Michelle Obamas portraitist and 96 Tears


My father was the first of his family to go to college he was a dentist so I mean all those things matter it's about creating a legacy and they didn't see that happening with art you know my father was a dentist my great uncle was Titian and my aunt's found a way to get their master's degrees at Nyu back at that time they have programs for that kind of stuff but So education was important there was there was a Bishen yeah it was a way out yeah how did you make your way to art and decide I want to do this. I'd say it just chose me I don't you know I had a great art teacher who really encouraged me even from high school to create images that were my own ideal and it's just I don't know what I felt comfortable doing I didn't have to interact with people I was super self conscious and you know I didn't do a lot that was interested in because I didn't want to be in ruins the people that I didn't know it was just like over the top self conscious so it was easy for me to do it and it's what I excelled at and the There's no conversation about visual learning them but I was a visual learner so it's just you know what my proclivity was to do this stuff or to be jeff that's what I was cooking and you were like the last pre internet generation as well I got my email address when I was twenty which which might be why you have the time inclination to do this yeah I mean I say that when when people ask me why do I do I think it's because of when I was born because I didn't I had a Tandy two thousand we had to pretty much coded ourselves like make the Games work and for me making art was I figure I really didn't know who Jackson pollock was Andy were haller you know these other craters and thinkers that were bending the rules so I this is what I thinking I was supposed to do and so that's what I did to be good and be really be good be realistic yeah did you ever have a a non representational phase I kind of did when I studied with grace hard again in in graduate school the paintings got a little looser little drip easier but ultimately never lost the figure and it just wasn't something that I knew I could expound on on for the rest of my life and so I knew I was still looking for what it was that I was going to make you seem like you need an armature or I'm going to do within this thing you need some kind of almost conceptual aesthetic structure maybe me you to make work yeah I mean like you're not doing changing crazily from abstraction to this to whatever well the thing is you know I mean if you know you're doing this kind of know what you're doing once you become known or something then that's kind of what you do like I could change it but I think at this point in my career that would be a mistake career wise then you can expound on that and and you know like I went from individual to these multi figure and I'll keep challenging myself to do different things but they will all tie into you know what I this body of work in a practical view yeah well you know I had friends who particular one friend who made really great work became really well known and didn't want to make that work anymore any stops making the work and he doesn't he didn't have a gallery after a while he ended up not being an artist one time he still trying to make his way back in do you ever like God I'm going to do a still life or landscape to the I'll just keep it secret no I had no interest I love painting this painting the figures Silvio bombs yeah are they the only a commission you've done yes you want to do any others really I mean if I could choose to people to do I would do Serena Williams Do Meghan Markle I could happen yeah maybe when it was unveiled Obama told this story of meaning you at the interview in the Oval Office now I've been in the Oval Office wants with no president in it just empty and it's pretty amazing justice the thing is you a it's a big job interview the biggest job interview and it's the Oval Office and there's the president and the first eighty what was in your heart and feeling ahead I was I was nervous the first thing that happened and I don't know whether anybody else notices when they walk in but the rest of the White House has like this really kind of strange fluorescent green light and then when you walk to the Oval Office it's like lit for television and that almost triggered my brain to think that it wasn't happening when it really was happening here for about five seconds hours like stuck in this moment of like am I aaa meeting or is yeah or or is Barack walking towards me and so I sent out of it and yeah shook his hand I was nervous life so if she had been you know Michelle Robinson Chicago Hospital executive would you why would the image be precisely what we see in the National Gallery that's interesting Probably Yeah because what I presented to the world I think is the real well her and not the the image of you know the millions of photographs that we have on with her on the Internet means private and that's the kind of feel that I wanted to to something personal in private and not a glamour shot or anything like that it's a painting and it's it's a sobering moment in history and making it exactly but at the end of it when I look back at it like those are the things that I that I think we're kind of circulating in my head in ten years it will just be one big thing did you look forward to that time when it's not all about that all about the Michelle Obama's portraitist yeah it's funny I went from the artist who survived a heart transplant to become a famous painter to the artist painted Michelle Obama and I'm pretty sure sure I could climb out ever and I still be that because she is still who she is and she has such a great influence you know worldwide and you know and I guess I'm okay with that I mean sure it has been a great pleasure meeting you nice to meet you meet you thanks thank you

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