World-renowned for his contributions in photography, fashion, fine arts, film, literature and music, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) could be called the “Father of Modern-Day Black and White Photo Documentary.” A man of many firsts, including the first African American staffer at Life, the first African American photographer at Vogue, and first African American to direct a major Hollywood film (Shaft), the Kansas-born creative’s portfolio varied from capturing working class America to the glossy pages of fashion magazines and even managing to photograph prominent black figures including boxer Muhammad Ali, composer Duke Ellington and the writer Langston Hughes.
Joining Life Magazine in 1948, Parks spent the next 20 years documenting the timely themes of American life: poverty, segregation, racism, oppression and civil rights injustices. It was during this time that Parks produced his signature image, American Gothic, and would catapult him to iconoclast status: recipient of over fifty honorary degrees and the National Medal of Art, exhibitions throughout museums and galleries and the subject of countless television and documentaries. When asked about this body of work, Parks simply replied, “There’s really no genius attached to what I’ve done in my life. All I’ve really done is try to survive, more than anything else.”
During the period between 2003-2004, before passing away at the ripe age of 93, Parks began experimenting with watercolors and producing floral lithographs using an age old process known as “photo fusion”: hi-res digital prints layered against Parks’ painted water-color backgrounds using a S2Atelier process pulled by a 135 year-old French press. Intensive and abstract, the process is a dying art form but Parks was determined to marry the two and results were highly innovative, beautiful and incomparable limited edition fine artworks. After decades of recording strife and sorrow, Parks responses to his departure or better yet showcase of other artistic skills was “I think that after 90 years upon this planet that I have a right after working so hard at showing the desolation and the poverty, to show something beautiful for somebody as well.”
Now, thanks to Las Vegas-based Rue Royale Fine Art, this archived series, hand-signed in silver pen at his New York City studio, are available in sequentially number of 90 prints exclusively for our Ebony Magazine readers.
To inquire please call 1-888-550-9887 or visit http://www.rueroyalefinearts.com/featured-artists/gordon-parks/