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Interview: Multi-Media Artist Cell Spitfire

Comacell Brown Jr aka Cell Spitfire is a multi-media artist from Annapolis, Maryland. I met him back on the fourth of July as he and the Venice Ball program worked with PG County native and rapper IDK on the Project KKIDD basketball court that held a huge networking event the day after Independence Day. I drove two hours to meet IDK and the people who worked directly with him on the basketball court and it was executed really well.

Comacell began his art journey early on to cope with frustrations from a dysfunctional household and evolved his talents from painting and drawing on paper to using fabrics as a different type of canvas. Over the years, his craft has allowed him to be in the same spaces and create works for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, Jadakiss, PNB Rock, and many more celebrities spanning different cultural aspects. In July, he had a youth art workshop at the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club as a part of his Social Justice Celebrity Charity Weekend Event sponsored by Truist, the Chase Your Dreams Initiative and the Tunnel Vision Organization. That weekend also featured a celebrity basketball game hosted by former NBA player Stephen Jackson.

Side Note: *all the social media handles mentioned in the interview are Instagram handles*

Jay: What are some unexpected works you have done for big names before?

Cell: I had the pleasure of presenting paintings to 50 Cent, Jadakiss, Angela Davis, Louis Farrakhan and I created the new logos for FUBU Frames and Lamar Jackson’s Era 8 Apparel. Last but not least, I was blessed with the opportunity to take part in the first Breonna Taylor basketball court mural here in Annapolis and the most recent one in her hometown of Louisville which we were able to unveil on her birthday.

Jay: You have a mural titled "Carr’s Beach" named after the once existing beach that was a getaway spot for the African American community from 1926 to 1974. In its time, acts like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, James Brown, Ella James, Aretha Franklin and so many profound jazz and soul legends performed at The Beach. If Carr’s Beach were still around to this day, what significance do you think it would have today? How did you first learn about Carr’s Beach before working on the project?

Cell: If Carr’s Beach was still around today it would’ve had a tremendous impact on the black culture. It was a thriving Beach operation here in Annapolis, Maryland that was inherited by two sisters from their father, one of them owning the neighboring beach “The Sparrows Beach”. Both beaches were unique in their own ways but both catered to African-American beach-goers up and down the East Coast because it was the only beach for blacks at the time. In my opinion the growth of those same beaches if operational today would’ve created generational wealth, jobs, and even a platform for up-and-coming talent to reach the industry.

I first learned about Carr’s Beach through my grandparents who were frequent visitors of the beach and they constantly told us unique stories about the musicians who performed there and how it created gridlock traffic on streets due to the high demand.

Jay: Can you express what it meant to you as an Annapolis native to work with rapper IDK on the PROJECT KKIDD Basketball Court earlier in the month?

Cell: It meant a lot to be a part of that project for many reasons. I received a call from my guys over at Venice Ball (@veniceball) about needing assistance on the project and I jumped on it and brought a few of my artist friends to help too. I love to take part in community projects that involve the residents of that area because it gives everyone a better sense of purpose and pride for your neighborhood and its surroundings. Working with IDK was special because I did not know about him prior to coming into the project. I felt like I got to know a different side of him that most to get to experience because he was in his natural element around the friends and family he grew up with. Project KKidd is an undeniable movement I was proud to work with the whole team and I hope to emulate that same impact in the near future.

Jay: What was the best no that you have ever received and why?

Cell: The best no I received was when I was trying to get a record deal as a rap artist. That gave me the motivation to pick the paintbrush back up and make the world respect a God-given talent of mine.

Jay: Who are some of your influences on your artwork?

Cell: My influences are my family, my city, and my doubters. I’m either making you proud or proving you wrong.

Jay: With yourself having a vast background in painting and clothing, what is one medium that you would like to improve on?

Cell: I would love to improve my spray painting which I’ve only been using for two years and I’ve been itching to try out oils and pastels because I love the look and texture of them both.

Jay: From what I saw on your Instagram story weeks ago, you were in Stevensville, MD scoping out the scene for a location of a new mural. Are you able to discuss in detail what’s the plan for that?

Cell: Sure. I’m working on submitting artwork via a partnership with the Stevensville Arts Council to bring a fresh new mural to its city that depicts its rich history that would be seen as soon as you enter Main St. The town is really small but has some really cool stories that will be super exciting to translate through my art and I’m hoping we can get the job approved.

Jay: You recently got a mural accepted to be on display at an airport, can you tell us more about that and what that’s about?

Cell: Yes. This was actually a canvas I have displayed at the BWI Airport’s most recent exhibition titled “Dream Destination”. My piece is called “Destination Serenity” and it’s one of the best landscape paintings I’ve done so if you’re traveling through BWI and you get the chance to check it out please do so.

Jay: Who are some indie music artists that you would like to shout out? Who are also some painters and other artists that you would like to shout out?

Cell: I would like to shout out to my team first and foremost Dee Ward @whendeespeaks, Letia Smith @creative_goddess3, Sheldon Pindell @sp_uniquechild, Jamison Scott, and Luther Wright @lwart who are all great artists from the DMV I’ve had the pleasure of working with and also admiring from afar.

Check out his website for his art portfolio and past works. Follow him on Instagram @cellspitfire and Twitter @CellSpitfire .

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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