For more than 20 years, freedom clay has worked in the human services field with special emphasis in social work and public health. His focus has been in family development research, family program development and coordination, adult and child mental health services and HIV–focusing on education, research, consumer service coordination, project management, counseling, and testing. He has worked in diverse environments including nonprofit organizations, the private sector, university settings (NCCU and UNC), and in state and county government.
freedom clay holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a concentration in health education from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Science Degree in Adult Education (Educational Development, Leadership and Policy) from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University.
His body of work celebrates the multi-dimensional facets and the plight of Black people in America by acknowledging and affirming their beauty and humanity. This is largely done by creating paintings in response to what’s going on personally, socially and politically and how these contexts inform how individuals are perceived and treated in broader society. Vivid colors and freedom clay’s ability to capture and provoke emotion in his faceless paintings have become unique characteristics to his aesthetic. As a proud, humble and evolving He-ARTist from the south, it is his earnest hope that his work continues to make people happy where they see themselves or others they may know in his creations, inspire life-affirming and critical conversations, while addressing, responding or reacting to disparate sociopolitical issues involving race, class, gender, stigma and sexuality.
freedom clay’s creations and photography have been on exhibit at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, Blue Coffee Cafe, The Peoples’ Channel at Golden Belt, Hairizon, The Artistically Irrational Exhibition Series 2014 at The Center for Advanced Hindsight, and and a solo exhibition celebrating the diverse beauty of Black women and girls at the LGBTQ Center of Durham.
His creation, “We ARE ALL the FACE of HIV/AIDS” can be seen on the cover of the January/February 2016 special edition, “Public Health Reports”, the journal of the U.S. Surgeon General focused on implementing routine HIV screening in clinical settings. This coveted creation was also on exhibit last in New York City at La Mama Galleria. Curated by Jean Carlomusto, Alexandra Juhasz and Hugh Ryan, “Everyday” explored the AIDS crisis (historically and currently) through the lens of artwork that looks at and evidences daily experiences & practices in response to HIV/AIDS.
This past fall, N.C. A&T State University’s Lyceum Series Committee 2017 invited freedom clay to do a solo exhibition showcasing his body of work celebrating the Black family, “High Cotton: Paying Homage to & Celebrating My Intergenerational Roots”.
His theme song for 2018 is, “I’m Not Lucky; I’m Loved” by Jonathan McReynolds. freedom clay’s primary goal in 2018 is to continue creating meaningful and provocative art celebrating the beauty, depth and breadth of Black folks’ “hue-manity” underscoring the necessity of human equity. Hopefully, this will be achieved by showcasing locally and globally, along with facilitating learning and healing opportunities using art as a tool in wellness workshops. freedom clay appreciates how community-centered 2BeatHIV is, as evident by their community engagement programs and their collaborative support of many local efforts with an emphasis on HIV cure research, prevention and testing.