"Growing up fatherless in this neighborhood, I'm sure a lot of people expected me to turn to a life of crime. But men from both the Boys' Club and the neighborhood church stepped up and served as pseudo-fathers to me. I'm pretty sure they saved my life."
"In designing my section of the flood wall for PaintMemphis (at Chelsea and Evergreen), I thought it was important to poll my north Memphis friends through Facebook and incorporate their ideas into the painting. I included Geno's (the first black-owned business in the area), the record factory, various historic buildings, and the street signs for this intersection. The theme for the whole mural was 'Revival', so I used Biblical figures and a pastor with the north Memphis thumbs-up sign to symbolize the community's religious heritage. There is so much more I could have added.
"I started drawing comic book figures as a kid, and now I teach art at Carnes Elementary. In addition to my day job, I do portraits and painting for businesses and agencies and a lot of live painting: creating in front of audiences at events, weddings, concerts, and other venues. I call myself AlivePaint because I do so many on-the-spot pieces.
"I would say to kids who are interested in art: 'Continue to do what you love. Chase your dreams. There will be people who don't believe in you, but as long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible.' The PaintMemphis mural is a prime example of that. So many artists with so many styles came together to create it. It really captures the essence of Memphis."
NOTE: The photo (below) of Jamond's completed mural was taken by Adarryll Jackson, Jr.. of Adarryl Jackson Photography. See Adarryll's FB post from 7/24/2015 for more photos of PaintMemphis in progress.
NOTE: The photo below is taken from the PaintMemphis website and shows a portion of the .3 mile mural created by over 50 artists.
Jamond Bullock, Artist
"I grew up on on Eldridge [near Evergreen & Chelsea] next door to my grandparents. They had a large garden, about an acre, and grew every vegetable you can think of: greens, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, tomatoes, squash---just everything. They also had peach trees, apple trees, pecans, and figs, and they raised chickens for the meat and eggs. My grandfather had a white horse and a green wagon, and as a child I'd watch him load it up with all that produce. I was too little to go with him, so he'd toss me a peach and tell me to go on back in the house. Then he'd make the rounds all through the Evergreen area. He was known as J. K. King, the Market Man. That's how the neighborhood got fresh produce back then. I was raised on fresh fruits and vegetables, and I still like them, but there's nowhere close to get them anymore. No place within walking distance for the people of this community.
"My grandparents are both gone---my grandfather died in 1968---but our family still owns the acre-and-a-half on Eldridge where they lived. It's sitting idle now, but I'd love to see the property turned into a community garden. I applied for a $5000 grant and didn't get it, but I'm going to try again. I'm not sure how much it would cost to get it going, but a grant would help. I know everybody around here, and I know that the people my age and older would be happy to work in it. I think we could get the young people involved and interested too. The children don't know what it's like to have fresh fruits and vegetables, and they need to. It would be wonderful to have a big garden in this neighborhood again."
Debra's grandfather: J. K. King, the Market Man
"On holidays, I cook. Anybody in the neighborhood knows they can come by and get a plate."
"My mama taught me how to do things and raised me right. I work every day for a living. Have my own lawn service and do very well. I met a young man the other day who said he was looking for work, so I told him I'd hire him to do a yard and to meet me at 5:30. He said he'd be there, but he didn't show up. He lied to me. I don't like that. I went on and mowed it myself, and I can tell you I won't be offering him a job again. Some people will tell you they want to work, but then complain that it's too hot or too cold or they've got some other excuse. I don't complain. I just go on and do the job."
"I paint every day in my own art studio in my house. I never had lessons. Never. My favorite painting is this one: 'Stand Firm.' It means stand firm with Jesus, like in God's army. Another one is 'Dream of Heaven' because one night I had a dream of heaven. I could see Jesus and the angels. I make notecards out of my paintings. Ephesians 2:8 is on the back of the cards. I know it by heart. It says, 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.' I like to read my Bible. I like to paint Scooby-Doo too. And I sell paintings on my Facebook page: God's Hand, Lacey's Heart.
"I'm an illustrator and a dancer [Company d], and I'm in the choir with my mom. I was in the Singing Christmas Tree and the Passion Play. At Bellevue, I work in the kitchen with my boss Josh. I put out desserts.
"Jesus gave his life, and I love my life. That's a good quote. You can write that down."
Lacey's 'Dream of Heaven':
Lacey Hancock, Artist
FB: God's Hand, Lacey's Heart
Andrew & Lydia
Andrew: “We were in Uganda visiting family for the holidays when Lydia first started having issues with the pregnancy and was put on bed-rest. In February, a month after we got back to the States, my grandfather died. I was out of town for the funeral when I got a call that Lydia had gone into labor and was headed to the hospital. She wasn’t due until May 1, but it became apparent that the baby was going to be born that night. I made the two-hour drive back through the snow in an hour-and-a-half and got to the Med 30 minutes before Zoe was born. She was 10 weeks early and weighed just 3 pounds and 5 ounces. We didn’t get to hold her; they took her straight to the NICU.”
Lydia: “I was so disoriented. I kept thinking, ‘Did I just have a baby? Where is she? What’s wrong?’ They kept telling us all the things that might happen, but it just didn’t register. I felt very disconnected with the experience. We had only minimal physical contact with her, and I knew it was for her safety, but it didn't seem real. I was the one who was supposed to be holding her, feeding her, bathing her, and I couldn’t. She would do a little better, then there would be a setback. I was discharged from the hospital after 3 days, but we had to leave her there, and it was so hard. I wasn’t sure what my role was in my baby’s life. I was her mother, but I wasn’t. We went to the NICU two or three times every day. I worried that I wasn’t spending enough time with our 1-year-old, Josiah. Zoe had nurses around to help her and she had us, but Josiah needed me too. I tried to compensate, but I always felt like he wasn’t getting the attention he should be getting.
“Zoe was in the NICU from February 24 till April 10. The first week she was home, we didn’t sleep at all. I watched her every minute to make sure she was still breathing. In the hospital her monitors would have gone off if there was a problem, but we didn’t have monitors at home. Any time she cried, I jumped and thought, ‘What’s wrong?’ It took a long time to realize that she’s a baby, and babies cry. It’s normal.
“She’s almost 5 months old now, and I’m still not at ease about her. She’s being checked twice a week to make sure she’s all right and that she’s hitting her milestones, but I worry, ‘What if they find something wrong?’ I’m still not sure if she’s going to be okay. In my heart, I know God is taking care of her, but I can’t stop worrying."
Andrew: “We’ve had such a huge outpouring of love and support from friends and our church family. They’ve brought food, babysat Josiah, and given us money to help with expenses. They’ve helped us keep our heads above water. This is not something anyone should have to go through alone.”
"We're working with the Street Reach Ministries summer program. We go door-to-door and invite families to send their children for a couple of hours a day. We do sports, games, art activities, and story time. It's free, and it gives the kids something fun to do. I love the program, I love this city, and I love the physical and cultural diversity of this neighborhood."
"If money were no object, I'd travel all over the United States, take care of my bills, and give some to the church. I'd buy cars for the people in my family who needed them and maybe houses too. You hear about people winning the lottery and everybody coming out of the woodwork wanting some of it? Well, I'd help people, but I wouldn't let anybody know it was me."
"I met the actor Channing Tatum once, but I was too shy to talk to him. If I could have gotten my courage up, I would have said, 'Will you marry me?'" [*laughs*]
"If I could invent something, it would be a bike that doesn't need a chain, doesn't need air in the tires, does tricks by itself, and has a button that makes it go faster."