I am an artist, who made my living in advertising as a commercial Illustrator; from 1954 through 2002. I am an artist who used my paint, brushes, and canvases to call for social, political, economic change. I paint and document African American history specifically; the Civil Rights Marches of the 1960’s, individuals and groups like the Tuskegee Air Men, Black folks in the Old West.
I started with documentary paintings of student marches of the Civil Rights era. The series includes 14 paintings depicting acts of social-political engagement; protest marches, sit-ins from Washington D.C., to Los Angeles.
In the early 1970’s one of my daughters wrote a report about Black Cowboys. Her teacher said there was no such thing as a Black Cowboy. That was the beginning of a series of paintings on the Old West where 1 of 3 cowboys (and women, i.e. Stagecoach Mary Field) were African American, Latino, or Native American. There are 12 paintings in my African Cowboy series. The series led to a show at the CaliforniaMuseum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles.
My paintings were exhibited at local colleges and high schools, U.S. Air Force North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Great Plains Black Museum.
I stopped exhibiting because it was taking time away from making a living as a commercial artist. So the African Cowboy paintings took the place of some of the Civil Rights paintings that were hanging on the walls of my home.
My goal has been, and continues to be, expanding the public knowledge of the contributions made by ordinary and extraordinary Africans throughout the world and specifically in the Americas.
You can contact Emerson at: www.AfricanCowboys.com email@example.com