"My goal is to reaffirm every positive aspect of being African-American by focusing on our families, our spirituality and our heritage and traditions. I believe that every race can relate because, in essence, I am shining a light on the beauty of being human."
John Holyfield is widely considered one of the top African American contemporary artists. He was born in 1969 and was raised by his grandmothers in Clarksburg, West Virginia after being orphaned as a child. Despite the trials and tribulations that he experienced as a youth, John Holyfield went on to study Graphics Design at Howard University and at the University of Washington, D.C. after his interest and talent in art was discovered.
John’s work is known for capturing the essence of rural life and primarily focuses on the timeless themes of family, traditions, heritage, culture and spirituality. He commonly draws from his childhood memories, grandmother’s stories and the baptist church when looking for inspiration for new works of art. A great deal of his work shares a southern and folksy feel. One of the primary reasons why he focuses on these themes is due to his belief that these are the cultural components that make African Americans unique. He truly feels that the “Black Experience” is special and John Holyfield works diligently to capture the essence of the “Black Experience” visually on canvas.
As far as his style is concerned, John admits, that he was influenced the most by Norman Rockwell, Ernie Barnes and Frederic Leighton. From Norman Rockwell, he learned about the ability to tell narrative stories through art. From Ernie Barnes, he learned how to capture movement by using elongated and distorted characters in his compositions. From Frederic Leighton, he learned how to use shadows and light to create compelling and stunning works of art.
Overall, John Holyfield is now known for capturing a snapshot of a moment in his artwork and since 1991 he has been one of the leading African American artists in the world. Art is John’s purpose in life and he is grateful that he was able to find his purpose at such a young age. He feels as if art is his voice and an extension of his physical and spiritual self. Fans of his work constantly speak about how he paints with the maturity of a much older artist. One of his main hopes and goals is that people will use his work to evoke memories of their own personal childhood and life experiences and that his art will influence the heart and minds of past, present and future generations.
You can find John Holyfield’s work in hundreds of galleries worldwide and online at The Black Art Depot. His work has also been featured in many children’s and adult books and they have also adorned the walls of several television show sets.
Visit our: John Holyfield Art Gallery