A portrait of a political cycle was what it was about. It was 1983 and my friend Ronnie Williams called me over to his studio while we were living in Dayton, Ohio at the time. He had an official letter from president Ronald Reagan. The White House wanted him to become one of the official portrait painter of the White House. Ronnie was excited. Months later he would receive another letter rejecting him as an official portrait artist of the White House. Ronnie admitted to me that it was his past that eliminated him from the pool of artists to the White House. He had severed prison time for armed robbery, and they had found out about it. Painting transformed my friend into a better person. Ironically that’s where Ronnie became an expert portrait artist in prison.
At another paint setting, the paintings were done by an expert with the paint brush. There was no problem with the composition or technique, spot on. At the same time you could call it but not call her works photorealism, and if so I didn’t want to know how she created her paintings after I saw the first painting. Madame Simone Brunau was at the exhibit. Who is she you might ask, she was the founder and the director of the Cité des Arts located in Paris, France and the exhibition was at the Cité des Arts gallery. Madame Brunau was one of the most important art figures of true French resistance fighters in keeping most of the art safe out of reach of the Nazi occupation during the war. I walked up to her during the exhibition and asked her what did she think of the exhibition. She told me it was not her taste, nor mine, it was beastly. I was trying to figure out what was the meaning of the word. Oh wow I didn’t know, having sex with animals. It was obvious in the paintings.
The right to like or dislike, that’s the question, freedom of choice. Shock them that knee jerk response it gets them every time.
Obama was a perfect king media’s Trojan horse created from somewhere in the deep state. Communists and Socialists have a tendency to tear thing down and put everybody in a collective but those who wrote the manifesto. They create that private inner circle “la gauche caviar”. Trendy liberals with all the money, telling everybody else what to do while destroying everything in there way including art. Even art becomes contaminated with an orgy of ugly things.
Sometimes the canvas can be too clean. When he walked, he overdid it, when he called us all Americans, he overdid it, we are all fallen people at some level of our past deal with it and move on. He was different or so we thought because he looked like us. I could see right through a lot of things, and espescially when it came to the arts or anything related. When we were children in school they gave us a pencil and paper to draw - that was also to explore our thoughts. Be careful when you let it all hang out on social media and the Internet. We are all born with a blank piece of paper to our souls, it comes back on you, that is how the system works its way into our lives, it takes report cards on everybody. A kind of art report card.
I voted for him, why not, I never believed in the political system anyway, I just voted for my ancestors who busted their backs in this belief system. Why not give Obama a chance to have his hands in the cookie jar.
Thus what’s up with the portraits. The arrogance of Obama was transparent to me from day one. The arrogance of Hillary was clear. Those political figures come and go. How could Obama complain about anything, whether you’re white or black, he went beyond the yellow brick road. The left did not want to relinquish power once they got voted out by the people. Yes the people, illegal voters don’t count. Identity politics, I’m the first woman president, vote for me, I’m the first Latino president, vote for me, I’m the first Asian president, vote for me. People don’t check the facts or the character of the individual. They should. Wake up! The art reflects the times. Always will.
Most if not all presidents walked away from the office of the presidency sailed into the sunset not to criticize the next president. He who is wise will not criticize when your time has come up to leave. Obama got a 75 million dollar book deal, they all did. Now to the portrait that sums it up. As an artist, OK, an African-American painter I get that because I am one. I never painted with male sperm nor painted chopped off heads. Or painted with shit nor created shit statues like Jeff Koons, that’s another art story in and off itself. Yes sad despite the hype, it’s crappy. We are being forced fed this stuff. You can shock your viewer with all that jazz and the reader or viewer will get tired of sick ass narratives about you and your art, but at the end of the day, people are not stupid. I have known several artists who went off the deep end. Why people trust politician, it’s a mystery. Culturally and artistically the artists miss the boat in trying to understand the now, not the history of the now and then. The portraits look like they were done by a Chinese artist, I know about their technique. Or maybe not. If you wanted some radical negro to paint your portrait, you should have gotten Ronnie Williams from the hand of a true soul brother and who turned his life around. In time those portraits will sum up Obama’s presidency and legacy, as to far to the left as you can get.
ARTIST EALY MAYS