Photographer, painter, collagist and poet, Eric Engles was born and raised in Harlem, and has been “doing “art all of his life. By his teens.as fellow Harlemite, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, pointed out to him many years later from writings on the back of an old photo of their high school club, he was already writing poetry.
As a youth, his aesthetic sensibilities were shaped by the worlds of dance, Music and fashion. He regaled other dancers when he took the floor and danced masterfully to Afro Cuban bands. HE left his pre-law studies at the City College of New York to travel to Africa and Europe try his hand at fashion merchandising. He served as right hand to Miles Davis when the jazz musician recorded his last album for Columbia. The viewer sees these experiences in the self-taught artists work. The viewer also sees a cosmopolitan so phistication that has temperamental affinity with the musician friends who encouraged Engles art process: Gil Scott. Hugh Masekela, Roy Ayers and Olu Dara.
Today, Engles paintings, photography and collages can be found in private collections, and he exhibits frequently with the Harlem Arts Alliance and Creative Center of New York. As a visual artist, he challenges the conventions of two-dimensional art practice and explores the possibility of dance like animation within the flat surface. In his images, movement is supreme, and foreground and background exchange roles as “leader” and “follower” as dancers would in a feverish competition. Engles is a published writer whose emotionally evocative poetry has appeared in Essence Magazine and private volumes. Clients have commissioned him to write poetry for special occasions, and his collected poems have been sold to patrons and devoted collectors.
To take a photograph
TO “shoot”, “snap “or “click” is
To capture a moment in time that will never return.
God has given it to us.
My job is to see with my eyes that which is God-given and
To render it as art with my camera’s eye.
That way, we can all see what God has given us
Again and again and again.
Eric Engles, Fall 2013