A Griot's Tale

Portrait Series of Quinnton Harris

Telling more of me

Spring time, for me, symbolizes blossoming and awakening. The things that lay dormant dormant during the winter months are finally given the necessary space to grow and bloom. In early 2015, I experienced an internal shift in how I perceived myself as a creator. I adopted the mantra and purpose of a griot, an important Western African community figure. The more I did research on the griot, the more I felt connected to his mission: be a living archivist for the culture of my people.

And as apart to this personal awakening, I wanted to publicly own this identity. In my early writing for the concept, I declared:

“Quinnton: Me” will be an editorial statement of my commitment to develop myself into the artist I am meant to be. It will be a poetic proclamation of the transformation I'm experiencing in my heart. As my taste and aesthetic shift, my convictions, sensiblities, and frustration deepen.

To make this statement, I curated an intimate two-day retreat for my creative collaborators. I wanted them to spend time when me; experience my personality; shop with me; debate with me; challenge my fears; get to see me in my most vulnerable states. I believed the best work came from this intene examination of my life and my space.

For 48 hours, it was just me, the crew, and our creativity.

"Griots are arguably the most powerful voices in the world, because we are tasked with creating and recreating them all the time."


Act I: Designed by Institutions

The first scene was curated as an honest portrait of the transition I felt working as a designer/art director in New York. I described it as the process of setting myself free from the dogmas and layered identities I acquired over years. Whether good or bad, academic or professional, I felt I that I was being freed from the "whats" to understand the "whys". Why did I create? Why do I care for certain things more than others? Why am I here? 


Act II: Spiritual from the Core

I wanted to represent who I imagined myself to be. I saw a man at peace with himself, his successes, his failures, his heritage, his family, and his purpose. I began on this journey to connect with myself, and what I found left me grateful, inspired and encouraged. 


Act III: An Artist’s Freedom

The last act features a side of me I rarely express on camera. My love for spontaneity and improvisation is directly connected to my love for people. I am a showman that feeds from the energy of his audience.

Quinnton J Harris
Creative Director

Aundre Larrow