Sunday, April 25, 2010


“It was mostly white people interested,” he said in the mid-1990s, recalling the days after he was discovered. “Some people would say stuff, say I looked like Gauguin, all different artists they say I looked like. A lot of black people seen them, but they didn’t say much to me about it. Some of them said I was mad, some cursed me out, some liked it, some of them admired me, some didn’t. A friend of mine — he’s passed away now — say to me: ‘I look at your paintings but I don’t see nothing. But every time I turn around you’re in the newspaper.’ ”NY TIMES
When we look back on black visual art and artist we must wonder why is the support for these artist only comes from the 'white patrons is it content , is it that African Americans just don't care for Art as it is portrayed in the 21st century.Is it that the Afro American Professional just not savvy enough to play a role in discovering and supporting visual artist or is it not a role we want to participate in. We are forced to confront this issue every time a artist of color is gobbled up and sucked of his or her creative juices and left indigent on there death bed. The cry comes from the rafters complaining about the way white entrepreneurs have taken advantage of that poor giving soul. The reality is that without those buzzards giving support over the years ;that individual would have not have been able to produce the quantity and quality of work that Purvis Young created over those 41 years.
In Short if Afro-Americans don't support Afro-American Artist don't complain when they are not seen in major galleries or featured in art news articles or are destitute and poor on there death bed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Purvis Young Dies at 67 on April 20, 2010

Street artist Purvis Young's career trajectory saw him rise from obscurity to international fame, then back to obscurity upon his death Tuesday at age 67.

While Young may have died a pauper at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, the vast number of his works are sure to increase in value, art experts said.

"There's no doubt that a Purvis Young painting today is certainly going to be worth more in value tomorrow," said Manhattan gallery owner Skot Foreman, who had known Young for 20 years and exhibited his work. "Some prices could double, some prices could triple."

Young's rare, original works could fetch up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, Foreman said.

After suffering a number of ailments in recent years, Young died of cardiac arrest about 5 a.m. Tuesday. "It is a sad day," Foreman said.

Young was born and raised in Miami's Overtown section and began painting after serving a three-year prison sentence for burglary. While still in his early 20s, the untrained artist created bright paintings on wood and metal, which he would nail to buildings in his neighborhood.

"I saw the pieces that he had around the community," said Derek Davis, who later became curator of the Old Dillard Museum in Fort Lauderdale. "You would see Purvis going around painting on anything from bus benches to pieces of driftwood."

Now, Young's paintings grace museums across the globe, including New York, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

But the scars of hard times never left Young. "He was always a very eccentric type of person," Davis said. "He was very much a recluse."

Working from an Overtown studio, Young produced multimedia creations of vibrant color in a style resembling fingerpainting. His themes: urban landscapes, wild horses, angels.

"Purvis Young was a school of one. Scholars have coined the term Urban Expressionist or Social Expressionist, and they were thinking of him," Foreman said.

"Purvis is the urban storyteller," said Suzanne Khalil, curator of EXOR Galleries in Boca Raton, which last year hosted an exhibit of his most artistic period, from the 1980s and '90s. "There is something very raw about the way he works."

Young was an activist in his art.

"Purvis was very passionate about social issues and racial issues," Foreman said. "He was very outspoken in his view on politics and bureaucracy."

Young's art was meant to inspire as well as tell a tale.

"There was always some message in his work," Davis said. "He started developing these elongated heads. That tells the viewer that he felt that men had some possibilities in them, mental possibilities that they were not using."

In 2008, Young told the Broward New Times he painted angels to help mankind. "I'm trying to sweeten the world up," he said. "Spray it with honey."

Young's work often could be found at the Grace Café and Galleries in Dania Beach, where they sold for hundreds of dollars.

In recent years, Young was left penniless because of litigation and a falling out with a manager, Foreman said. "Apparently there is no money," he said. "Myself and a few other people are going to have to put money into his burial, unfortunately."

Young's health suffered along with his fortunes. He had diabetes and its complications, as well as complications from a 2007 kidney transplant. He was plagued by infections and a wounded foot. He lost weight and had to give up riding his beloved bicycle. About five months ago he became wheelchair-bound, said Foreman, who visited Young earlier this year.

For the past few months Young lived in a Miami nursing home, requiring constant supervision. His spirits flagged. "When a man loses his dignity, he loses the will to fight," Foreman said. "I think he was ready to move on to the next plane."

A funeral is tentatively planned for Saturday in Overtown.

Robert Nolin can be reached at or 954-356-4525.
Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Purvis Young

When I returned to Miami and applied to attend the masters program at the U.of Miami
I recalled Interviewing with one of the professors;in the interview I made mention of my attempt to pursue primitivism in my work and was told to reference the works of Mr. Purvis Young, little did that person know that I was very familiar with his work and knew him personally. Fast Forward to 2010 Oscar Thomas #10 concerning the removal of Purvis Young's Works from that Show . We African American Artist regret the removal of his Work and hope that it contributes to his well being as we all are and were proud to be in the presence of his greatness.To those who venture in to the diamond mind in search of the hope diamond , those industrial gems that you overlook account for the richness that is humankind art.take your prize and do with it what you may , but protect that gem ,We industrial gems will carry on our simple calling. God Bless Purvis Young!