ARTE: PAPILLION SUMMER 2019 *let me call u back*

the *let me call u back* mixtape // summer '19

*photographs taken by Michelle Joan Papillion in Terre-de-Bas

*previous summer mixtapes



ARTE: Andre D. Wagner stills of Lena Waite film Queen and Slim

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in Queen & Slim Photo: Andre D. Wagner (Courtesy of Universal Pictures)




ARTE: Allison Schulnik

Film by Allison Schulnik * 2019 * 3:15min
Gnossienne No. 1 * written by Erik Satie * Performed by Nedelle Torrisi
MOTH is a traditionally animated, hand painted, gouache-on-paper film. It is animated mostly straight-ahead, with frames painted on paper almost daily for 14 months. The film seeded and bloomed from the simple act of a moth hitting the artist’s studio window and continues as a wandering through the primal emotions of birth, motherhood, body, nature, metamorphosis and dance.

MOTH Copyright Allison Schulnik 2019








RELATIONSHAPES - an insta-series by NERDO

An Insta-series based on a true story: yours.  Because true love doesn't always find a way.


ARTE: Danielle Brooks



Doja Cat


ARTE: Make Some Noise x Angeleno Mag

Thrilled to be in the April issue of Angeleno Magazine.  Equally excited to announce my next project! Read all about in a preview of the magazine HERE or look for it on newstands now.  More to come soon... 




ARTE: TALK STORY - How do you know when you meet a genius?

My first interview of the year! I spoke with Nishat Kurwa at Talk Story about my inspirations, influences and opened up about my recent 6 month sabbatical. You can read the full interview at this link


Michelle Papillion's eponymous art business, Papillion Art, began around seven years ago as a pop-up experience in downtown LA. These days, the hub for her work is her gallery in the black cultural district of Leimert Park. But her mission is also manifested in projects like the magnificent float she commissioned for LA's Martin Luther King Day parade last year: experiments in community-driven, place-based art. Papillion curates sculpture, painting, video and other forms of installation, and has garnered attention in the art world for presenting innovative emerging artists with an eye for the spectacular. Sometimes, though, art critics have lazily oversimplified her work, a problem she pondered while on a recent six-month sabbatical.

Is there a specific gap in the industry that you were hoping to address by opening Papillion?

When I started I wasn’t trying to address anything. The thing that I didn’t imagine happening is, my voice and my identity was kind of hijacked because I’m black and I’m a woman, and I’m young. I look at my contemporaries that are white, and they’re able to do what they want to do without the objectiveness of it being a “liberating” or “special” thing. They’re doing what they want.

I noticed that when I embarked on doing what I wanted to do, in art and in my space, there was always this thing like, “Do you know that you’re black, and you’re female, and that you’re showing artists who are black, and women artists?” And in my mind, I’m like, “I’m just participating in the art world, talking about things I want to talk about.” I felt like the Other once the rest of the world started putting those boxes around it. 

I went on this break in the summer of 2016 because I didn’t realize how burned out I was, and a lot of things were happening in our country and the world. I like to refer to it as a transitional moment, not just for myself but the entire world. And I needed a break from all of those boxes of being black, being a woman. You carry a lot on you day to day, running a business, trying to stay true to the agenda, which for me, is always like, “Art is for everyone.” 

What are some of the strategies you used to navigate the expectations imposed on you by the art world or the press? 

I think about that a great deal, and I don’t know if have an answer for that. But I’m still leaning towards the perspective of, “Do I feel like I’m contributing in a way that is more important than being in these boxes?” Obviously I have a way that I perceive myself and my work. Do I feel that the work that I’m doing is more important than the perception of what others may think about it? I love that I can work with artists, support artists, work with community, support community, and give platform, voice, opportunity to things that are not represented in art worlds or in media or anywhere. I guess I’m sort of like, “Whatever boxes we may be existing in, I’m not sure if we’ll ever not be in.” But…I think the work that I’m doing is more important than thinking about the boxes.

Describe a specific show or initiative that’s aligned with the mission you set out with. 

I was flash backing to a project we did last year, where we participated in the (Martin Luther King Day) parade with an artist named Lauren Halsey, and she built a float for us. I was looking at all these photos and video from that day, and that was the moment I realized that we’re really throwing grains in the life of this community that we’re in, which is South Central, South LA, Leimert Park. That felt like a 100 percent collaboration between us, the artists, and the neighborhood. All three of those things came together and made something really beautiful and special. And I think when I’m working in that way, that’s when it feels right, and works itself out in a way that can be successful, even if it’s not how we planned it. 

The one “aha!” moment during the sabbatical was: my business is really people. Art is the vehicle that drives the ideas of it, but what I enjoy and love the most is servicing people. It was a big breakthrough for me, because it allowed me to think about the business going forward, and how can we be more experimental, how can we broaden the spectrum for people who can’t visit the physical gallery, how do we expand outside the space, do more. 

What are the cues that help you recognize the “genius factor” in an artist? 

I have a little formula. I guess the first thing that I’m looking for is that they have something important to add to humanity. I think of my work in terms of the future, like: legacy. When I visit an artist for the first time, I’m thinking, “Where will this artist be in 5, 10, 25 years from now?” I always say if I do two studio visits,  the first visit is like, “Let’s see this art, what it’s about, is it good, is it not?” But the second visit, if I’m there, I already believe in the art — I need to now believe in the artist. I just spend the time really investigating who the individual is, the moral compass that they built upon. What are they saying, what do they think about the world that we live in now? When I start investigating in that way, it allows me to figure out if they have that thing that I call the “genius factor.” And if I feel that, then, yes this person does have the genius factor, maybe they’re not at that point today, but they’ll get there eventually. Maybe I can help develop that, or introduce them to the art world, or give them a platform for visibility for their career.

