Champagne Wishes and Cavier Dreams

Essay 342 • Oct 3rd 2018

Cavier Coleman is a 29 year-old painter from Detroit who’s been gaining notoriety in the art world as a modern-day Basquiat. He was born the same year that Basquiat died, to a mother who would rapp his hands every time he colored outside of the lines and to a father who worked in construction, but had unrequited dreams of becoming a sculptor. His mother named him Cavier and his sister Champagne, giving her children a kind of luxury that they could hold onto, since their young lives would be devoid of frivolous extravagances.

Cavier was raised by his Grandmother because his mother, a teacher who often painted murals of Looney Tunes characters in their neighborhood, developed a drinking habit when her brother was murdered. In a way, his mother’s decline into despair gave Cavier the freedom to express himself creatively, outside of the boundaries she had always set for him.

As a result, his work has become a cacophony of colors and shapes and streams of conscious unconsciousness. Layers upon layers of faces, seemingly morphing in and out of each other. Bodies that are held in impossible positions, ensconced in amniotic sacs filled with capitalistic ideals and status symbols.


Dana Scruggs
As a Black woman, my presence & perspective are under-represented in fine art, fashion, & commercial photography – which is why Black people are mainly (and often voyeuristically) photographed through the white gaze. My work is important because I’m capturing Black people (most especially Black men) through my gaze, which is that of a Black woman who has shared their experiences & who has an innate understanding of what it means to navigate this world as a Black person. Clients include: ESPN, Chromat, Nike, GQ, InStyle.
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Model: Caviar Coleman
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