For my post today I am going to talk about and show some artwork from some famous artists (of many sorts). Since I wanted to continue my “theme” of the week on African American History all the artist I will be talking about are African American. I want to do this not only because it is African American (Black) History month but because art is one of my many passions (which is probably why I am a Art major at SMSU). I feel that art is one of the few forms that people can freely express themselves without being judged. Yes critiques may happen more often than not but no matter how hard someone might try they cannot change how YOU as an artist does YOUR work.
Each of the artists I am going to talk about have shared depictions of historic events, individuals, cultural perspectives and the experiences and struggles of minorities thought their work. I am only going to talk about five today, but there are many African American artists throughout history. I would highly suggest looking into it more if you like art. You might have your breath taken away or have an overflow of emotions after looking at some of the pieces. Now I will describe the five artists I wanted to highlight today.
The first person I am going to talk about is Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988). He was a Neo-Expressionist painter in the 1980s. He is best known for bringing African American and Latino experiences into the art world through his graffiti art. He is also known for his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol.
The second person I am going to discuss is Augusta Savage (1892-1962). She was an artist, activist and arts educator who inspired many people by teaching, helping and encouraging them. She was best know for her sculptures and for being one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. She also was one of the many black artists to experience racial discrimination by an art program’s selection committee.
The third person I going to shed some light on is Kara Walker (1969-). She is known for her use of large paper silhouettes to portray social issues surrounding gender, race and black history. She is a well-known painter that has gone through many struggles to display her art. In one case she had to battle an older group of African American artists who though she was using black stereotypes in her artwork.
The fourth person I am going to talk about is James Van Der Zee (1886-1983). He was a well-known Harlem based photographer that was known for his posed and storied pictures that captured African American citizens and celebrities. Due to the creation of personal cameras James Van Der Zee’s services and commissions dwindled in his later years. However, he is still known and celebrated for the work he created in his early years.
The fifth and final person I am going to discuss is E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Campbell was the first African American cartoonist (and writer) to have his cartoons mass produced in newspapers and magazines. He is best known for his illustrations for Esquire magazine. Since it was common to have mostly white characters in illustrations back then Campbell’s race was not generally known to readers. He work was later inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame posthumously in 2002.
FYI: Here is a link to more African American artist Biographies http://www.biography.com/people/groups/black-artists