Ariel Jackson

Return to Artist List



Artist Statement

My artistic arsenal includes samples of music, images from television, family photos, claymation, and my own body and voice. Between my tools and research I aim to create meditations on different aspects of the blues: who made them, the circumstances that created them and how they are experienced. Each work explores the conditions of the blues–which evolved out of the trauma of slavery in the nineteenth century–as a state of being and as one of the most lasting cultural legacies of black culture.

“The blues was conceived…if not as the result of a personal or intellectual experience, at least as an emotional confirmation of, and reaction to, the way in which most Negroes were still forced to exist in the United States.”

-Blues People by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)

I approach these traditional themes with an Afrofuturist perspective that combines the aesthetics of science fiction and fantasy with traditional African American culture and music. Viewers are guided through The Origins of the Blues by Confuserella, my performative alter ego. Confuserella provides a firsthand account of the journey from her fictional home of Panfrika to Earth, a voyage she undertook to unpack and understand the blues. As a native of New Orleans and a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, there are clear parallels between my path and Confuserella’s. What Are the Blues and Blues Note: Feelings 01 document Confuserella’s journey. Her notes, thoughts and impressions are made visible through a sequence of projected images we can imagine she collected to document “the blues”.

“The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged gain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism. As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”

-Ralph Ellison (Author of The Invisible Man)

Recently I’ve researched how politics, acts, and intent of discrimination caused black farmers in America to lose their farmland during the mid-late 1900s. My grandfather inherited land from his father and together he and my grandmother amassed nearly 300 acres of farmland they owned and/or sharecropped in rural Louisiana during the 1950s. Then in the 1980s-1990s they lost nearly all of their land and were left with only 40 acres. Through research and art installation I created The Blues Data Crop : The Gains and Loss of Black Farmers in America.

In attempts to reveal what might have factored into what caused my family to lose their farmland I highlighted notes from Pete Daniel’s “Dispossession: Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights.” Using my 1970s typewriter I printed each note onto muslin and sewed them onto fabric found and collected from my grandmother. In addition to the sculpture I created quilts using silkscreen and fabric collage. I intentionally produced screenprints where printing a clear image was a 30-50% chance resulting in either a clear image, ghost-like image, or blobs of black ink. Where images are unrecognizable I rely on my memory of the photo to find aspects to highlight with fabric.


Born 1991 New Orleans LA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

BFA The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art 2013


The Blues Data Crop: The Gains and Loss of Black Farmers in America Wave Hill,Bronx, NY -Sept.
Strange Landscapes Arlington Arts Center Arlington VA June-October
Focus: Ariel Jackson The Studio Museum in Harlem Harlem NY MarchJune
The Bronx Speaks: Our Home Bronx Art Space Bronx NY March 2016
Black Matter: Speak Out Bronx Art Space Bronx NY JanuaryFebruary
Intersecting Imaginaries No Longer Empty Bronx NY November December


The Black Fantastic The Schomburg Center Harlem NY October 2015
Bronx Biennial The Bronx Museum Bronx NY July 2015

American Beauty Susan Inglett Gallery NY NY Dec Feb

Culture, History + Video Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Detroit, MI Nov


2016-Van Lier Visual Artist Fellowship Wave Hill Bronx, NY -Feb October
2016-2015- Keyholder Residency Program Lower East Side Printshop, September.
2015- BHQFU Summer Emerging Artist Residency Program Bruce High Quality Foundation University NY NY -June August.
2013-2014- Artist In the Marketplace The Bronx Museum NY NY.


Featured Artist, Extra Earth Analog, Pastelegram Print Issue #4, March 2014.
Feature Artist,The Moving Image + Art “Can We Talk About This? ” Artist Talk,March 2014.
Guest Post “ Homey Don’t P lay That ” KindAesthetic Blog-March 2014


Synthetic Zero : Creative Technology Week Bronx Art Space, Bronx NY, May 4. 2016
Impermanent Landscapes Terrault Contemporary Gallery, Baltimore MD, April 24, 2016
Fall Open House The Schomburg Center, Performance, Harlem NY, October 7, 2015
The Origin of the Blues Afrofuturismtns Conference at The New School, Performance NY NY, May 2015


“Spectral Projections: Color, Race & Abstraction in the Moving Image” by Maria Christina.
Villasenor ‘Abstract Video Art’ Gabrielle Jennings, University of California Press, September 2015.
‘American Beauty’ New York Times, Art In Review, Jan 23 2014

The Origin of the Blues, May 2015


What Are The Blues, October 2015


Blues Note: Feelings 01, 2015