SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 21 SchoolArts: When did you first real- ize that art was what you were born to do? Amy Sherald: Probably high school, but I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very young age. I don't think you can really realize you were born to do some - thing until you can look back and see h ow life has fallen into place. How you met all the right people, and you were at all the right places at the right time. SA: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? AS: My upbringing and my environ- ment has had a great influence on my work. Movies like Big Fish, and pretty much every Wes Anderson movie made. The life and musical journey of John Coltrane. Photographers such as Gordon Parks, Vivían Maier, and Wayne Lawrence. Painters such as Rembrandt and Velázquez, and Ameri - can painters such as Bo Bartlett. SA: How do your portraits express what you perceive in your subjects? AS: They express through their pose but also by what they are wearing. I think the greatest way is through their eyes. It's them but essentially it's the presence I see beyond their outward appearance. What qualifies them and is the impetus for me to approach them, no one else may see. It's like spotting someone you do not know in a crowd, but for some reason you catch each other's eye. SA: You are known for using a gray scale to paint skin tones and only por- traits of African Americans. Can you s hare your reasons for those choices? AS: The gray scale was an aesthetic choice. Of course, art provokes dia- logue; transitioning brown skin to of heaven: She is grand, elegant, gor- geous, but her jackrabbit-quick wit is right there. Set against a monochrome flat powder blue, the First Lady is a guiding star to another kind of glam- our, a serious spirit whose sorrows were released, who spread warmth, respect, a sly sense of humor, and protectiveness. And a different idea of female power and beauty." The National Portrait Gallery announced a free giveaway of teach- ing posters for both the Michelle and Barack Obama portraits. Because of the more than 30,000 requests that have been received, submissions were suspended as of this writing. Check in the Spring of 2019 about renewed availability. Interview The 2019 NAEA National Convention, held in Boston this March, is honored to be hosting Sherald as a keynote speaker. Sherald graciously shared her thoughts with SchoolArts in antici - pation of her appearance at NAEA: M ork stands in histor s a correction to a dominant historical art narrative. What's precious inside of him does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence (All American), 2017. Oil on canvas, 54 x 43" (137 x 109 cm). Image courtes f the artist. CONTINUED ON PAGE 50.

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