Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brother Story: Ernie Barnes

i saw a segment of a show on TV-One last spring.  the segment was about artist Ernie Barnes.  and i've been fascinated by him ever since.  i learned a few weeks ago that he passed away not too long after that segment aired.  i didn't hear about it when it happened, but i was caught up in a whirlwind of crisis and trauma at the time, so i don't know if i missed the news due to that or due to a lack of media acknowledgement.

at any rate, he has inspired me so much lately.  and something he has been quoted as saying strikes me at the core.  he said that he tended to paint people with their eyes closed because we fail to see the humanity in one another.  i've been carrying that sentiment with me since the first time i read it.

most people are familiar with mr. barnes' most famous piece, "Sugar Shack," which was feautred during the closing credits of Good Times and on Marvin Gaye's I Want You album.  but Barnes has a vast collection of soulful, engaging pieces that have inspired so many people.  in fact, in response to one of my random twitter posts (is "random twitter post" redundant?), artist tuki carter said ernie barnes was his favorite artist and inspired him to become one.  i'm a big proponent of learning about my influences' influences, that is, learning who inspired the people who inspire me and whom i respect as artists and people.  so that tidbit made my exploration of ernie barnes even sweeter.

i also learned he supposedly died of a "rare blood disease."  as did dilla.  and as a line in my tribute poem to dilla says, "rare blood, indeed."

*pictured: "My Miss America" (top) and "Song of Myself" (bottom)

1 comment:

Anna Renee said...

Beautiful expressive artwork! Too often, our true artists slip away from us unnoticed and underappreciated! Now, I will seek to learn more about this artist and his work!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin