Purvis Young: The Artist, The Film

I watched a film today I really really like about the artist, Purvis Young called Purvis of Overtown.  It is a documentary film about an African American artist who comes from the black community of Overtown in Miami.  The film is a lovely, easily watched confection of documentary footage, original music by Otis Taylor, and the images of Young's paintings, which are a reflection of the environment he has lived in all of his life.

He was born in 1943 and his work is featured on the cover of the second volume of Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art assembled by William and Paul Arnett and published by Tinwood Books in 2001.  His paintings are exquisite to look at, his life instructive on the status of the outsider as an artist in the black community.  To some degree, all artists are subject to outsider status within black communities, regardless of class identity.  This phenomenon continues to be a mystery to me, about which I will have more to say later.  The blues is one of the key themes for both his work and the documentary about him.

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