I grew up in a small town in south Alabama. I do love that place and have enjoyed visiting it in all the decades since I left Alabama to live "up north" in Washington, DC and other east coast cities. All through my teens, like many young folks in small towns, I was obsessed with getting outta there! I was determined to get out into the big wide world, have some adventures and make a life unlike anything I then knew.
Fast forward, and I have done all that. I am glad I did. But I have a fondness for my hometown that teenage me never would have imagined , and I love my visits home now as one can only enjoy a place from the perspective of having left a place and returned to reflect on what it has meant to you.
For these reasons, Iris DeMent's song Infamous Angel has become a sort of autobiographical anthem for me. I feel certain that the young Iris DeMent had the urge to see bigger things but at the same time loves her roots in a small southern place too. So I relate with her so strongly! Her song "Infamous Angel" is about a girl grabbing her chance to get out of a small town fast, and I love it. Angel is leaving home but also recognizes her true home lies elsewhere, but she knows not where. She has to find her Destination: Home. Here are the lyrics:
While working on a slew of exploratory works on paper one day in the spring of 2022, this song came on in the studio. One of those works on paper became my "self-portrait" of sorts, entitled Infamous Angel. Inspiration came from DeMent's song and also an image of a crowned and winged figure that I found over lunch, leafing through some works by Romare Bearden. Here's my Infamous Angel.
A few days later I was working on another batch of works on paper and this image emerged. For me it is a winged figure rising up from a tangled surface of plants in a strange landscape. I feel those plants must be kudzu, an invasive fast-growing vine that blankets areas of the South and can cover whole houses and forests in its path. In any event, I recognized this image as another version of the infamous angel leaving home. It was now clear this image might well be recurring in future work, and I welcome this possibility!
Infamous Angel is not for sale. Destination: Home is Available in my online Shop which you can visit by clicking here: leslieblackmon.com/shop-