For Mark “Kurupt” Stoddart, success in creating art is a journey, not a destination. Noted for his painting and graphic design, the Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist is consciously leveraging his creations as a formidable catalyst for positive change in the community.
Though his well-received LIWI68 T-shirt campaign — which features brand slogan “LIVE IT WEAR IT” — Stoddart is intent on building amovement, one that is as passionate as it is community-focused. Highly reverential to the historical Black icons that have come before us, Stoddart is a visual communicator beholden to an inclusive and interconnected philosophy that offers up positivity, empowerment and social activism as its chief tenets.
Q: What is the meaning behind the LIWI mission statement?
A: The name is Live IT Wear IT but I’ve taken it as an acronym now. For myself it’s more of a personal journey — anything that we put out therewe have to stick to it. I’ve always been (creating) T-shirts. It’s the most convenient way to illustrate who I am. The blessing of this is to always find new ways to express myself through art.
Q: You recently reached out to (iconic Olympian and social activist) Dr. John Carlos and accompanied him on an overseas tour to promote theLIWI brand. What was the experience like?
A: It’s like what Manifesto stands for — whatever you believe in with good intentions and purpose. It’s been a great progression in my workand using the community to showcase that work. And it’s come full circle with the connection to Dr. Carlos. It’s one of those surreal moments. I’mactually collaborating with an iconic legend. [He’s] someone who actually understands the brand…It’s actually one of the biggest honours and one that I would never believe that could happen.
Q: What can the people expect from you at Manifesto?
A: My (Voices from the Past installation at Manifesto) centres around paying homage to those black athletes who struggled tirelessly for equality both on and off the field during segregation times, paving the way for the sports athletes of today. My artwork depicts these sports figures at the height of their careers, when they amazingly broke colour barriers and became highly regarded and celebrated North American icons at a time when they were still treated as second-class citizens.
My artwork was designed with the intention of capturing the essence of 15 legendary sports figures from the past. The athletes depicted within these pieces include Jackie Robinson, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. better known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Dr. Carlos, Julius Erving and Bill Russell.
I selected various newspaper clippings pulled directly from SPORT Magazine archives, from as early as 1946. I produced imaginative digital art pieces, which capture the true essence and life of the legendary athletes, within the fine print of SPORTS Magazines. Voices from the Past combines my love for graphic design, silkscreen and mix media on canvas.
Let us use the present to embrace our past, and in doing so, plan for a better future. — Ryan B. Patrick