• Purvis Young, "Boats With Sharks" Mixed Media ,48"x31" on Heavy Board


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    Purvis Young, original. 
     "Boats With Sharks" Mixed Media ,48"x31" on Heavy Board, signed.

    Purvis Young (1943–2010) was an artist from the inner-city Miami neighborhood of Overtown. Described variously as a storyteller, an Urban Expressionist, and a self-taught artist, his works blend collage and painting, making use of found materials and household objects, often referencing his experiences living in the south. Having always made drawings, Young began making paintings in the 1960s. Witness to the context of the Vietnam War and the spirit of large-scale protest against it, he painted populated scenes on scraps of wood gathered from the city’s streets and vacant lots. Young considered his art-making a means of protest. He attached his panels to the fronts of abandoned buildings, and around 1972, having learned of the murals created by artists in Detroit and Chicago, he started the large-scale outdoor project known as Goodbread Alley, filled with innumerable paintings.

    Much of Young’s prolific output contains literal depictions of his surroundings (figures in action, or the city in a state of deterioration), yet he also drew from a much vaster, sometimes imagined realm of imagery. Over time certain motifs frequently recurred, oftentimes repeatedly within a single work—pregnant women, trucks, horses, warriors, eyes, angels, slaves, boat people, prisoners. Young was also ecologically concerned, a major reason for his recycling of discarded and found materials—including plastic bottles, boxes, receipts, lumber, even television sets—well before such a tendency became popular in the mainstream of contemporary art. In his own words, “When the world quiets down, I’ll quiet down.”