Big Jazz Painting by Marvin McMillian II Paper Bags II Canvas
Works by Marvin McMillian II

August 11 – September 6, 2017

Schomburg Gallery is pleased to present "Paper Bags II Canvas" featuring works by Marvin McMillian II.

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Artist Statement

This series is called "Paper Bags II Canvas". It's celebrating my journey as an artist. The focus is to give viewers a glimpse through how popular culture, music, health, technology, cinema, current events, food and childhood games have been an influence in my life. It visually records some highlights of my own history from childhood to adulthood. The paintings tell the various stories of heroines with afros, the lack of African Americans in technology, the lives of jazz musicians and a conversation with an artist from a previous time.

Painting and drawing are my passions. I started drawing at very young age. I remember my mother and sister sitting me in my high chair. They would tear brown paper bags in half for me to draw on. Having that freedom at an early age allowed me to grow as a young artist and it fueled my creativity.

Now, I work hard to develop paintings that speak both to me and to others about a variety of topics, such as Art history, American history, civil rights, popular culture, current events, technology, mythology and music. A few of my artistic inspirations are Charles White, Earnie Barnes, Picasso, Rothko and Andy Warhol.

My painting ritual is very unique. I generally start a new painting by gathering my resource materials from different sources. I might visit the local library, where I will read as much information as I can about a specific subject. I may even cut out photographs or articles from magazines that I've purchased. Sometimes I may even review microfilm. Recently I began incorporating the use of technology into my ritual process by taking digital photos with a iPhone or iPad.

Once all of my resource materials have been collected, I'll start to sketch a rough drawing on paper or canvas. Then, depending on the subject matter, I will choose which medium is best suited for the painting project. Most often I enjoy using acrylic paint and mixed media. Sometimes I might use oil paint to capture a different mood. I try to tell a story with my art. I hope to provide insight of the mental images than inspire me. Ultimately, I want my vision to provoke a dialogue between one's self, friends, family and colleagues.