By Olive Jensen Theisen
John Thomas Biggers (1924-2001) used to be an immense African American artist who encouraged numerous others via his educating, work of art, work, and drawings. After receiving traditional artwork education at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania kingdom, he had his own and inventive leap forward in 1957 whilst he spent six months within the newly autonomous nation of Ghana. From this time ahead, he built-in African summary parts along with his rural Southern pictures to create a private iconography. His new process made him well-known, as his own discovery of African background slot in good with the growing to be U.S. civil rights move. he's top recognized for his work of art at Hampton college, Winston-Salem college, and Texas Southern, however the drawings and lithographs that lie in the back of the work of art have acquired scant consciousness - before. Theisen interviewed Dr. Biggers over the past 13 years of his existence, and used to be welcomed into his studio innumerable occasions. jointly, they chose consultant works for this quantity, a few of that have now not been formerly released for a common viewers. After his loss of life in 2001, his widow persevered to paintings heavily with Theisen, leading to a booklet that's intimate and informative for either the student and the coed.
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Additional info for A Life on Paper: The Drawings And Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers
It’s a biological, spiritual thing. ”9 Biggers worked primarily with basic materials such as crayon and pencil. This was an era when most artists were involved with media experimentation and used a wide variety of drawing tools and techniques. This artist, however, found what he liked and stayed with it. He worked ﬁrst with lead pencil, then Wolff charcoal pencil, and ﬁnally conté. He observed that charcoal just ﬂew away from him and that artists who use charcoal have to learn to use the smear.
This drawing too has a strong sculptural quality, created by skillful cross contour lines with conté crayon and gouache on brown board. Though anatomy and proportion do not yet reﬂect the classical standards, the skillful use of chiaroscuro creates the feeling of sculptural form. E ARLY YE ARS AND E DUC ATION , 1924 –1949 ﬁgure 13 Night of the Poor Preparatory drawing for mural, Pennsylvania State University 1949 ﬁgure 14 Day of Plenty Preparatory drawing for mural, Pennsylvania State University 1949 27 28 E ARLY YE ARS AND E DUC ATION , 1924 –1949 In his senior year, Biggers threw himself into his work with deep feeling and produced a series of powerful mural drawings: Burial, Sharecroppers, Baptism, Night of the Poor, and Day of Plenty.
26 Dreaming of Africa when he was young, Biggers applied for a UNESCO fellowship in 1955 to make such a trip. The colonial era in Africa was ending, and the United Nations program was interested in having traditional life and culture in Africa recorded. After two years with no word, UNESCO suddenly approved the fellowship. They were notiﬁed that they had two months to prepare for their six-month visit. John and Hazel Biggers were to be in Ghana by July 1, 1957. In April 1957, that country had just been granted independence by the diminishing British Empire.
A Life on Paper: The Drawings And Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers by Olive Jensen Theisen