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ON THE SPOT with Amadeus Purcell

Our 'ON THE SPOT ' interview series highlights individuals throughout the creative community for their contributions to art and culture. Putting these artists "on the spot" we created a space where creatives and innovators tap into the conversation to uplift and continue to inspire the creative community. Next up is...Amadeus Purcell.

Being creative isn't just a characteristic to describe Amadeus Purcell—it's who he is. At 25 years old, he is using his eclectic style to push boundaries in photography, fashion and music. Born in the small town of Reidsville, NC, Amadeus has allowed his creativity to take him places he would have never imagined. All of these spaces have heavily influenced his eccentric style.

Amadeus' photography captures moments in time that are both unique and timeless. He takes photos that capture raw emotions and allows you to see things from another perspective. His work has been featured on Vogue, WWD and Wonderland . 

When it comes down to it, Amadeus Purcell is a man of many talents who continues to push boundaries and create new ways for people to view the world.

What's the best thing you've done, simply because you were told you can't?

That’s a really great question. I would say choosing to be an artist was probably the best decision I've ever made. After high school, I was accepted and attended Morehouse College, one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the nation. While at Morehouse I discovered an emptiness that I thought the mystique of such a profoundly historic, celebrated, and revered institution could provide. Although I was making my family proud, I was living beneath my own purpose against the backdrop of what God had in store for me. More times than not, I was often met with opposition when I articulated my strong desire to be a successful artist (specifically in photography). However, that opposition has provided me with a sense of empowerment, leading me to success today.

What are you manifesting in 2023?

This year I have been manifesting concrete creativity. Which is a manifestation of a permanent marker in my field of work. I believe wholeheartedly that “faith without work is dead.” For that reason, I am intentional in creating space for others to see not only black people but the God that lives inside black people.

If you could build your dream creative team who would it be?

My creative dream team would easily consist of Pharrell Willams and Spike Lee. I have always admired how Pharrell’s creativity knows no bounds. His ability to vividly communicate his ideas through any medium is a superpower that will continue to inspire generations to come. Spike Lee is hands down one of the most treasured visionaries of all time. His dedication to telling the stories of black people is a testament to the importance of black artistry. Not only do we deserve to see ourselves represented in art, but we also deserve to be the ones telling our own stories. Thanks to their individual contributions, black artists like myself have a deeper appreciation for the opportunity to create.

What have you grown to love and/or outgrown in the past year?

Over the past year, I’ve discovered a new power in being still. For a long time, I felt pressure to take on every project and chase every dream. It took me a while to outgrow this mindset and wake up to the opportunities that were meeting me in the present moment. It is in these moments that we find new inspiration and new ways to view the world around us. This newfound state of permanence has played a major role in my evolution as an artist.

How do you feel about this statement: "Black Artists Matter"...

When I hear “Black Artist Matter”, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride. That pride comes from an inner knowing that all of the art we create now will serve an even greater purpose in the future. In the years ahead they will look to black art in an attempt to understand the black experience and the struggles that we currently face today.

What creative source or outlet do you often visit to get inspiration and renew your creativity?

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by everyday life and the ever-fleeting moments we often take for granted. That inspiration may strike in a car ride, in conversation with a friend, or while flipping through family photographs. Over the last few years, I’ve collected numerous photography books that continue to feed my creativity today. All of which hold an exceptional place in my heart. My favorite is ‘Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop’ by Vikki Tobak. I find images of black people over specific periods of time to be the most inspiring.

What are you unapologetic for?

I am unapologetic for centering my art around the complexities of black people. There’s no better feeling than creating art that depicts our multifacetedness. I specifically hold space for these images in my online portfolio with Vogue. Each individual photograph serves as my offering to the uplifting of black people in spaces where we are perpetually underrepresented.

Have you ever had a "this can't be happening" moment? Tell us more about this experience.

To my surprise, I have had countless “this can't be happening” moments in the last year. All of which have served as constant reminders that dreams do come true. More recently, I experienced this feeling while organizing my upcoming debut photo exhibition, Time & Space. Not only has this process been an opportunity to reflect on all the work I’ve curated over the past six years but has also been a moment of realizing the growth I’ve experienced within. Every day dedicated to this event has been a bittersweet moment filled with excitement as well as some hesitation. Showcasing your art to the public feels more like a part of yourself being put on display. It requires you to be even more vulnerable. However, I am grateful for the challenge to expand myself in this way.

If you were to throw a message bottle into the ocean, what would it say?

If I were to throw a message bottle into the ocean, it would be a proper thank you to the version of myself that assisted in navigating the world up until now. I would thank him for his relentless drive and determination to succeed. For protecting me from the poisons of doubt and fear. And for constantly reminding me of my sense of agency within the world. Additionally, this message would also serve as an invitation to my highest form of self. Assuring him that his best work, his greatest idea, and his most impactful message are not only yet to come, but exist here in the present moment. All these things flow to me and I have made space for them in my life.

Photo Credit:

Models: @yumi_azeiko & @briggs_xaviir

Stylist: L.Lashley @exclusivestylist901

Designers: Van Miller @vanmillerinternational

Quad Clothing: @quadclothing

Follow Amadeus Purcell on Social Media


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