The series "Before Mighty" is an ode to the Modern artists who laid a foundation through technical skill and social commentary. Using oil paint of canvas to create vibrant images, on thoughts of media control, self discovery, the black struggle in America, popular culture and growth as an artist, displaying a look backwards in art history and an appreciation for the visual foundation of Theo Mighty.
Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts, in film, audio and visual. When an artist appropriates, they take possession of something and make it their own. This is not theft or plagiarism because the artist intention is for the view to recognize the original image and appreciate the new perspective.
Hip Hop and art are merged together through the artist perspective. Hip Hop was born on the sampled sounds of looped grooves to keep the party going by a DJ, then followed with a new perspective through lyrics by an MC, creating a new genre built on a foundation of sampled music. The master paintings of Modern artist act as the looped groove that connects with the art enthusiasts. As a new view from an artist born in 1990 New York, with a love for the growth of Hip Hop and an appreciation for the historical display of art in the city, is manifested into a unique display of Theo Mighty's vision of everything "Before Mighty".
Born in 1990 in Queens New York, Theo was born in the height of Hip Hop's development. A huge influence for his artwork comes from the never ending growth of the genre, especially the heavy use of sampling, which caught his attention at an early age. Also, being fascinated by various cartoon illustrations he grew as an artist by recreating his favorite characters. This love for recreating characters was elevated from the process of sketching, drawing and blending with a pencil to recreate portraits of popular entertainers at age 12.
To be accepted into High School of Art & Design, a competitive artist portfolio was necessary, including still life drawings and original work. Painting was introduced in the first year, but Theo decided to major in Cartoon and Animation. Graduating with this major was not rewarding, as the tedious drawing became an unwanted labor. In 2008, a summer program at Pratt Institute reintroduced his passion for art through painting. The ability to mix colors and manipulate values opened his eyes to the art of painting, while the history of art showed him all of the possibilities.
Influenced by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, Theo began to experiment with watercolor, acrylic paint and oil paint to create original images featuring portraits of various Black entertainers. With an appreciation for paintings with powerful blends and depth in value, Theo chose the medium of oil paint to create the desired outcome. Both Hip Hop and Art have become reoccurring subjects, as Theo developed his own style and idea of blending the two. First group exhibition of work came in 2012, through a monthly event, Paint & Poetry. With a constant creation of new pieces and the opportunity to show the work, a personal style began to emerge. "Appropriation Art" became a part of Theo's oeuvre in 2013, as he began blending visuals of past art with his most current theories, winning the Elena Borstein scholarship for two appropriated pieces that same year.
Through his art, Theo sees that using his history as a platform gives him a Mighty foundation to stand on. This foundation allows him to stand tall on his thoughts and gained knowledge.