Tag Archives: portraiture

Artist Empowers Humanity by Reinventing Classic Portraits

images-1Artist Kehinde Wiley is restoring power and respect to humanity through art. How? By reinventing classic portraits in a way that honors black individuals. Wiley believes art—particularly portraiture—is power. He told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “What is portraiture? It’s choice. It’s the ability to position your body in the world for the world to celebrate you on your own terms.” With stunning vulnerability and bravery, Wiley reworks classic paintings so that they include black and brown-skinned people as the main subjects. For example, Wiley reinterpreted Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps by replacing Napoleon with a camouflage-clad black man. The made-over portrait places the black man in the same position of influence that Napoleon held. Now, that’s power.

The True Role of an Artist

What is an artist’s role in society? Should artists primarily make things look better, prettier? Kehinde Wiley doesn’t think so. He believes artists should think about “what they can do to start a broader conversation about presence and imminence and the desire to be seen as respected images-2and beautiful.” According to Wiley, an artist’s role in society should be one that facilitates the redemption of the beauty of humanity, regardless of race. That’s why he’s pouring his blood, sweat and tears into transforming masterpiece paintings into works of art that feature individuals of black and brown skin tones. Wiley says, “I understand blackness from the inside out. What my goal is, is to allow the world to see the humanity that I know personally to be the truth.”

Kehinde Wiley Makes Mugshots Beautiful

Mugshots are not typically thought of as beautiful; they are most commonly associated with shame and punishment. However, Kehinde Wiley sees them as something entirely different: a type of portraiture. imagesWiley turns mugshots into portraits that subtly broadcast a person’s vulnerabilities, fears and dreams. This is just another way he is displaying the humanness and intrinsic importance of people who are sometimes overlooked by society. Wiley refuses to overlook these individuals. He wants the world to see them for who they really are: humans who deserve to be respected and understood. Kehinde Wiley has a pretty good idea of why he is alive and what he was born to do. He says, “My job is to walk through the streets, find someone who’s minding their own business, trying to get to work, stopping them — the next thing you know, they’re hanging on a great museum throughout the world, and it allows us to slow down and to say yes to these people, yes to these experiences, yes to these stories.” Please note: the photos featured in this blog post are NOT the property of Segmation.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Artists Bring the Streets To Life with 3D Art

The World’s First Tetrachromat Artist

An Artist’s Story of Taking Risks and Staying Determined

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here) Segmation

Join us on FacebookSegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com

Advertisements

An Artist’s Story of Taking Risks and Staying Determined

Like many artists, Alexis Lawson found herself at a fork in the road. One path boasted little brush, bright lighting, and a trail that went as far as the eye could see. This was the path of education; after finishing her schooling, she would become a teacher with a salary, pension, and set vacation days. The other path was barely visible, covered with thick foliage and debris. She couldn’t see where it led beyond a couple steps. This was the path of professional photography.

Alexis took the path less traveled. Shortly after her daughter was born, about five years ago, she decided to avoid the safe route and go out on a limb. She became a professional photographer.

Since making this decision, the artist’s path has taken Alexis on a journey of discovery. As she progressed in her career, she experienced many changes. For instance, Alexis’s photography career started with taking pictures of children and families. Today, Alexis specializes in couture female portraiture.

The Palm Beach based photographer was turned onto glamour photography by Sue Bryce, the portrait photographer behind the Olay Best Beautiful Stories. To follow in Bryce’s footsteps, Alexis signed up for mentorships and workshops with photographers who specialized in shooting “glamour shots.” Alexis admits that photographing women as if they were Vogue cover models “hit home” with her. It was this feeling and her admiration for women—who, like her, managed careers, homes, and families—that prompted her to shine a light on their inner and outer beauty.

After realizing this, Alexis stepped out onto another limb. She turned the back room of her home into a photography studio. Even though there was no guarantee people would come into this space or solicit her services, she took the chance and made a massive renovation.

With a studio in place, Alexis knew it was up to her to bring in women to photograph. She began pounding the pavement, working 50 hours a week to network and market her unique services. All the while, Alexis knew that what she told the women she photographed applied to her, too. “Be true to yourself and stick to it,” she would say.

Like many artists, Alexis had talent. But beyond talent, she worked hard to make her dreams come true. The evolution of her career involved taking risks, working hard, and overcoming obstacles. As she took time to navigate the rocky terrain of the path she chose, she remained focused on the most important thing: being true to the artist inside her.

Today, Alexis Lawson can be found in Palm Beach, shooting couture photographs from her in-home studio. Visit Alexis’s website to see an extensive display of her photography: http://www.alexislawsoncreative.com/.

If you want to be a professional artist, you can. Take the path less travel. Step out onto a limb and work hard to make your dreams reality. And take Alexis’s advice: Be true to yourself and stick to it.