Kerry James Marshall’s profile in the Albany Times Union underscores the importance of the rising market for African-American art of the past two centuries. Marshall explains that making art—while innate to his personality—was remote from his experience as an African American. Only the connection to an artist like Charles White, whom Marshall eventually studied with in college, allowed Marshall to see a career as an artist. Otherwise, he says, he would have been a postman:
“Art is not embedded in the culture of black America as a thing to be celebrated,” he said. […]”And when black people do go to a museum, there’s nothing that tells them that this is something they should be invested in for the long term. Black kids go, and all they see are reflections of the European and Greek tradition. They see lots of pictures of white people. Why would you keep going back to a place where all the people you see in pictures are white people?” […] While in elementary school, he opened “Great Negroes Past and Present” and discovered Charles White, known for his skilled draftsmanship and black and white, or sepia and white, drawings, paintings and lithographs. It was the first time Marshall realized that there was any black person making art.
Artist Kerry James Marshall explores the world of art in black America (Albany Times Union)