Expectation should be a free thinking groove. That sounds about right. While doing an interview with our Artist of the Month, Yusuf Lateef, as a friend and a fan, I’d left expectation of a standard for a groove that beat formality to its death. For both of us had broken walls, his being more vocal about his art and mine being able to interact outside my fitted hat.
The cool part about interviewing Yusuf was discovering his dedication to the Old West End. One Toledo neighborhood that bares the most culture and history with a close rival being Polish villiage of Lagrange. The O.W.E area is also where we met to talk as he labored on a mural titled: “A view from Above.” A collaborative piece with the Old West End Neighborhood Initiative also known as OWENI, Neighborhoodworks and the Art Corner Toledo. And as of this articles print, will be on display on at the Pariesiann Cleaners.
Taking a few moments to look around his work space at the Collingwood Arts Center,a building living up to its purpose, the blood, sweat and tears of many projects lay on the floor. Paint splattered and baked into the wood, colored by sun rising through the tall windows. The school house atmosphere could be home to any practitioner. To the musician, it was like being in the belly of a legendary studio; mics, amps, mixers that aided in the craft of your favorite album. To the writer, its impression would be that of twists and turns and many leaps of faith your favorite author of the past carved into the air, just to create the makings of something you will read. To the painter, no space has ever been big enough, or round enough or condensed enough for you to find freedom is place that needs your touch. Indeed this building defines cool.
During this interview, which was more like two friends talking, you will hear an unpolished view of the future for Yusuf Lateef. He has a few projects to look out for this month such as a commemoration for the 40th year of the Fair Housing Project called “Martin for All” on display April 6th. Thirteen days later, with the contribution of other local artist Jerry Gray, Anthoney Mccarty, Jefferson Nelson and Josh Buyers, a show put on at the Toledo School for the Arts along with a fair housing march and mural dedication happening the same day. And in the fall he is starting graduate school at Bowling Green University with a focus on 2 dimensional study.
Hopefully you will discover how the mystique of an artist is as genuine as that friend that makes you smile upon sight. And for the people that need format to follow, after a few more tries and a few more lessons, the concrete will have dried and created a path for you to follow here at Glasscity419. Peace