I am an emerging artist based in Brooklyn, NY. I was born in 1995 in Baltimore, Maryland. After studying at New York University Shanghai majoring in history and social Science and working around the world in China, France, and Ghana, I decided to move to New York City and stay to pursue my passion for the arts. I can also speak Mandarin, French, and some Akan. I am a self-taught artist. I just like to make art that is provocative and most importantly tells a story. I use my training as an historian and as a world traveler to put stories on the canvas. Anything that I experience is subject to be my next painting. I believe this is what makes great art. That, and creativity. For me, art has to make a statement.
My art offers an alternative to the traditional held notion of Blackface. Through subversion I change the original meaning, promoting the black image. As a black man taking ownership of this, my art removes the hate from the symbol and replaces it with an alternative definition. Rather than sweep away American’s history of blackface, I put it on the canvas. I don’t believe erasing history will solve problems. As a human, and especially as an artist, I can work to reshape and recreate culture the way I want.
I want to encourage discussion on the idea of blackness. As a color, but also a racial identity. As an historian and as a black painter, I want to paint black people into stories that are powerful and will be remembered.
All my work can be viewed at instagram.com/houseofmarkwest