Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin: Playground

Proposal: Playground is a project using digital media to explore the concept of play in the urban environment. The end result will be a series of 4-6 digital collages based on a combination of digital photographs and drawings that use color, line, and shape to reinterpret the spaces society designates for play.

Urban playgrounds have been an enormous presence for the majority of my life. As a child, it was a space to make friends and bond with other kids from the neighborhood. There was a completely random aspect present as well, and often, you would just start playing with any other kid that happened to be there. You could really become friends with almost anyone. Some of these interactions would be the basis for lifelong friendships and relationships, all sparked by the desire to play.

The availability of these spaces is critical to the health of a neighborhood. They often serve as the first place babies and young children learn to interact with each other. Often, they are a hub for families to get to know one another as well, a place where people communicate and exchange information. The goal of this project is to use abstract elements (shape, color, and line) in combination with elements from photographs to produce work that explores the unseen dynamics at play in these often overlooked yet important public spaces.

Geometric Gym
Playground Structure

Bio: Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Los Angeles, Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin has been an artist for as long as he can remember. An early fascination with animation, graffiti, and skateboarding was the catalyst for his creative career. These elements, combined with his experiences growing up and living in L.A., form the foundation of his professional practice.

A noted photographer, in 2017, Kwasi was included on Time Magazine’s list of 12 African American Photographers to Follow, and his project, The Public Work, was named one of the 5 Art Accounts to Follow in The New York Times in August 2020. His documentary photography captures the physical legacy of the city by recording architecture, topography, and daily life.

His art practice is closely related to his photo work, drawing inspiration from (sometimes incorporating) scenes from life in Los Angeles to produce the eclectic, abstract aesthetic he has become known for. The designs, illustrations, and paintings he creates are an expression of daily life’s infinite modulations distilled into color, line, and shape.

In recent years, he has produced artwork for KCRW and TheLAnd Magazine. He was also the lead photographer for the Netflix animation series “City of Ghosts” and was one of 2 inaugural Creators in Residence for the Los Angeles Public Library in 2022.