Monique Lorden, the artist working under the name 1985 Poet, is a revolutionary individual, through and through. Growing up, there were never any limitations placed upon her endeavors, and rather boundary-pushing was encouraged.
Monique and her sister were the only two girls to make the all-boys basketball team and she continues to carry that can-do attitude with her daily.
In collaboration with Brandon ‘Bmike’ Odums – Monique won the Red Bull x New Orleans Pelicans ‘NOLA Has Wiiings’ contest with her “Hoop Dreams & Poetry” backboard.
The goal of this transformative project aimed to replace backboards in the Crescent City. All eight participants contributed artistic prowess toward the embetterment of the community. We took some time to chop it up with Monique and tap into her basketball background.
Monique Lorden/1985 Poet
Kulture Hub: Who are you? What’s your brand? What are you all about?
Monique Lorden: I create under the name ‘1985 poet’ because I am a poet, not just an artist but also a writer. But that’s also the year I feel like the most high put someone on this earth to create change.
KH: What is your basketball playing style? How has this contributed to your artistic style if at all?
ML: I’m a shooting guard, my sister was a point guard. I had a pretty good shot. I love basketball. And I think it does translate into my art. Because if you played sports, that’s resilience, that’s practice, discipline and focus. I think that me growing up as an athlete prepared me for the arts.
KH: How does your backboard represent New Orleans?
ML: I like to think it screams New Orleans because it’s got the lights, the colors, the flair. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans then you know that’s what we’re all about. You go down Canal Street, you go down to the second lines [parades], you go down anywhere on Claiborne and that’s what you see – lights flashing, people partying and bright colors.
I guess the goal itself, my basketball goal aesthetically relates to New Orleans because I find that it is a contrast. You know, I use the black and white stripes. New Orleans is very colorful. We are a city of greatness and a city of improvement.
Variety in art installations
KH: What other artistic endeavors have you pursued?
ML: I did two other installations with metals. I have another installation at Studio Be in New Orleans and another metal installation that was a part of a city initiative exhibit.
KH: What factors do you think made you the winner of this contest?
ML: For a woman to pick up a sander and all these different tools that are needed for metal fabrication to learn how to weld and put things together [helped teach] the difference between iron and aluminum. So to learn lighting installation, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. They were expecting me to paint a basketball goal. And I in turn, do some welding. And you know, drill through that iron rim and then installed lights.
“I always say the only difference between someone who’s done it and the person who dreams of doing it is the decision to just do it.”Monique Lorden
KH: How did your background contribute to the specific medium you are working in?
ML: I come from acrylics and topicals. So I’ve always had that visual approach, but I never boxed myself in. I decided I want to do something a little different – I want to work with metals, I want to challenge myself.
KH: It is clear that you were raised within a culture of perseverance. In what ways did your family teach you to embrace the struggle in order to overcome?
ML: Being raised in a pretty modest upbringing and sometimes seeing my parents live check to check – I don’t even think it’s an embracing the struggle, it is being [immsered] within the struggle. The struggle is not enough. We don’t have to exist and live in the struggle. It has its place to teach us – to help us be better. But beyond that, you gotta rise above that.
Love at the heart of 1985 Poet
KH: What is your most crucial daily affirmation? The most resounding statement that you live by?
ML: I tell myself every day that I am love, and I am worthy to be loved. Because we know love is truly the revolution. Love is gonna change everything.
KH: It is clear you have a commanding presence and magnetic aura. How does love, faith and rebirth play a role in your artistic process?
ML: We try to define love so often – I think it’s only human to do so. You have romantic love, friendship or familiar love with families. But when you love your community and you have a purpose, and love is at the center of your core, there is no difference in love, love is love, right?
The same way that I love community, I put my heart out there for my community, I like to think that I do the same for my family. Because after all, we are all apart of something bigger than us, which is community.
I don’t try to isolate or define what love is, I just try to be it. I find that if I am love, I won’t have to figure out how to love.
It’s kind of like the way that I define peace. We always hear people say, “I gotta find my peace of mind. I’m trying to find peace right now.
I challenged myself a couple years ago. I was standing in the middle of Times Square, and you know, New York, and everything is moving around me. Everything was moving. I’m like, if I can be peace in this moment, then nothing can touch me.
Indeed, nothing is coming near the radiance and glowing magnificence that Monique personifies. She has found what makes her whole, the love she deserves and puts her will-power to max capacity every week.
Clearly, she continues to discover her why and always provides, “A Breadth of Fresh Heir” She’s cool she’s coolin. Feel the breeze. Spread Love. One.