Kelly and Maze, oil on canvas, 40x30, 2001
In 2001 I received a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. I used this grant to paint a series of portraits of local Washingtonians: Joe Ruffin (artist), Anna Maria (restaurant owner and entrepreneur), Kelly and Maze (Twins Jazz owners), Mohammad Ali (local TV host), Peter Fraize (jazz saxophonist), and Federal Jazz Commission (dixieland band). I painted the musicians from the many sketches I did during their performances; they lent me their music as the sound tracks for the paintings. The rest of the people set for me in my studio. I recorded them speaking as I painted them.
The sound quality isn't great unfortunately; this was before iphones, so I used just a basic recorder.
Kelly and Maze Tesfaye are the founders and owners of the Twins Jazz club in Washington DC. They originally are from Ethiopia and wore their traditional Ethiopian dresses to pose for me for this portrait.