Eric Taunton, Correspondent
The JSU Art Department hosted the work of artist Joey Slaughter and his exhibit Don’t Yuck My Yum at Hammond Hall on Jan. 14. Don’t Yuck My Yum, a phrase from a podcast that he doesn’t remember the name of, encourages people to show respect towards others and their differences.
“It basically means if you don’t like what I like then don’t hate on it,” Slaughter said. “But for me, it’s a respect thing. We should just respect other people’s differences.”
Slaughter’s art has a psychedelic feel to it, using distorted faces to illustrate what is going on in someone’s mind when they’re communicating.
“Everything I do is based on communicating with other people,” said Slaughter. “So, for instance, if you were to say something to me, what does that look like?”
He draws inspiration from the world around him including the conversations he’s had and songs that he’s listened to, though one of his biggest inspirations for his art is his experiences with racial disparity.
Slaughter grew up in a town with a big racial divide that he wasn’t aware of until he got older. “I grew up as a privileged kid, I didn’t realize other people weren’t.”
He said that he was inspired to educate others about racial privilege by his black friends. “I think a lot of white people go to their black friends and say ‘I’m really not like that’ or ‘I’m really open-minded’ but they’re not as open-minded as they think,” said Slaughter.
“It’s calling attention to those disparities and also trying to understand why that happened and who I am now,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter’s The Punch Factor Series, for example, is a collection of 18 paintings based on what Trevor Noah, talk-show host and comedian, said in his podcast.
“In one of his episodes he said, ‘we need to go back to the punch factor,’” said Slaughter. On social media, a lot of people go back and forth on a screen. Some people need to be punched in the face.”
Slaughter said that the punch factor is when people argue and debate in real life instead of behind a screen. “If I said something that offended you, you’d have the opportunity to say ‘what’d you say?’ and I had the chance to either run or stay and say ‘I said…’ and then you’d deal with it.”
The art department also featured the work of guest artist Jaime Aelavanthara – a fine arts photographer that uses cyanotype in her pieces, a process typically used when making blueprints. Common themes in Aelavanthara’s work are the human experience and humanity’s connection with nature.
The works of Slaughter and Aelavanthara will be on display in Hammond Hall and the Roundhouse from Jan. 14 – February 4.