My Scars Exposed: Zygote Press 2014 Artist-in-Residence, Donald Black


I was the kid who never left my scabs alone: I picked at them. I’m not sure if I was attracted to self-inflicted pain, but what I do know is that I was attracted to the breaking of patterns on my skin, and the mark that would be left behind. I liked the permanence and mystery of scars.

Then there are, what I call, the “unmarked scars.” For a long time I did not know these scars existed because I tucked them away even before I had a chance to ignore them. My environment even blanketed these scars — because where there are drugs, murder, guns, scarce food and income, there is little time to stop and examine or care for wounds. I just survived, and I kept on going. The smartest thing I did in survival mode was the decision to create art.

As a result, art has become the antagonist of my emotional and psychological scars. It forces me to “pick at,” to “open up,” and to “aggravate” all of my damaging wounds. It requires me to closely examine the effects of the scars in relationship to who I am.

My residency at Zygote will be an exploration of my scars and my obsession with process. The work will be displayed through the photogravure process. This process echoes my attraction to permanence and mark making.

Donald Black Jr. is a Cleveland artist who works with video, installation and photography. He is an alumni of Cleveland School of the Arts and studied commercial photography at Ohio University. Black received third place in Nikon’s international photo competition. His work explores family relationships, racism, environment, and identity. Storytelling and technical process are key in Black’s work. He is currently a member of acerbic, which is an interdisciplinary group of artists who go against the proper order of things. He is Zygote Press’s Artist in Residence in 2014.

Donald Black Jr.: Artist In Residence Exhibition: September 12 – October 4
Opening Reception 6-8 pm September 12
Artist Talk: 6:30 pm September 24

Foreign Affairs 18: Clemens Reinecke and Rita Geissler: October 13 – 24
Artist Talk and Opening 1 – 3 pm Saturday, October 18.

Zygote Documents: Zygote provides an open gallery opportunity for artists to get their work documented by some of the areas best photographers. For more information about these services contact

Drop-off for the Holiday Members’ Show and Sale: Noon to 4 pm November 26 and 29

Holiday Off The Wall Members Show and Sale: 1-6 pm Saturday, December 6, and noon – 4 pm Sunday, December 7

Zygote Press
1410 East 30th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114