How This Tennessee Artist Is Creating Inspirational Artwork For Museums Worldwide
By DeAnna Taylor
“When I realized that money wasn’t the end all be all, something ignited in me,” Genesis The Greykid told Travel Noire.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Genesis moved around a lot due to his father being in the military. His mom literally drove from Atlanta to give birth because Chattanooga was her favorite city at the time.
His family never lived in the same place longer than a few years and it made it hard for him to develop long-lasting friendships. But, it also developed in him a fondness of people that inspired to begin writing poetry at an early age.
After a teacher spoke on how talented he truly was, it pushed him to take his creative passions to a new level. He started by putting his poetry to music which allowed him to form relationships with some pretty major people within the industry.
He eventually went to work as an engineer, but knew deep down that wasn’t his passion. He decided to quit and pursue his dream full-time.
“I rented out my house and couch surfed for about a year. It was hard at times, but I didn’t care because I wanted to pursue this.”
In addition to poetry, Genesis also had a love for drawing. Once the fire was ignited, he found a way to marry the two.
“The more I aligned with my own internal compass, the better my art became,” Genesis said. “I finally knew I was in the right place doing something that was true to me.”
During his first exhibition, which was held in Chattanooga, Genesis sold more than $12,000 worth of art. Influential people from across the courtly flew in just to get their hands on his pieces. The second exhibition, held near Skid Row in Los Angeles, brought even bigger names. But, Genesis even allowed for people who may have been living on Skid Row to come in as well.
“I had billionaires and the less fortunate in one place, bonding over art. I knew that by allowing them to come in, the exposure could do something great for them.”
That show positioned Genesis in a great way and he has since held exhibitions in major cities across the country. His work even reached a few producers that work closely with Kanye West. They reached out and asked Genesis to design the artwork for one of his last secular singles titled “Brothers.”
The song was released only through a T.V. show and has since been unreleased to not coincide with Kanye’s current gospel album.
“I booked a staycation at The Dwell Hotel in Chattanooga and really cleared my mind and set my intentions on creating work for the song,” Genesis said.
The piece has become so popular that galleries around the world are hoping for the chance to feature it. While visitors view the art, they will also be able to listen to the song (which will only be played in these galleries), in hopes that they draw inspiration to pay homage to their “brothers.” There will be an interactive component where people can write notes or letters to special men in their life.
As of now, there are plans to have the exhibit in London and Detroit. Plans are still being made as to what other cities will be included.
What makes Genesis’ story even more significant, is that despite traveling all over, he refuses to fly on an airplane.
“When I was younger I wanted to be a fighter pilot. But, something somewhere in life shook me to the point that I became terrified to fly.”
Instead, he takes trains, cars, or even boats to get to his shows around the world. He doesn’t mind because for him it’s more time to be creative along the way. His journey to London can take anywhere from 7-12 days by boat.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.