This was Onli's positive and bold response when asked why he doesn't do one type of art. One style. In a single category so folks would understand exactly what he was doing. Onli is highly appreciative of all of the people who visited his exhibitions, hired him along the way, contributed to his education and were willing to take classes he taught.. He call it the real stuff of life. Sometimes there just ain't no cure for who we are.
However so much in the upper levels of the international Art World is conducted through the lens of power, politics and trends. But in the United States of America one can throw down by pulling one's self up by one's boot straps. This applies to a life as an artist too.
Onli likes to think his is an example of living the American dream. Or as Sly Stone once sang: "You can make it if you try!"
This is a picture of Onli from 2004. Over his long and varied career he has known the challenges of being censored, blackballed and often erased for his practice that was independent, diverse, multi cultural, open, heterosexual, Black Male, yet comfortable with non-Blacks, talented, creative, skilled, commercial, esoteric and all the other things that seemed to naturally flow from and through his natural practices.
Yet Onli is still working to secure positive gallery representation, museum acquisitions, and full professorships along with major commissions from those who see his flow as the positive powerful promising innovative timeless practice it tends to be.
Along the way Onli has had incredible moments. Like earning two degrees from the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago while freelancing for the likes of WGN and Playboy Magazine, being covered by the New York Times for being a part of the Cool Globes traveling exhibition. A bench in the Chicago Children's Museum. Winning a drawing contest in Paris. Exhibitions in a host of not for profit non-commercial independent galleries. Positive reviews.
As the upbeat Onli had put on his answering machine in the late 1970s and on his smartphone today...
"If you are looking for creativity, you have come to the right place."