Amy Sherald is a Baltimore portrait artist. I first came across her paintings a few years ago, after falling in love with her portrait of Michele Obama. A majority of her paintings represent everyday people doing everyday things. After doing some deep diving, I discovered there is much more to unpack than just a beautiful portrait of everyday people. First and foremost, I love her use of bright, vivid colors along with clean lines. Also, I admire how she portrayed people of color.
At first glance, you will notice that the skin tone is in grayscale. That is because she wants the viewer to experience the private life of the subjects and not just be viewed as a political statement because of their skin. Each painting should be an experience. That is powerful. The black body has always been seen as a political statement and with grayscale, that barrier is broken down and people can look unbiasedly at the individual’s experience. To add to that sense of intimacy a majority of her portraits are at eye level. That is so the viewer can meet the subject’s gaze. It adds a sense of humanity. If you would like more information about her paintings check out this video. Also, check out some of her work below. What do enjoy about Amy Sherald’s paintings?