Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Studios of Black American Artists

"Did anybody throw paint brushes or jars of paint at you, try to cut off their ear? Your ear?"

Thost are some of the questions I asked Dennis Forbes, only partly in jest, this week when I interviewed him about his latest book on artists and their studios.

In the popular imagination and sometimes in fact, artists are perceived as being temperamental, volcanic or reclusive. The more talented they are -- think Van Gogh cutting off his ear and presenting it to his favorite prostitute -- the more temperamental.

The artists in Forbes' book, "Studios and Workplaces of Black American Artists," are among the most talented in he world, which means he must've seen a lot of diva-ish or prima donna behavior, right?

Not exactly. "I didn't pay any attention" if there was weird behavior, Forbes said. "I overlooked it because I had a job to do. I was with each of them on average only about three hours."

Forbes, a New Bern native now living in Virginia, has written and put together a remarkably colorful coffee table book introducing readers to 84 artists who produce often magical works and the places where the magic happens.

Read the Rest of the Story Here.

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