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I am Isaiah: the apple that fell far from the tree. Apple enthusiast. Socially awkward. Questioner of gender convention. Fighter against dated stereotypes. Owner of fleeting memories. Liberal. Athlete. Ridiculously sarcastic. Stuck in niche limbo. Believer of high school anarchy. Amateur philosopher. Highly conflicted. Love Ringo Starr because you don’t. Passionately curious. Nerd.

I was born and raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn by an incredible mother/father duo. From what I was told I was a well behaved child. I have my doubts, but who am I to say? I wasn’t really there. My first decade of life was painfully boring, so, naturally, my need for a friend was the constant topic of conversation for my parents and me. I was young, naïve, and didn’t know it was inevitable at that point. I’d dug my own grave, and in a span of two years my parents managed to spawn two beautifully evil little “friends” for me to “play” with. I’d come to realize that by “friends” they meant little sisters and by “play” they meant changing their diapers and babysitting them. Yes, they are everything you’d expect: hyper, agitating, massive thorns in my side, too lovable for words, and appreciated constants in my life.

Besides trips to Europe to visit family, I’ve never left Canarsie, so that is where I was initially forced to draw my inspiration from. It wasn’t until my father started taking me to Manhattan and other parts of the city that I started to discover new sources of inspiration. I was always transfixed by the architecture, the lights, the people, and of course, the food. I always revered New York for the energy that pulsed through it and its uncured insomnia. It felt like a place that could keep up with the imagination of a ten-year-old child. Every day I learn something new about this city. And as I grow artistically, I’ve learned to appreciate this city more and more with each visit.

I love art—nothing more to say after that. Andy Warhol, one of my favorite artists said, “…I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there—I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life.” I’ve felt this way, as if I was watching a show, albeit a boring show, but my love for art was one of the few things I identified as real. I came to realize that even in times of overwhelming sadness, happiness, or discomfort, I’ll hold art above all else. I don’t know how my relationship with art got to this point or how it will evolve in the future, but I do know it will remain one of my most cherished passions.

Isaiah speaks to a teen tour group about Sam Lewitt’s work, on view in the Whitney Biennial 2012 exhibition. Photograph by Berry Stein

Isaiah speaks to a teen tour group about Sam Lewitt’s work, on view in the Whitney Biennial 2012 exhibition. Photograph by Berry Stein