Amy Sherald is an American artist known for her photograph-based portraits. While she is perhaps most known for her painting of former first lady Michelle Obama, Sherald has been creating portraits of individuals from the African American community for decades. Sherald’s body of work is unique in that she renders the skin of her subjects in grayscale, a range of shades of gray, which also refers to black-and-white photography. In contrast, Sherald infuses color into clothing and accessories as well as the vibrant backgrounds that characterize the dreamy, empty spaces that her subjects inhabit. As a result, the “color” of her subjects’ skin become less of the focus than the markers of identity, difference, and self-expression with which they choose to adorn and present themselves.
In this activity, you can create your own remix portrait in a similar style to Sherald by following the steps below!
a black and white portrait of a person of your choosing
crayons or markers
Step 1: Select an image from a magazine, internet or use an image of yourself. Cut out the face, arms, legs, etc. of the person in the image you are using.
Step 2: Glue those items to a new piece of paper but arrange them in the same way as the original image.
Step 3: Draw the clothing for the person of the image you are using. Use the original image as a reference point.
Step 4: Use an art medium for coloring the clothing. In the example crayons are used but other options could be used.
Step 5: Color in the background. Markers were used for the the example but other art mediums could be used.