In August I studied Romare Bearden and shared my findings over on Patreon. Romare was a cat person. The sketch above is of his fourth cat, a tabby named Gippy.
One of my favorite things I learned last month is that Romare was a pitcher for a minor league baseball team, the Boston Tigers. He was so good that he had an opportunity to pitch professionally for the Philadelphia Athletics but it would mean passing as a white man. Romare refused.
There are so many myths and assumptions about artists and one that I find often is that artists aren’t athletic. So I love this story because it definitely debunks that. Plus just how cool is that?!
Romare was also in the army. He served in Harlem and a few other cities within the US. His job in Harlem was to safeguard the subway system as there was concerns they would be attacked. He later was able to study art in Paris on the GI bill.
These are some thumbnail sketches of Romare Bearden works. On the left is Showtime, 1974 and is probably the piece that I think of when I think of Romare: collage + jazz. On the right is my favorite Romare collage, Mother and Child, 1971.
I didn’t end up with a portrait of Romare Bearden that I liked. (I’ll have to try again after a break!) Instead this month I made stickers for my Patreon members with a favorite quote:
”You put down one color and it calls for an answer. You have to look at it like a melody.” –Romare Bearden