Location, Pose, and Lighting - 10 Questions with Hip-Hop Emcee and Action Figure Photographer Arsun F!st
D'Angelo Samuels was born into a Navy family in Panama, a country that bridges Costa Rica and Columbia. Samuels was introduced to comic books in 3rd grade after his father brought home issues that he read while on deployment. It was through these colorfully illustrated pages that Samuels learned how to read. He still remembers the first comic book that he read from cover to cover, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Volume 8, in which Spider-Man found the alien symbiote that gave him a black costume that would eventually become Venom and then later Carnage.
While attending middle school in Hawaii, Samuels delved deeper into his love of comics, evolving from a reader to a collector. It was at this time that he also started competing with a break dancing crew, which introduced him to hip-hop. As a freshman at South Carolina State University, Samuels eventually stepped up to the mic and developed his artistry as an emcee. In 2006, He signed with Domination Recordings, an Orlando based record label, and released four albums before the label dissolved in 2010.
On November 29, 2010, Jacksonville native Melody Jackson was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a slow growing benign tumor that develops on the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. Branches of this nerve directly influence your body's balance and sense of hearing. As the tumor grows, it creates pressure that often results in hearing loss, ringing in your ear, dizziness, and loss of balance.
Jackson underwent her first surgery to remove the tumor on May 25, 2011. Going into the surgery, Jackson thought that she'd be free to return to her normal life once the tumor was removed. The damage was done, however, and even after surgery, hearing didn't return to her right ear. Jackson continued to suffer from vestibular imbalance as well as nystagmus and oscillopsia, two visual disorders. She also received the additional diagnosis of chiari malformation, structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum - the part of the brain that controls balance.
As a result of these maladies, Jackson's day-to-day life was impacted beyond measure. She began to feel like life was imploding. Jackson was no longer able to drive and tasks like standing and walking were impossible without the aid of a rolling walker, which restricted her mobility even further.
Marsha Hatcher, a South Georgia born visual artist, has lived and created in Jacksonville for the past 25 years. With the preferred mediums of acrylics, oils, and sometimes wood, Hatcher paints expressionistic portraits that adroitly capture a range of gripping emotions conveyed through the faces and bodies of black children, women, and men. Her work will be on exhibit in Through Our Eyes 2018, which opens with Family Fun Day on Saturday, February 3 at the Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville's historic neighborhood of LaVilla.
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Through Our Eyes. The group show was the first time Hatcher exhibited her work in Jacksonville after moving to the city in 1989. Since rooting herself in Northeast Florida, she has submitted work for exhibition to 20 of the 25 years that the show has been in production.