Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spirit Animals: Bill Traylor, William Hawkins & Lubok Prints


A lubok is a Russian popular print, characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from literature, religious stories and popular tales. Lubki prints were used as decoration in houses and inns. Early examples from the late 17th and early 18th centuries were woodcuts, then engravings or etchings were typical, and from the mid-19th century lithography. (wikipedia)


William "Bill" Traylor (1853–1949) was an African-American self-taught artist from Lowndes County, Alabama. Born into slavery, Traylor spent the majority of his life after emancipation as a sharecropper. It was only after 1939, following his move to Montgomery, Alabama that Traylor began to draw. At the age of 85, he took up a pencil and a scrap of cardboard to document his recollections and observations. From 1939 to 1942, while working on the sidewalks of Montgomery, Traylor produced nearly 1,500 pieces of art. (wikipedia)


As proudly inscribed on most of his paintings, William Hawkins was born in Kentucky on July 27, 1895, though he spent much of his adult life in and around Columbus, Ohio, where he first moved in 1916 to avoid a shotgun wedding. One of the most highly regarded African-American self-taught artists of the twentieth century, Hawkins worked tirelessly at numerous jobs—often simultaneously—ranging from breaking horses and running numbers to industrial steel casting and truck driving. He served in the Army in World War One, working burial details in France. Hawkins began painting in the 1930s, though he only dedicated himself exclusively to art around 1979, when he was discovered by neighboring artist Lee Garrett, leading to national attention and what collectors generally describe as his mature period.Tending to paint with a single brush and semigloss enamels on large plywood and Masonite surfaces, he often worked from his own black-and-white photographs of buildings and animals, boldly articulating his unique, expressionistic interpretations of architectural form, religious subjects, and nature studies in bright color and broad, patterned brushstrokes. (Source)
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