Author: Eric Hanks (Eric Hanks)

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Keinyo White (b. 1970)

Keinyo White (b. 1970)

When asked if he has an artist’s statement, Keinyo White replied: “I don’t have one. I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to live up to some sort of grand artistic vision and it only ended up impeding my painting. So now I just paint what I feel like painting without regard...

Walter Williams (1920-1998)

Walter Williams (1920-1998)

According to Rene Hanks in The Other Side of Color, Walter Williams did not start creating art until he was 30 years old, when he used his veterans benefits to enroll in art classes at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. There he studied under Ben Shahn, Reuben Tam and Gregorio Prestopino. In 1962 he moved...

Charles Sebree (1914-1985)

Charles Sebree (1914-1985)

According to Terry Bain in the St. James Guide to Black Artists, Charles Sebree cites his uncle, John Robinson, as the primary inspiration for his interest in art. Robinson drew stick figures and cartoons in his spare time. Bain says, “the cartoon like qualitities of ‘doodling’ remain in [Sebree’s] work,” even though Sebree was formally...

William Pajaud (1925-2015)

William Pajaud (1925-2015)

William Pajaud says, “both my ethnic and cultural backgrounds serve as root sources for my work.” His aim, he says further, is to honestly portray human efforts to cope with the cycles of life and death. Paul Von Blum also points out that Pajaud’s childhood in the deep south informs his work. Part of that...

Charles Searles (1937-2006)

Charles Searles (1937-2006)

Charles Searles earned a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and started his artistic career as a painter. In 1972, his senior year at the Academy, and after the tragic and painful loss of his daughter, he won a fellowship and traveled to Ghana, Nigeria and Morrocco. This trip marked a turning point....

Augusta Savage (1892-1962)

Augusta Savage (1892-1962)

In Leslie King-Hammond, in the St. James Guide to Black Artists, calls Augusta Savage “a sculptor of remarkable tenacity, will, and determination, in spite of issues of race, class, and gender in an era that did not encourage or recognize women who chose to work in a genre believed to be the domain of white...

John Riddle (1933-2002)

John Riddle (1933-2002)

According to Lizetta LeFalle-Collins in the St. James Guide to Black Artists, John Riddle’s early artwork reflected, in style and subject matter, the influence of Paul Gaugin. But when Watts erupted in 1965 he turned his attention to the struggles of persons of African descent. His work became highly political and described the harsh conditions...

Archibald J. Motley, Jr. (1891-1981)

Archibald J. Motley, Jr. (1891-1981)

“Archibald J. Motley, Jr. was one of a very few artists to study art at an academy when he enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago-one of the first art schools in the United States to admit African American art students without overt racial segregation-in 1914,” said David Driskell in the introduction...

Michael Massenburg (b. 1959)

Michael Massenburg (b. 1959)

“My goal is to create art to inspire, inform, and provoke thoughts and ideas,” says Michael Massenburg. “I’m constantly searching for ways to speak about truth and possibilties.” In 2003 Massenburg’s work was in an exhibit titled Finding Damily Stories, which was held at four different venues in Los Angeles; California African American Museum, Self-Help...

Sargent Johnson (1887-1967)

Sargent Johnson (1887-1967)

In Modern Negro Art James Porter says Sargent Johnson’s work “transcends racial interest” and “gives the double impression of uniqueness and audacity that one frequently gathers from the apt elliptical expressions of Negro folk poetry.” Porter goes on to say that Johnson’s sculpture reflects influences from African art. “Johnson in particular made splendid application of...