I’m looking for artists that, when we’re all gone and someone opens a textbook, and they’re like, “What was 2016 like?” — these are artists that are documenting the times, but also looking for ways to confront the abnormal things about the world, the beautiful things about the world, all the nuances that are happening on a daily basis, artists who are critically talking about those things.

Tell me about a moment of transition in your career and a piece of advice you received that helped you navigate it. 

When I first started in 2010, I didn’t really have the plan or focus to start anything. I had an idea for an exhibition that I thought was just going to be a pop-up shop, or a pop-up show. That first show was really successful, surprisingly. I was shocked and I decided to do another thing, and that worked out, and then another — and then a year had passed, and this pop-up idea was still around.

But I think around there was a transition moment around year three where I was like, “Wait, we have something here, and I should be more serious, and more focused, and more together about what the mission of the space really is, and where it can go.” At the time, we were at the outskirts of downtown LA, and there was really nothing else around. I decided to go to Leimert Park, and at the time, all of the businesses were longstanding mom and pop, family-owned shops that had been there a really long time. The Leimert space was my attempt at thinking more seriously about what I wanted to do, not just with my business, but also with my life, and be devoted to something that is my passion in a way that I could do until I die. 

I had one of the greatest individuals in art as my mentor, someone who’s sort of a living legend and an icon, and that was Jeffrey Deitch. Jeffrey moved to Los Angeles the same year that I started my business, and he got to see it literally from the beginning and saw the changes. And he saw me changing as well.

He was very instrumental in mentoring me at that time of transition, and he was planting the seeds of “You could do something special if you really buckled down, applied yourself, and got serious with it.” I felt like, well, if Jeffrey Deitch feels like this little thing that I have on the outskirts of downtown could be something, then maybe I should try. He was very encouraging during that time, giving advice, and being very practical too. I could run things by him, and he was able to give next steps on, “This is a good idea, this is something “ — he was very hands-on with me during that time. The things that I learned from him were invaluable.



Celebrating our dear friend LANA FUTURA.  I first met Katharina when her and Shawana Davis came by the gallery in 2011.  It was still P.I.A. back than and we were still in the downtown space.  That day they came over and we chatted about ways to collaborate the Be Beautiful Project was born out of that visit.  When the the exhibition opened it was a special night for all of us.  Pretl who went by the name Lana Futura in her art career was a special soul and will be deeply missed. 

You can support this artist by donating here

Thank you to Kawai Matthews of Air Philosophy who also was apart of the Be Beautiful Project and who made the tribute for LANA


Very happy to serve on the advisory board for Perrier's new art initivative ARTXTRA

"At Perrier, extraordinary art has always been a part of who we are. That’s why throughout the years, we’ve partnered with extraordinary artists in a variety of ways. This year we introduced ARTXTRA, an art program which took our partnership with art even further. Through the ARTXTRA Advisory Board, a panel of experts from across the art world, we selected three artists to showcase their art, one of whom would reimagine and design our new limited edition bottles and cans based on your votes. You voted and we’re proud to announce our Artist of the Year."

The ARTXTRA program will also support the selected emerging artist with a stipend for a year as the new label is commissioned and completed.  Saya Woolfalk, HOTTEA and Hayal Pozanti are the artists nominated that the audience (you) get to vote for! Visit to find out more.




A conversation between writer/professor Tisa Bryant and artist Suné Woods during her solo exhibition To Sleep With Terra. They discuss Woods process, UFO and ailen life, Charles Burnett and other influences on her work.



Petra Collins directs a short film with Lil Yachty


ARTE: Mykki Blanco x Zoe Leonard

"“I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils”. These are words published nearly 25 years ago by American artist and prominent Aids activist Zoe Leonard in her poem I Want A Dyke For President. In 2016, as we watch Hillary Clinton and, unbelievably, Donald Trump battle it out for control of America, as xenophobic politicians helped the United Kingdom leave the EU, as Russian bombs drop on Syria, the poem – that aggressively questions the violent banality of our elected politicians – remains as relevant and striking as ever."



So excited to see the new HBO comedy series "Insecure" by Issa Rae.  We've been fans of Issa since the early days of Awkward Black Girl.  The director Melina Matsoukas brought me in to consult on art for the show.  The show premieres on HBO October 9th, but if your an HBO GO or HBO Now subscriber than you can catch the first episode now. I've seen it and its soooooooo good.





Beck - WOW



Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you 
Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that.

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out 
tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to 
focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I 
learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. 
And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award - this is not for me. This is for the real organizers 
all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the 
struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are 
realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us 
cannot stand if we do.

It's kind of basic mathematics - the more we learn about who we 
are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular 
who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone 
before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we've been doing is looking at the data and we know that 
police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white 
people everyday. So what's going to happen is we are going to have 
equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure 
their function and ours.

Now... I got more y'all - yesterday would have been young 
Tamir Rice's 14th birthday so I don't want to hear anymore about 
how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 
12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on 
television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd 
how it's so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612, or 
1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to 
Darrien Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money - that alone 
isn't gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating 
our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone's 
brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on 
our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the 
front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There is no 
tax they haven't levied against us - and we've paid all of them. But 
freedom is somehow always conditional here. "You're free," they 
keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn't acted 
so... free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, 
though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let's get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote: the 
burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not 
our job, alright; stop with all that. If you have a critique for the 
resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established 
record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest—if you 
have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make 
suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and 
we're done watching and waiting while this invention called 
whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight 
and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our 
entertainment like oil - black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our 
creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying 
us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of 
strange fruit. The thing is though... the thing is that 

Thank You.