Servin Candorville in the Black Ground

Today I conclude Black Artists Week. I had so much fun looking up different artists, and learning about them, that I’m somewhat sad it’s over. It makes me wish I had taken an Art History class in college!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back next week with a new topic! ‘Till next time!

1. Michael Ray Charles (1967- )

Born in 1967, Michael Ray Charles was born in Lafayette, LO and spent most of his childhood growing up in Los Angeles, CA, New Orleans, LO and St. Martinville, LO. He studied design and advertising at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LO before getting a BFA degree. He got his MFA from University of Houston, Houston, TX and began teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, TX in 1993. His work and research is rooted in analyzing historic racial stereotypes of African Americans both in how American history views African Americans and how they view themselves as a result of demeaning stereotypes. He often employs black caricatures and stereotypes such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Tom to comment on current racial attitudes. He is no stranger to controversy but always has supporters and hailed as daring for pushing people to question society. He has been involved in numerous documentaries including Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” in 2000 of which he was the subject. He continues to exhibit in national and international venues. He lives with his family in Austin, TX. (For more information, please visit here.)

Here is one of Charles’ caricatures from his fictitious product line called Forever Free. This is titled “Servin with a smile” (1994):

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Another from his Forever Free series, #9, (1997):

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2. Julie Mehretu (1970- )

Julie Mehretu was born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is best known for her heavily layered abstract paintings and prints. She was the first child of an Ethiopian college professor and an American teacher who all fled the country in 1977 and moved to East Lansing, Michigan where her father got a teaching position at Michigan State University. Her art overlays different architectural features such as columns and facades with different geographical schema like charts or building plans and shows them from different perspectives: aerial, cross-section and isometric. For example, her Mogamma: A Painting in Four Parts (2012) is four giant canvases that relates to “Al-Mogamma” which is the name of the all-purpose government building in Tahrir Square, Cairo which was where the 2011 revolution occurred and architecturally symbolizes Egypt’s post-colonial past. She has had many solo exhibitions in museums such as the Guggenheim in New York, NY, the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany, and in London, England, just to name a few. She continues to work and lives in New York City with her partner, Jessica Rankin. (For more information, please visit here.)

Here is the 1st Panel of Mogamma: A Painting in Four Parts (2012):

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All four panels of Mogamma seen together:

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Merehtu’s Black Ground (2006, ink and acrylic on canvas):

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3. Darrin Bell (1975- )

Born in Los Angeles, CA on January 27, 1975, Darrin Bell started drawing when he was 3. He’s been published in the Daily Californian since 1993 and was an editorial cartoonist during the 1990s for the Los Angeles Times and other California newspapers. He is the first African American to have two comic strips syndicated nationally. His cartoon Candorville can be found in the Los Angeles Times (and I will occasionally read it when I have time and not working on my show). Bell is also a storyboard artist and he lives in Los Angeles, CA. (For more information, please visit here and here.)

Here is one of Bell’s books; the cover is a great example of his art:

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A plug for his other comic strip, Rudy Park:

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