Genesis the Greykid, (Russell McGee Jr), is one of the few emerging Fine Art Poets in the world. His art has been purchased by diverse patrons including Pat (Chance the Rapper’s Manager), Bmimms (CEO of Mogul Management), and Ted Alling (Founder of Access America Transport VC Lampost Group, and Dynamo). He even had a highly successful gallery exhibit in Los Angeles where he had celebrity guests including Tesla founder Elon Musk, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry and former NBA star Scottie Pippen.
Most recently, his Fine Art caught the eye of Audrey Schilt, an amazing fine artist & designer known for helping build the legendary Ralph Lauren brand, serving as Collection of Design VP for 22 years. She has also sketched and illustrated for Kennedy Onassis, Princesses Diana, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Julianne Moore, and many other celebrities.
Before coming out as an artist, you were a ghost writer—can you tell me a little bit about that time in your life?
It was a great experience for sure….and it’s still something I’m asked to do. But at that time when I first started (around 2009/10) I didn’t have any other avenues of creative expression I could monetize. So I think after doing it so much, I got burned out of telling other peoples stories and gravitated back toward telling my own. But now that I’m doing so well with my poetry, creative workshops, and especially fine art, ghost writing for others is more pleasant because it’s no longer a necessity to pay bills, etc. I don’t have to take anything I don’t wanna take. I don’t have to do anything I don’t wanna do….really a blessing.
How did that lead you into fine art?
I’ve always drawn in school, and loved art and color….fine art for me was a natural progression of expressing this wonder and soul I felt inside of me, that lived more fully outside of a beat. There are things I wanted to say through a painting that lived outside of the microphone. But language, and music, and lyrics are in my blood. If you lean in close enough to my paintings you can still hear the music, but as a poet, this evolution in my humble opinion was a necessary part of my growth. Toward my highest self.
You’ve produced music, fine art and poetry, what art do you most identify with, and why?
Poetry. I feel my purpose, in many ways, is to become a poem. Something that reflects the divine, that brings attention to interiority, beauty, love, the wildness of being a human being, along with the mystery and otherness. That hidden wholeness…. there. In that place, when I write poetry, I can visit that place, that infinity within. Interpreting those feelings into Art is what creates the perfect marriage within who I am and how I’d like that to touch people. Music is fun too… but poetry & fine art. That’s where I’m most free.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Whenever I feel the itch, I jump… I do it. So their isn’t a single medium I’ve wanted to do, and haven’t.
What themes do you pursue in your artwork?
Whatever strikes me most at the time…. Right now, it’s exploring those utopias of presence and being. I think those two themes are important for me and where I am in life. I spent a long time living within them, now over the last few years, I’ve been mastering the expression of these in art.
Do you have any creative routines or rituals you practice on a regular basis?
Tea, prayer, and walking. Those 3 things are definitely my routines/rituals.
In your opinion, what role does the artist have in society?
The artist to me, is more similar to a monk than any other person. I’m still exploring why I feel this way. I could say we serve as mirrors, I’ve heard other artist make this analogy and it makes a lot of sense. I think I’m still learning our role. As creatives, as artists…. maybe I’ll create something years from now that says it best. 🙂
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Not sure I understand this question….a trained eye though, if I think I know what you’re asking. The eye is the mother of intimacy. What we pull in helps shape our worlds. Artist and creatives can see so much beauty in the smallest things, I believe the continued training of that “eye” shapes the outlook…. one could argue that it even shapes the life.
You’ve previously defined your artwork as “PoAnguardia”—can you explain the meaning behind that?
It’s a poetic way of expressing new thresholds unfolding in the internal and/or external, through fine art. Conflating the word Poem or Poesia & Avanguardia.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve ever created?
It’s a piece titled “Breathe”. While writing this poem, I was going through a rough patch. Many things were changing around me and I started to feel alone. I was moving places, I had too much on my plate creatively with short turn arounds, the loss of a family member, and a company back out last minute on a really big art commission (like, very big………..this thing was HUGE).
I started to feel as if I was in some desert, praying for the sky to pardon me from this burden with any kind of relief…. a cloud, some rain, anything. And through writing this, I started to smile, and what felt heavy, and hard, and overwhelming became light, and I started to see the blessing in having to go through this “desert”. It built a type of endurance and patience within me. Just a few weeks after writing this poem I sold 7 pieces of art and a great commission through an Engineering Software company. They asked for a piece of fine art poetry that reflected the mission of the company but also asked if I could lead them on a retreat and talk about process, being, and wellness…. crazy because just a few weeks before, I’m the one that needed a reminder about process, being, and wellness. If not for this appetite for poetry and art, I have no idea how I’d be able to find these hideaways within my own drama. In that piece, I wrote 1,000’s of words (about 12 different encouraging words repeating) with a bunch of hidden messages mixed in. It took awhile to create, but I wanted my body to go through the burden of this piece, the same way my body went through those long drawn out weeks where I felt alone, in a desert.
What’s the best advice you can give to other artists about creativity?
There are no rules….
you can do anything….
and pray with your feet moving.
I can’t tell you the difference writing things down makes in your life. Write it down, look at it, do it, then do more. Then write down the next thing, then do it, then do more, etc etc etc. Also, find something bigger than yourself and place yourself near it. This could be an ocean, a mountain, a large open space, breathe in deep…. look up at the sky, take time to listen, and watch, and marvel. Practice this. In my opinion, the most brilliant creative is always teaching through nature, and people, and love, and beauty… and with so much mystery behind it, I think it’s the most important things we can observe in life.
See Gensis the Greykid yourself at an exhibition in Tennessee (Chattanooga) on December 1st at 1601 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408 from noon to 10pm. He also has a collaborative show with Audrey Schilt in November in the Hamptons, NY, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.