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Paul Von Blum

artist and arts administrator, was born in Greenville, North Carolina, the son of John Ivery Outterbridge, a self-employed truck hauler, and Olivia Outterbridge, a homemaker whom her son imaginatively describes as a “poet of family life.” John Outterbridge's decades of artistic accomplishments, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media assemblages, influenced and inspired younger artists of all backgrounds throughout southern California and the nation. His artwork, reflecting his profound dedication to recapturing the African and African American past, made him a legendary figure in African American art. Throughout his career, moreover, he combined administrative leadership in Los Angeles–area community art programs with a prolific record of studio production.

Each step of his life informed his artistic perspective Discovering his creativity in early childhood he drew and painted with his parents active encouragement He experienced both the slights and insults of the Jim Crow era as well as the ...

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Lisa D. Freiman

artist and educator, was born Betye Irene Brown in Pasadena, California, to Beatrice (maiden name unknown), a seamstress who enjoyed quilting, and Jefferson Brown, a salesman who liked to sketch and write. Jefferson Brown died from kidney problems when Saar was six years old, and Betye and her brother and sister lived with her mother's great-aunt and great-uncle until her mother remarried a man named Emmett six years later. After the second marriage, Beatrice had two more children, a boy and a girl. Saar spent summers with her grandmother in Watts, where she saw Simon Rodia'sWatts Towers, a vernacular example of assemblage consisting of eight tall conical spirals. Built from steel rods, covered in concrete, and encrusted with found objects like bottle caps, glass, broken tiles, and shells, the Watts Towers seemed like “fairy-tale castles” (Isenberg, State of the Arts 23 to Saar and ...

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Josepha Sherman

artist and preacher, was born to a West African father and a Cherokee mother in Africa, although the exact date was not recorded. After two years the family moved to the United States and settled on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, where Sparrow s maternal grandfather lived Sparrow later claimed the man was a tribal chief Sparrow grew up in an area that was settled by Cherokees and the descendants of slaves At seven he began preaching to the forest animals then he began speaking in tongues and speaking to his family s Pentecostal church In his youth he drew stick figures in the sand then recorded images on scraps of paper One day he discovered pieces of plywood and began to use them to for his sketches A passing man offered to buy one but Sparrow angrily refused he had not made pictures to sell ...