed to the design of living space since I was
a toddler. My neighborhood was Black, struggling to be middle
class, and rich in creative energy. The creativity just flowed.
It was a seamless part of life.
Q: What type of education did you receive?
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: The old story
I was the classroom artist. I attended Saturday school at the
Lea School arts center as a child, Jeannette Banks, a wonderful
Black artist and arts administrator in Philadelphia, had a program
at Moore College of Art, and I was a part of that too. Overbrook
High School had a art magnet program which I entered in eighth
grade, and went on to the Parkway Program, where I was encouraged
to take a college class in drawing anatomy at Philadelphia College
of Art (now P). From there I entered Tyler College of Art, but
transferred to the main campus of Temple University searching
for a connection to my cultural heritage which was not available
at Tyler. Next, off to Howard University for graduate school.
Since then, I have continually been taking classes, workshops,
and been involved in residencies to constantly expand both knowledge
and skills. Lastly, I share what I learn so I have taught [classes]
from Pre-K through graduate school.
Q: How would you describe your art
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: In process. I am growing,
learning, expanding. I have been influenced by everyone from Charles
White to Gaugan, from Nancy Spiro to Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam,
and Jeff Donaldson, the list is massive. I look at everything,
everything! In process, that is all I can say my work is
Q: Have you always done the type of
art you are doing now?
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: No. I have moved from
figurative, to nonfigurative, conceptual, to totally abstract.
I am on the move.
Q: What materials do you use to produce your work?
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: Everything. I paint with
brushes, and brooms too. Much of my background is in printmaking,
and painting, but I love to incorporate found objects at times.
Whatever it takes to express the concept and emotion.
Q: Do you see yourself as a political
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: Yes. All art is political.
Even when I take a break from the overt political work, that is
a political decision.
Q: Is there a specific statement you
are trying to make with your work?
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter: The Suspicious
Activities Series can be confrontational. There are over
40 pieces in this collection, so this exhibition is just a sampling
of the work. I dont want to tell people what to think, I
do want to encourage people to both think and feel.
Q: Lastly, any words of advice for
Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunters: I am going to tell aspiring
artists to do what no one will tell them to do research
this business! Get to know what it is, really is, its quirks,
nuances, and its rules. It will surprise you. Then, if you
are still interested, go for it with everything youve got.
See, learn, create, practice. Be open to all types of art, from
everywhere in the world.