I often turn to drawing during tough times. It is less of a respite and more of a regroup. I have drawings that I work on over a number of years. This is one of them. My subjects need breath, blood, and DNA to be convincing. If they don’t have it I put it them on a back burner. They lie in the flat file like a body on a slab at a cryonics lab. There will come a time. We will meet again.
I found that time on an early autumn morning during the final weeks of the campaign. The country was being hijacked by an evil and dangerous huckster. A sociopathic bully who wants to rob the country of its life and dreams was all anyone was talking about. It’s the fragile, defenseless, and invisible ones who will take the hit and feel it first. They always do. That brings me to the backstory of this drawing.
Forty-five years ago I had attitude, a young man’s swagger. I was a bit of a punk and usually ready for a fight. That made me a repeated target for the local police.
On one particular morning I arrived three hours late for Ed Colston’s three hour class. Ed Colston had facial hair like Malcolm X; he wore kente cloth dashikis and very often sunglasses. He spoke in a gravelly voice just above a whisper. When I arrived the classroom was empty except for Mr. Colston. I was beginning to explain myself when he said, “I know, I heard.” I was arrested the night before but this time couldn’t afford bail. I had to spend the night in jail and wait for an early morning court appearance. He appreciated the energy and pedal to the metal pace that I kept but was concerned about my recklessness, I suppose. He asked if he could show me something. We arrived at his studio and he pulled out a painting. It was the only painting that he showed me in a roomful of paintings. “It’s called ‘Little Black Sambo with a Hard On for Life.’” he whispered in my ear. And then we left.
Over the years that painting has come to mean, among other things, strength and a sparkling yet bruised resilience. When Ed showed it to me that morning, it was one of the sweetest and most genuinely human gestures I’ve ever been given.
Forty-five years ago was also a time of great divide and anger. I think about Ed and his Little Black Sambo often and I mean often. Because he understood. That is what caring people do. That is what he did and why he did it.
Some museums are opting for new language to describe the preserved individuals in their collections who were once living humans.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
Located in Des Moines, Iowa, this residency for emerging and established artists includes studio and living space, a $1,000 monthly stipend, and more.
As art history buffs on the app have pointed out, both movements attribute meaning to the meaningless.
Multiple posts about the film have been taken down on Twitter, many of them following the government’s removal requests.
This week, blonde hair supremacy, Salman Rushdie’s new novel, and why do boutique shops all look the same?
Fayneese Miller is under fire after the school failed to renew the contract of an adjunct who showed artworks depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
Fully-funded teaching assistantships are standard for MFA students at the top-ranked, flagship research university in the state of New York.
Hundreds of visitors were evacuated from the Incan site over the weekend.
The artist’s works resonate in West Texas, where the story of dehumanized and exploited migrant laborers is tangible and ever-present.
A posthumous show of Price’s work is curated by James Hart of Phil Space, the self-proclaimed “gallerist of death.”
She has raised generations of Bay Area artists and changed the local landscape with her public artworks, colleagues tell Hyperallergic.