39 Drawings
by Jason Innocent

"I’m the greatest living thing in the universal.
When I compare myself to Steve Jobs, Michelangelo, da Vinci Jesus and Picasso
Because there are my heroes."

As a youth in Brooklyn, Innocent promised himself that he would become a famous artist. What may have appeared as bluster in his teens was already on the way to accomplishment in his 20s. The early sketches included in this book reveal a curiosity to understand everything—from sports to the Beat Generation, from ancient art forms to black activists and history, from physics and math to anatomy. Similar to many of his generation, media appears to be a primary source of his learning.

With a talent for drawing, Innocent was born in NYC to Haitian-born parents. Like Picasso, who was of Spanish origin, both artists are willing to risk bucking the establishment. Their art reflects that 'fitting in' is not mandatory. Like Leonardo da Vinci, Innocent was infatuated with making lists, especially odd combinations with word plays. Flipping through these 39 drawings will convince you that even then Innocent’s talent lay just beneath the surface awaiting discovery. Innocent seems to enjoy the challenge of conception more than the completion of a project. Again, like da Vinci, his works have that unfinished look that makes one stand on tiptoe and swivel side-to-side to emotionally grasp what the artist meant and how it might have turned out.

A good way to approach Innocent's art is by quietly contemplating what inspired—or pained—the artist at the moment each of these 39 images were created. The collages of words and other representative imagery are crudely assembled; four sheets were removed from a spiral drawing tablet. Items crossed out abound. But readers will catch the intensity revealed by a young man who listed the names of Black leaders and sports heroes, committing them to memory deep within his muscles, bones, and mind.

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