Black Is….Kehinde Wiley

Los Angeles native Kehinde Wiley has found his place within the milieu of famous fine artists. Based out of New York, Wiley is a skilled portraitist,  and his art depicts urban black and brown men from around the world in heroic stances. Compared to great portrait artists such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, and Ingres, Wiley stands apart in his fusion of traditional and contemporary, often mixing styles such as West African textile design with everyday hip-hop clothing.

Kehinde Wiley’s art was initially influenced by young black men on the streets of Harlem,but as he traveled he began to incorporate the images of black and brown men in urban settings from around the world. His paintings which showcase the physicality and masculinity of black and brown men have been described as having the power to “awake complex issues that many would prefer to remain mute”.

A graduate of both San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University, Wiley’s paintings can be found in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Hammer Museum in California, The Brooklyn Museum of Modern Art, Detroit Institute of the Arts, and Miami Art Museum, amongst others.

Listen to an interview with Kehinde Wiley here.