American Gods: N/A behind the scenes by tylonn sawyer

Greetings beautiful people,

It’s been a while since we’ve broken bread and broken hearts in an attempt to come together.

This year has arguably been one of the most productive and artistically fulfilling years of my adult life. Amongst being featured in multiple publications, executing a few murals, a sold out solo exhibition, participating in a black artist retreat and a few other things I haven’t revealed publicly, I had the opportunity to take the iconography of my 2-D work into the motion picture realm!

Cobo Hall in Detroit, commissioned yours truly to bring my work to life and thus it was. With the help of the brilliant Jamin Townsley, behind the camera and Detroit’s finest (Scheherazde Washington Parrish, Evan Parrish, Joel “Fluent” Greene, Tawanna Pettey, Nandi Comer, Sydney G. James and the state diva of the Empire of Detroit, LaShaun Pheonix Moore) I created “American Gods: N/A). The short film is a meditation examining the fallibility of Americana by placing blacks at the forefront of its narrative. Between three acts a mother mourns her fallen son evoking Michaelangelo’s "Pietà", a diva sings the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, a requiem for America, to an empty church. The third act shows a group of five artists/activist uniformed in all black donning the masks of their philosophical counterparts. Using the American flag to tie these scenes together, American Gods: N/A addresses issues of gun violence against black males, the separation of church and state or the state as church and historical/contemporary black activism.

Here are some behind the scenes candids