Incredible Portrait Paintings of African Americans by Amy Sherald


Amy Sherald is a 44-year-old painter and artist who was born and raised in Columbus, Ga and currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. Amy received her Bachelor’s of the Arts in Painting from Clark- Atlanta University in 1997. Sherald moved to Baltimore on a whim and ended up at the Hoffberger School of Painting, studying with Grace Hartigan and graduating in 2004. Through her portraits, Amy Sherald explores the ways people construct and perform their identities in response to political, social, and cultural expectations. “Each painting starts with a chance encounter of an individual that embodies certain resonating characteristics,” she says. Amy Sherald has paintings in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

I am constantly searching for models and creating costumes for each character. Although the figure is painted in gray it is photographed in color, and the skin color is than translated into gray on canvas by using black and naples yellow. I place the figure within an atmospheric background that represents a liminal space as opposed to one that would provide a context of place or time. Thus, creating the impetus for the viewer to truly come face to face with the painted figure as if they are on stage underneath a spotlight.

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Incredible Portrait Paintings of African Americans by Amy Sherald

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