Leroy Campbell Artist Statement
Through nostalgic scenes and universal themes, he illustrates the art of storytelling using melanges of acrylic, paper, tapestries and organic materials. His work is a fusion of art and history that celebrates family and community culture and is sparked by the essence of that which connects all people. Through these archetypes, Leroy Campbell finds his creative voice and tells his visual stories. Stylized coal black figures with elongated necks and no visible eyes, silhouettes “look[ing] inward to the soul” and full lips that, “…speak for the soul even in their silence.” Amalgamated with newspaper collages as a backdrop, the images speak volumes to observers.
Uninhibited and unconfined, and with an impetus to ignite spiritual and emotional sparks in the world, Campbell premiered with expressive yet single dimensional pastel smudges. He then evolves, through his patient discovery of using light and shadow, and with layers of text and texture that implicate the multilayered essences of life. His art is meant to socialize with people and provide a dialogue of inspiration. The words and imagery Leroy Campbell composes conveys a unified message which elucidates the commonalities in all of us.
Leroy Campbell’s “Fighting Spirit: Tribute to the Life and Times of Muhammad Ali” opens October 15, 2016 at the Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn. For information call: (347) 663-8195.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Leroy Campbell was born in Monck’s Corner, South Carolina in 1956 and spent his childhood there. As a young man he moved to New York City where he submerged himself in the culture of the city, Jazz and the Black consciousness movement. He never strayed far from his southern roots, however, and it was his experiences growing up in the south that nourishes the work of this gifted self-taught artist. Campbell’s work articulates a cogent and consistent vision of the heart, soul and strivings of African Americans in the South.
Working in mixed media of collage, pastels, charcoal and acrylic, Campbell has evolved a unique and distinctive style which features figures with exaggerated necks and physical features. He calls them “Neckbones”. The Neckbones represent the hardworking, god-fearing, salt-of-the-earth, family-oriented folk of his southern childhood. Campbell’s work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions in the U.S. as well as in Japan and Africa. His prints have been featured on hit television shows such as “Martin”, “Living Single”, “The Heat of the Night” and “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. He has been awarded a number of commissions including Bacardi Rum, the Phillip Morris Corporation, Joseph E. Seagram and Lucent Technologies. Press and media coverage include NBC’s Today show, “New Yorkers” on Japan Public Broadcasting System, and Newsweek Magazine.