Kerry James Marshall: the artist who only paints black people | Channel 4 News

Kerry James Marshall: the artist who only paints black people | Channel 4 News



all of me why not take all of me even amongst a lot of black people being really dark is itself not quite value and this is all because whiteness is still the privileged position occupied I didn't grow up in a family that was interested in art per se you know for my for my father's entire life until I had an exhibition of the gallery he'd never set foot in the museum i sat about in a lot of ways trying to be an old master you know sort of following the model that Leonardo da Vinci set and then how to begin to situate a black figure in this southern area that had the same kind of power that a picture like Leonardo da Vinci were to make I like Raphael would have made it or later on how that MANET would have made the museum's and place the black subject was never the central subject of a picture they were always at the margins always peripheral to the river to the central narrative of a story and so that was something that had a profound impact on me and I tried to figure out a way to bring that subject to the center and I've read that you took a conscious decision at 14 not to paint any white people is that true yeah I mean I did because then they are already quite enough and and the truth is that the white population is pretty good at projecting image of its ideal self into the world so we I don't need to reinforce that really your characters your people they're very black who that's where the maximum amount of power in the image resides it resides at that extreme you know it's a way of recouping the power and and the beauty that can exist within blackness even at that extreme I mean I guess obviously when people see it that that Pearl Earring hanging from her here it sort of immediately cause up the image of the Vermeer painting of the girl with the Pearl Earring it's fairly rare and and in the media almost really recent that you start to see the image of a really dark-skinned black woman and a black woman that doesn't have long straight hair I mean you talk about putting black people in the picture there is an argument of course you have a black president who is central in the picture now mm-hmm there are a lot of things you can say about what it means symbolically to have a black president it means that you sort of cross the one threshold at least that that there's a generation of young people who have experienced the presence of a black person in the position of power so that they it's not the reality that they can no longer imagine that as a possibility do you think President Obama Barack Obama would be President were he a very black kind of man probably not probably not the fact that he had a white mother and was raised by his white grandparents I mean that means something I mean it matters to people who could accept him as as the president I mean because there is a there is a question of whether one is black because one is too black you know or not black enough I mean there are all of these kind of questions that people are negotiating houses as a poor black person with no power very little money what do you do I mean I was a poor black person with no money for for a time too but I had something that was really valuable that nobody could take from me I had knowledge and then I had skills and I made sure I knew how things worked I mean I see people who were in their house was sit there sit in the house with a broken window with a piece of newspaper stuck in the hole as opposed to going to the hardware store and paying $3 for a piece of glass and replacing the glass that's the difference so if you have a population of people who think they don't have the capacity to do anything that's what they will do the world is not fair it's not going to be fair so in a world that's not fair you better get out and do some and and take charge of what you want in the world I am thinking I'm not enough because we've been we've been conditioned to expect that somebody else is supposed to provide we take all of me you

45 Comments

  • Jahmila Rosario says:

    Black artist making black art geared towards healing the community…we are winning…#blackart

  • Peerawat Phompan says:

    That goods

  • Ronald Lamont says:

    It's funny that it seems to be a big deal that a black artist decides to only paint black people, but it's never even assumed that a white artist is expected to paint any thing but white people!!!

  • MajorIllustration says:

    Seems like the most important part of this interview is at the end, about four min. in. Not enough in America are going for it, because they…"expect someone else is supposed to provide", but you need to believe you can do something, take charge and do it. I hear parents telling their little toddlers, "You can't do that!" That's where it starts. Too bad the title was worded that way, but, I'm sure it lured more in for views.

  • TIM ALI says:

    im not bragging, but blacks, are very gifted

  • TIM ALI says:

    i am a fartist.. I pass gas much

  • Sp 300 says:

    He sees "divinity", in himself.. Nothing wrong with that…

  • okuomose okuns says:

    Puff daddy made me come here

  • MzNCNYC20 says:

    literally BLACK, lol, its pretty though.

  • TheAithWONDER says:

    Where can I buy his works and see his works?

  • Roman Darius says:

    Notice how the globalist media is not condemning this as "Racial Hate."

  • Jayla Blackwell says:

    [ ] Hey Loves, It'd be great if you could visit my Etsy shop… I produce afrocentric art as well as other styles https://www.etsy.com/listing/569413144/african-acrylic-painting-18-x-24-lew

  • Mr Popo says:

    Seems fine to me considering there are people who only paint / draw / whatever anyone but black people.

  • Da Royal General says:

    kudos.

  • African Defender says:

    African art says something

  • Beardz brothers leather goods says:

    black artisians should always stay true to self .

  • Евгений Воронкин says:

    If a white person decides to paint white folks only, could it be possible to do a reportage about it frankly, without regular howl from negros?

  • Aten Akehnaton says:

    LoL this guy is nowhere fucking close to being an "old master". He cannot draw or paint. His art looks like that of a beginner stepping into college.

  • iayyam says:

    those pieces are GORGEOUS

  • SoloArt Studio says:

    Nice style!!

  • Not Tryin' To Hear You! says:

    I am a white female but my portraits focus on multi-cultural love in all fashions. I highlight the subjects body language to express their strong emotions for each other. Subjects include everyone from a dark black man and pale white female romantically embracing each other as one…. to a dark black woman cradling her pale white child that clings tightly to her..and everyone in between showing their deep affection and love for one another. I don't believe, support or encourage separatism in any way. Having an inter-racial president has nothing to do with art. If Obama were white he would never have been elected but as an elected president, he would have been impeached and prosecuted long ago. Let's hope that we don't make the same mistake in electing a female president. I hope to see one in the future that we can all be proud of.

  • Baruti Tucker says:

    I want to meet his beautiful human being.

  • Vanessa Zaragoza says:

    Kerry James Marshall is an inspiration to all minorities. I am not black I am Latina but I can definitely relate. GREAT JOB! I saw his exhibit at the MCA in Chicago, they were so touching. I loved it.

  • Zachary Romero says:

    This man is an incredible artist. I saw his work at the MCA in Chicago and was literally stunned. If you're anywhere in the midwest, do yourself a favor and go his exhibition, right now.

  • MARGO F says:

    I'M A TOTAL FAN..& DARK AS WELL! Paint on brothaman…forget Leo Dvinc, You got more than they could ever bring to the "center". Props. I w/b looking for your artwork. Respectfully, Margo

  • Leatha Patton says:

    I see some comments about racism in various comments. I am not certain what ethnicity these individuals are. However, racism was established from the very inception of slavery and the 'founding' of the United States of America. As a white person relayed to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, the very word America spells I AM RACE!!

  • Jemase says:

    I just got back from the Cody, WY museum. There was not a single black cowboy in any painting or sculpture. The cowboy culture is worshipped in this country, but it was not a really white culture. A quarter of the real old west cowboys were black. They did the roughest, most dangerous work. More than another quarter were Mexican. There was also a hefty number of Native Americans and some Chinese. Take back the rugged, independent black cowboy heritage and force it to be acknowledged.

  • Shinywarrior says:

    I must see this guys work. He made a powerful decision at a young age and that set him apart from his peers. His work on a technical level is visually majestic stunning, bold and at the same time reminds you of your conditioning. Its made me think about my ideals about beauty and my own personal struggles.

  • Granny'sAtelier says:

    What's the name of the song in the intro?

  • Paul Ramnora says:

    Personally speaking, I can recall going along to Morley College in UK/London; to do a 12 x weeks introductory Fine Art Foundation course(which I did not choose to continue with for the rest of the year). We did a lot of artistic research; and, I would frequently mention why are there no 'black/brown/yellow' angels in art? But, instead, they are all 'white'…??? In fact, in the whole of Christianity, (I'm Christian myself), the drawings/paintings/sculptures I come across tend to be all 'white': Jesus/Mary/-etc….whether these works were created either yesterday/or else, today. Sometimes, I wonder does that really and truly reflect the fact that during our modern day era Christianity is, in fact, a worldwide religion…?

    I also met a black female painter; and, she painted realistically; but, I noticed she only drew/painted blacks. She actually encouraged me to paint 'blacks', only. But, I just replied, no; I don't wish to 'limit' myself in any way; I believe in drawing/painting any race I see in the world; including, 'mixed race'. 

    I'm not saying, that if a person only wishes to paint exclusively (or, almost exculsively) people of their own colour; then, to me, that's their own business, alone. Let them do whatever it is they want; and, me, I'll do what I want; as there's really little anyone can do about it to stop them, anyway.

