Do you know what it’s like to stand in front of a painting that attracts you from across the room, a painting you know nothing about, and just feel whatever it may whisper to you without needing a manual to understand it? It’s a rare thing to find nowadays with the constant blinding bombarding of prices that are glued to the hip of an artist’s name. But there is a new someone. A breath of fresh air whose work doesn’t necessarily need a two-page explanation telling you how to feel or what overrated conceptual idea is being transmitted. Instead his primal, solemn yet colorful portraits speak for themselves. But who is this man who has captured my eyes, you ask? Gordon Skinner. Learn the name, praise it, preach it.
Inspired by Jackson Pollock, Jean Dubuffet and our beloved prince of crowns, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Skinner’s art is a mixture of acrylic, spray paint, wooden panels and canvas. In a way his figures invoke the Fauves and their vocabulary of symbolic colors; Matisse and Derain would have been proud.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut this 34 year-old emerging artist found his inspiration amongst his own African-American community that he feels is “fragmented, colonized and lost”. Recurrent subjects and social issues that have shaped Skinner’s life are bluntly addressed in his raw, expressionist art. “I’m putting homeless[ness], poverty and HIV/AIDS out there . . . also, my art is a personal search for identity”, says the artist.
Although his artistic career only began a few years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that Skinner will be a household name very soon. Read this carefully because it deserves to be a headline: young talented artists who actually create their work themselves still exist. What a relief.