"Blackbyrd" is Unique Board's latest featured story. It is a series of new beauty portraits by artist, CassiRenee. Having graced the faces of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Summer Rayne Oakes, and Michael Kenneth Williams, she's been contributing as a make-up artist to the Fashion and TV/Film industries since 2009. With present day curiosities presiding her, she embodies what any true artist with a voice yearns: to be heard (not only gazed at). Having graduated with a BFA studying Drawing & Sculpture and minoring in Art History at the top of her class from Barat College of DePaul University, she understands the components necessary in engaging an audience through any medium she chooses.
“BlackByrd” is the fusion of a variety of youthful influences and an on-going academic dialogue, placed within the context of a beauty shoot. Exploring 'beauty' metaphorically and on dark skin was ideal for her, as it brought attention to the outward expression of that beauty. She depicts a dark skin model confronting an honest reality — the message encourages us to consider the shoes of another. It embraces a part of history that contemporaries may still look at today and feel uncomfortable thinking about. The message also speaks to the current realities affecting the human race as a whole and those all over the world who are disregarded, dismissed and overlooked due to the color of their skin.
She asks the questions: How might it feel to be a person of color in a world like the one we live in today? Can portraits such as these go beyond a gaze-fest and become a form of experiential art? Will viewing something that visually compels or pleases us also redefine us? In a world like today, is it possible to shift from thinking critically to thinking more compassionately?
Get inspired by "Blackbyrd" and CassiRenee's artful commentary in the full feature here.
Credit: Creative Direction, Makeup, Hair, Design: CassiRenee using MAC Cosmetics (@lecassirenee)
Model: Geli Forlefac at Major Models NY (@pnutbutrgeli)