    When I look at Picasso, one of my most fav. artists in the whole wide world; I see almost exclusively 'whites'. So, what…? Does this imply that Picasso was 'racist'? Somehow, I think, not. I'm far more inclined to believe that the people who he mostly dealt with in life were 'whites'; so, therefore, he mostly drew/painted 'whites'.

    There are many other 'white' people artists whose work I've encountered who choose to draw/paint people of every colour; and, I'm sure, there are coloured people who draw/paint exclusively 'whites'; so, in the end it's basically up to them what they chose to do; and, really that's that; whatever makes you feel most truly comfortable, I guess. At the end of the day, art is all about exercising your own free will, and, particular choice. I'm not sure that outsiders should be allowed to 'dictate' exactly what an artist either should/or, shouldn't do…! Though, everybody is allowed full freedom to express their opinions about any artists work.

    Personally speaking, I disagree that painting should be all about drawing/painting only your 'own' race, exclusively, alone. After all that said and done, though; I really respect and admire the sheer skill; and, quality of this artists work; which, I think, is certainly up there with the very best of them who ever yet lived. I like, too, the fact that his art works are filling in the gap of 'coloureds' being unlisted in art. When I regularly go and visit seeing many London galleries like The Tate/National/-etc….I mostly tend to see drawings/paintings/sculptures that are almost exclusively…possibly, 99%…'white'. So, I can definitely see where he's coming from, and, that he's got a point…coloured people as art does 'need' to be included.

  • Neru Eru says:

    "Recouping the power and the beauty that exists in blackness even at that extreme." There are many shades to black. It's just skin color. But art isn't about color, it's about people.  A lot of artists now are slowly beginning to embrace and portray black people, and sometimes in a cliched whitewashed way. A person of true African descent doesn't have big wavy puffy hair. They just don't. Portraying people like that or with relaxed hair doesn't make them bad people. Just that a bit of perspective is needed. Take this video for what it is. A matter of perspective. Saliently so. Remember, we are one people.

  • S. Jay says:

    I LOVE IT !!!

  • lifelinesomalia says:

    There is nothing wrong with that there are many people who paint only their people, chines Indians European Arab and there are many African who just paint black people. 

  • Christopher Pope says:

    This generation don't want to know anything but what they know now? NOTHING….

  • Christopher Pope says:

    How could this be racist it is just a different form of art express by someone who is making and impression of black art history which was way back in the days that we as black African Americans didn't have too much. I can not say about any white form of white history just as of what was then but today it's different. And another thing i say again their is nothing wrong with this and yes their is 2 different side's to each story.But in order for anyone to know they must study black history to know the history and mistreatment and hanging may i say more. And no look and read for your self and know the history.

  • helena O says:

    yet there are millions of white people that only paint white people………. but no one asks them why?
    oh yeah i forgot being white is the status quo. 

  • H.J.W says:

    what a redundant title to this video. I was expecting him to be some sort of black nationalist or something. This guys a bloody good artist, who gives a fuck whether he only draws black people, some people only prefer to draw landscapes…he's not a racist. This guys intelligent. and very talented. 

  • Robology UK says:

    It is amazing to me that the fact Obama has a white mother makes him black. Only in a country still steeped in the race laws of slavery. I think anywhere else like the UK, he would be viewed as mixed race, which is what he is. Without the presence of his black dad, his socialisation was entirely white. To use him as an example for black empowerment is wrong, he was socialised as a white person.

  • Slugzz says:

    White people are literally offended because he only paints black people. Holy shit quit being babies. It's not only art, it's history in and within itself as to why he only paints black people. Van Gogh didn't paint black people, Da Vinci didn't paint black people either. Was there racist intent behind it? fuck no. Leave the man alone and quit people so butthurt because he doesnt wanna paint white people.

  • Christopher Pope says:

    I am a artist my self and I understand what he is really saying in his art and about his art .

  • pmack smith says:

    Wow! it seems this video attracted the nazi trolls again..

  • Black Studies says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you channel 4 for sharing this amazing artist

  • Christopher Pope says:

    Their is nothing wrong with this kind of art. It is really about black education of black history which is really not talked about much at all. This new generation need to be educated about black history and if it has to be showed in anyone's art.

  • CIIIKINGS says:

    brilliant brother

  • Martin Rayner says:

    Seems childishly racist – two wrongs don't make a right.

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