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By his own admission, James “Creative” Shields can’t dance, can’t rap and can’t deejay. But he sure can draw.
And now he’d like to teach a younger generation to draw as well.
The Bed-Stuy-based artist recently released “The Hip Hop Coloring Book Vol. 1,” a 28-page children’s book that aims to teach kids about two of his favorite topics, creativity and the history of hip hop.
“It’s a mix of classic activities and creative exercises, all intertwined with the history of hip hop,” says Shields, 26, from his art store in DUMBO. “People forget that hip hop as a culture is not just about money and ego. It’s an art form that can provide kids with self esteem and identity. It promotes individuality.”
The coloring book, the first of five volumes, took Shields nearly a year and a half to complete. It features a list of seminal artists from early years of hip hop including Grandmaster Flash, Curtis Blow and DJ Kool Herc.
According to Shields, “One of my biggest concerns was bridging the generational gaps, connecting different audiences to the same music without it being intimidating or alienating.”