Using the creative process to break down stereotypes

McColl Center Alumni Artist and Innovation Institute artist facilitator Bayeté Ross Smith is attempting to breakdown stereotypes through his creative process. 

As an artist and educator, Bayeté creates works of art that expand a viewer’s thinking about specific groups of people, social issues, and social interactions. 

In his series Our Kind of People, Bayeté uses portraiture to capture several images of the same individual dressed in different attire. 

“The subjects in this work are dressed in clothing from their own wardrobes,” reveals Bayeté. “The outfits are worn in a style and fashion similar to how that person would wear them in daily life.”

“Devoid of any context for assessing the personality of the individual in the photograph, the viewer projects her or his own cultural biases on each photograph,” he adds.

Bayeté’s creative process is critical in developing his thought-provoking work.

“Identity forms the basis of all human interactions and social systems. I use it as a way to study and deconstruct ideas of beauty, value, and reciprocity that permeate our history and social systems. A key element in this exploration is looking at how identity is performed by the individual and then perceived by others.”

“My work is interdisciplinary, using the medium best suited for each idea. I create photographs, videos, sculptures, performances, and multimedia works, all of which intend to highlight our personal investment in the identities we create for ourselves and others.”

Developing a creative process takes innovative and critical thinking. Learn more about Bayeté’s process and work from his February 2015 TEDxMidAtlantic talk: