Subject Tags: detailed, detail-oriented, bright colors, brights, history, unique art, interesting, portraiture, original artist, original art, original artwork, abstract patterns, abstract shapes, color pattern, bold pattern, bold colors, colors, painting, unique, pop art, original painting, contemporary, abstract, unique face, faces, solomon northup, colorful, portrait
Size: 12"W x 16"H x 0.75"D
Year Created: 2014
Ready to Hang
As portrayed in the recent Academy Award-winning feature film, Solomon Northup was a free black man who was abducted and sold into slavery in 1841. Northup’s story was told in his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. This colorful portrait was created for exhibit at the 16th annual Solomon Northup day celebration at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York in 2014. It is based on the famous engraved portrait included in the memoir.
This is a celebration of Solomon Northup painted in a non-traditional style. His face is layered with abstract shapes and lines, anchored by dark lines locating major facial features. Though representational and recognizable, the effect of this style is to force viewers to slow their process of taking in the whole work of art which institutes an appropriate pause for contemplation on Solomon's life. I hope that within this pause the viewer will consider the incredible bravery he demonstrated.
My hometown is in upstate New York and was a 19th century hub of abolitionists and champions of women's rights. I have painted many figures of these "Social Visionaries" from New York State to celebrate their lives. I refer to these historical figures as Social Visionaries because they were ahead of the tide of society in their contributions towards human rights and equality. Solomon Northup's memoir was a sea change in people's attitudes towards slavery-- converting many undecided people into abolitionism with its exposure to the horrors of slavery.
This is truly a one of a kind painting and sure to demand attention. The original image was painted in acrylics with tight detail and care on a quality gallery wrapped canvas with 3/4" stretcher bars.
Blake Chamberlain has been painting for most of his life, developing a unique, unmistakable bold style that ranges from representational to surreal. Chamberlain's grant-winning energetic and colorful work has been sought after for murals at Women's Rights National Historical Park, the cover of books and albums, as well as Seattle alt weekly The Stranger. He has been commissioned for countless portraits and his original paintings have sold to collectors around the world. Overall, he is inspired by history, popular culture, literature, and the whims of his imagination. Chamberlain's hometown is in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. He currently resides in the Seattle metro area.