A Letter To What Used To Be 

A Letter To What Used To Be expresses the narratives of three black people born and raised in North Carolina. The state is changing rapidly and it’s important to remember those who built the culture it represents: the natives. Using film photography, digital photography, film and collage, Phillip Loken connects his audience to the memories and experiences of those who’ve long called North Carolina home. Four pieces from "A Letter To What Used To Be" were exhibited in the "BLACK GAZE" group exhibition at The Light Factory in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Digital Photographs & Scans of Expired 35mm Film Negatives

All images made in 2021

The Bridge

With an authenticated Colton map from 1865 serving as the base of this collage, “The Bridge” serves as a connection between the experiences of freed slaves and current black life in North Carolina. The documents shown in this collage are the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment and General Order No. 3 that freed the slaves in Galveston, Texas.

Medium/Materials: Oil Based Sharpie, Epson Paper, Plastic, Colton Hand Colored Map (1865)

Dimensions: 15x18 inches unframed (20x23 1/4 inches framed)

Adult Swim Inspired Commercial

Pulling inspiration from Cartoon Network’s nighttime programming Adult Swim, Phillip continues to mix his career background in marketing with his love for visual arts. This commercial serves as a brief intermission between the more serious subject matter covered in “A Letter To What Used To Be”, while still directly tackling the topic of gentrification.

Music by Julian Argo & Josh Fonzarelli of $BlackProfit$