fbpx Art and Music With Sen Floyd | The Studio Museum in Harlem
 

Support our work amplifying art and artists of African descent. Donate to the Studio Museum Fund.

Art and Music With Sen Floyd

Ilk Yasha

Self-portrait from 2019 Courtesy of the artist

Ilk Yasha: Tell me about yourself and what you do?

Senetchut Men Ab Nehti: I am a director and photographer working predominantly in commercial music and documentaries. For my still work, I focus mostly on portraiture. I get assignments on a long-scale, ranging from music, commercial, documentary, beauty, and fashion—every once in a while, I’ll take a wedding. I am at a point in my career where I am thinking about how my work will live on and the stories we tell through images.

IY: What do you remember from your time in Expanding the Walls?

SMAN: Expanding the Walls was the beginning of everything for me. I was fifteen years old in a class of seventeen-to nineteen-year-olds, so I had to mature pretty fast. I honestly was never interested in photography. I applied because I was troublesome in school and needed an outlet quickly. To my surprise, I was accepted! Everything changed for me when I was in the program—my thinking, how I viewed the world, and others. My pinhole view of Flatbush and Bed-Stuy became broad really quickly. I wanted to explore and learn through art. It was the start of my lifelong passion. I would have never thought of myself as an artist or thinker until Expanding the Walls.

IY: How has music affected your work?

SMAN: I began collecting vinyls in the eighth grade. I didn’t even know what they were, but I just liked the cover art. Little did I know that it would come to influence my work later on.

IY: What music were you listening to as an Expanding the Walls participant?

SMAN: When I first started, I was on Soulja Boy. When I got into Expanding the Walls, I honestly began to explore all genres, and to this day I still listen to Bach, Chopin, Common, Most Def, Black Thought, Dilla, Pete Rock, Styles P, Jay Z, Al Green, soul—music with a message.

IY: Who are you listening to at the moment?

SMAN: All of the above. My playlist has expanded. I like some of the new music, but I can’t get down with it completely. I get headaches if I listen to trap too long—seriously.

Photo of Bodega Bamz in East Harlem Courtesy of the artist


I am at a point in my career where I am thinking about how my work will live on and the stories we tell through images.


IY: Who are some artists who you've worked with that you want people to know about?

SMAN: I have had the opportunity to tour with DRAM, Vince Staples, Loaf Muzik—work with Marlon Craft, Pete Rock, Skyzoo, Smif-N-Wessun, Sean Price (RIP), Nas, Radamiz, Joey Bada$$, Chelsea Reject, Bad Boy, Tyrese Gibson, Nicole Beharie, Deyon Taylor, Chris Matic, French Montana, A$AP Mob, Harry Fraud, V Don, Griselda—the list is very very long, but I am grateful.

IY: If you could shoot for anyone, who would it be?

SMAN: Kendrick, Jay Z, and Jeff Bezos.

IY: So you've gotten into working with teens and youth yourself. Tell me about the work you're doing in Bushwick.

SMAN: Right now, I am a part-time Teaching Artist at a youth-driven program called Educated Little Monsters. I teach film and photography to a cohort of students from ages nine to twenty-three. We work throughout the school year to produce a short film and gallery show, and at the end of the year, they have a screening. It's great!

IY: What advice would you give younger folks interested in getting into your line of work?

SMAN: Don't let anyone tell you what you can achieve, I have achieved a lot in so little time, and I am only 24—without a degree, just to throw that out there—even though I'm in school right now, needless to say. I am not even in my prime, and I don't plan on quitting any time soon. Write your goals in a black book, anything you can imagine, and go and get it. Never quit when shit hits the fan, because it'll only make you stronger. That's my word.

 


For more information on, Educated Little Monsters, please visit

www.educatedlittlemonsters.org.

You can see more of Sen's work at

www.senfloydproductions.com.