Listen to this article here
Eddye K. Allen, a 35-year-old artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has used her art to transform the Greenwood community.
Allen has been doing art throughout her life but did not start taking it seriously until after college when she created her business “Expressions of Eddye K.” in 2011.
Allen was inspired by her elementary art teacher to get involved in art. Her favorite kind of art is silhouette art because “it is a take on society today, how black and white depend on each other and we dance in the gray area to find the bigger picture. Up close, they are abstract and chaotic, and when you back away, they are defined and in focus to show clear painting. Almost as real as a photograph.”
Coming up on the Centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Eddye K. did a showcase inside an art gallery, where she was given the name “Black Wall Street Artist.” Through her artwork, she wants people to see “where we came from before, and we are working our way back to make it that much better.”
Her Business: “Expressions of Eddye K.”
Her business is known as “Expressions of Eddye K.”, where she creates drawings, paintings, and mixed media artworks to capture the essence of society. Through employing popular themes such as family structure, sexuality, and media factors, she centers on the purpose of ‘public space,’ precisely spaces where people can do as they please: the non-private space and the non-privately owned space.
Allen’s paintings focus on architecture and essential living elements. To understand Tulsa, she explores several overlapping themes and designs to appeal to the community. According to her site, “several recurring subject matters that can be recognized, such as the relation with pop culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.”
Allen’s creations introduce pop and mass culture through the use of written and drawn symbols to formulate “a world where light-heartedness rules and rules are undermined.”
Allen’s designs have been sold, conveyed, and commissioned across the country. Some celebrities that have purchased her artwork include Danny Glover, Nikki Giovanni, John Lithgow, Ginuwine, and Musical Artist MO3.
Her favorite work is “3 sisters”, the first piece brought by Steven Parker II, an NFL football player. Through this artwork, Allen could push her artistic abilities and believe in herself.
Challenges and Obstacles Allen Endured Along the Way
To get to where she is today, Allen overcame many obstacles, such as “Accepting that people see art differently. What one may perceive as brilliant, another may see as mediocre. Painting in black, white, and gray has been different as well. Some only want color, but the colors aren’t always an exact match for their home or office.”
The biggest challenge of being an artist was for Allen to own her worth.
“The object is to have more art in homes and businesses around the world, but staying true to myself and my prices have been an internal struggle.”
Black Wall Street Forever
Allen has a series dedicated to Black Wall Street, titled “Black Wall Street Forever”, which was established to appeal to and inspire the next generation of Tulsans. Through this collection, Allen desires “to water the roots of what’s long been buried as we celebrate  years since the devastating loss of our crown jewel.”
From her artwork, Allen is shining a light on the Greenwood community for individuals to remember the prosperous place when Tulsa, Oklahoma, was enriched in Black success. Before the Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa was a thriving city, home to wealthy Black entrepreneurs, business owners, and residents.
Despite the Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsans still prove that their courage, fight, and spirit still prevail. Even amid all destruction, Blacks still have optimism for a better future. This optimism inspired Allen to make this series, conveying African Americans’ pursuit, fight and perseverance.
She draws pictures of things in Tulsa that have been lost and recreates them in her style of artwork, giving the community a piece of missing history.
Impact Art has on the Community
Art can significantly affect society, as Allen views it as “a mental break that takes people away from the realities of today and puts them in a world to feel and see beyond their immediate surroundings.”
Allen enjoys being an artist because of the different people she meets and how she can inspire others. For upcoming artists, Allen gives a piece of advice: “Art is what you feel instead of what you think people want to see; your passion can be felt.”