The cover of American Vogue was drawn by two contemporary artists: Jordan Castile and Kerry James Marshall. The latter portrayed a fictional girl (he never draws real people) in an Off-White dress. In her expression on her face, he tried to convey the fact that she does not depend on the viewer’s gaze.
He is called one of the main black artists of our time. In his canvases, Marshall explores the everyday life of black communities in the United States. The goal of his art is to normalize African American culture, which has long been rejected in predominantly white circles. On the wave of the Black Lives Matter movement, his work takes on new meaning. Marshall’s paintings are based on personal life experience.
“You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955, grow up in South Central Los Angeles near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you have some kind of social responsibility. You can’t (…) don’t talk about it”, says the artist, citing systematic racism in the United States.
With the help of art, he intends to fix this by promoting African American culture to a wide audience, so it ceases to be marginal. On his canvases, African traditions coexist with paintings of life in the ghetto. Bright colors, as in national costumes – with a dark, almost black skin tone. Each Marshall painting is a story of a civil rights struggle.
He broke the ground for black artists, ascending to the top echelon of the art world while remaining steadfastly dedicated to presenting work that explores America’s black experiences. His experience growing up in the Watts area of South Central Los Angeles deeply influenced his art.
See the work of one of the main living artists: