Local Inglewood artists reflect on the importance of art expression at this time

As protests over George Floyd's death continue in Los Angeles, artists from the Inglewood community talk about artistic expression.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Art has long been a means of free expression serving many purposes, but ABC7's Inglewood community journalist Ashley Mackey checked in with some local artists in her community to hear why they think expression through different art forms is important during this time.

Inglewood native and spoken word artist Brooke Jean said artists have a responsibility to tell stories.

"Expression through art is important especially during times like these because artists are the storytellers of our time," Jean said.

"When you look back at art, you see not only what happened, you not only feel the emotions, but you're taught lessons. Lessons about what happened in the moment," Jean continued. "Lessons about what you can learn from those past moments, current moments and how you can put that in your future."

Inglewood photographer and owner of ThirtyThreeFifteen Photography, Mikeisha Tresevant-Todd, said she uses her art to inspire different feelings.

"We, as creatives and somebody behind the camera, get to not only capture the moments in time that are going on," Tresevant-Todd said. "But we have the opportunity to make people feel and sometimes feeling can actually create a better understanding of things."

Tyree Dillihay, an Inglewood native and director for Sony Pictures Animation, said art is a universal language.

"Artists can communicate in a language that's universal," Dillihay said. "Art provides another medium of communication in the form of visual, written and performing arts."

Tracy Shields Johnson, co-owner of A Toast 2 Artistry, a sip and paint studio in Inglewood, said it's important to find an outlet to release stress.

"We realize that you have to take a break and release from that, you have to unwind," Shields Johnson said. "You've got to turn the TV off, you've got to find a way to deal with this and to have 'me' time and the way we find is through the arts.

Neneki 'Nick the Artist' McGee is a visual artist and he said art is how he manages his nervous energy.

"I have a chance to create and change the narrative and direction of my life. With art I hope to move forward always and to bring people along with me," McGee said. "A lot of time when stuff happens and I can't figure it out and don't have answers, I get this nervous energy and I just paint and create."

These are just a few voices from the Inglewood community and people are encouraged to continue to reach out and share their stories and thoughts.

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