upfromsumdirt is a visual artist, graphic designer, and poet from Louisville but currently residing in Lexington, Ky and is the alter (or altar!) ego of Ronald Davis. an autodidactic always in search of growth, brothadirt has been the recipient of Kentucky’s Al Smith 2010 Award for Visual Art and won awards at the African American Art Exhibition at Actors Theatre of Louisville. his art has been galleried and exhibited regionally in the states of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and as a part of Tewodross Melchishua’s traveling art exhibit MCs, MICS, AND METAPHORS; his work has also been featured on the covers of African American Review and Tidal Basin Review and he has created book cover designs for Crystal E. Wilkinson (The Birds Of Opulence and the reissue covers for Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street), Dr. Adam J. Banks (Digital Griot), Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (The Glory Gets), Keith Gilyard (The Next Great Old-School Conspiracy), Makalani Bandele (Hell-Fightin’), Bernard Clay (English Lit), as well as for his own chapbook collections (Caul & Response, Argus House Press 2015 and Tangerine Tubman, Left-Handed JuJu Press 2016). upfromsumdirt’s art or poetry has been featured online at Connotations Press, About Place Journal, New Southerner, Accents Radio, and Nat Creole Magazine.
sumdirt’s latest chapbook, Chiaroscuro Vitae, was recently published by Radical Paper Press in 2019.
copies of Chiaroscuro Vitae still remain and are now free for those who ask (but don’t feel disinclined to contribute a small donation to upfromsumdirt’s PayPal…
sadly, all other collections are currently out of print, but a pdf of Tangerine Tubman is freely available on the publications page.
and now, the artist’s statement:
basically, i make shit up because “gonna jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton” is an absolutely horrible lullaby to leave to our children.
my goal is to fill the gaps in black creation caused by white supremacy’s need to lessen our narratives…. this isn’t militancy. it’s an affirmation of the human spirit.
my chiaroscuro vitae, my rainbow excrement, this abstrack africana: brothadirt’s aesthetical approach to creation.
enslavement disrupted our creative continuity in every advancing aspect of culture: political, social, scientific, mythology, etc.
let’s fill those voids with narratives that speak of us from us; our own cherished romanticisms. our own systemic privileges that empower all that we are.
this how we form nations of our own: advancing a love for the sound of our voices.