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Avenues to inspiration

Artist Janell Langford stands in her installation, titled “CJ’s Temporal Lobby,” at Meow Wolf’s “House of Eternal Return” in Santa Fe. The room is one of the many updates to the permanent installation. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Walking into Janell Langford’s “CJ’s Temporal Lobby” inside Meow Wolf’s “House of Eternal Return,” one can see it’s a woman’s world.

“This is a world I want to live in,” says Langford energetically.

Langford’s brand is called Obsidiopolis and the room aims to empower Black women.

The name was inspired by obsidian – a stone that shields against negativity and enhances truth.

This colorful world has lived in Langford’s brain for some time.

She worked on the room for over a year and it wouldn’t have been completed without collaboration with the artists at Meow Wolf.

With imagination coming together, the room features graphic comic book panels, animation, interactive elements and sculptures. Most of all, it tells a story.

Langford says there’s a lot of inspiration from Michel Gondry, who directed “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

“But, as you can also see, my style is very flat illustration,” she says. “Very simplistic to use styles prevalent in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”

Langford also wanted the room to showcase the power of Black women.

“Black women inspire me, they are they reason I create art,” she says. “They raised me. They support me. They give me strength. (The room) is so unapologetically Black. This is the work I wanted to see as a young kid growing up in Alabama.”

Langford says her drawings are her superpower.

“Even though I grew up in a house filled with chaos, if I was drawing, I was able to block out the noise and be at peace,” she says in a statement. “After high school, I started dating someone seriously and, at that time, I stopped drawing. The relationship became just as toxic and chaotic as my childhood, and I had completely forgotten about my superpower. I suppressed the one thing in life that was my home frequency. Once I ended the relationship, I started drawing again. The pain of the breakup led me back to drawing and a rediscovery of my inner creativity.”

Langford says creating the room was very therapeutic.

“It’s a very fantastical, Afrofuturism world narrative that I’m building,” she says. “It kind of mirrors the things that I’m going through in life. So, if I’m going through a hard time, it’s not like it’s a hopeless thing. For me, I can find different avenues to be inspired.”

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