Purvis Young - Outsider from Overtown

“Purvis Young (February 4, 1943 — April 20, 2010) was an American artist from the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida. Self-taught, Young’s work was often a blend painting/drawing with collaged elements utilizing everyday discarded found objects.
Inspired by documentaries, (art)books, American history and spiritual folklore his visual vocabuluary was vast; wild horses, urban landscapes, (self) portraits, figures, holymen, angels, warriors, boats, sports, musicians, erotica, processions and incarceration to name but a few……… Purvis lived his entire life in Overtown, Miami’s black ghetto. For over thirty-five years, he painted in a series of abandoned, rat-infested warehouses. Previously a prosperous black community, Overtown was once billed as the “Harlem of the South”. In the 1960s, it was largely destroyed by the building of Highway I-95 and now has one of the highest drug-use and crime rates in Florida. Adjoining the compound where Young lives with his common law wife is an alley called “ Bucket of Blood“ with the highest incidence of murder in the greater Miami area. Interestingly, nobody bothered Purvis, the local icon. Everyone respectfully called him “Mr. Young“. In a community virtually without hope, he was the singular example of someone who “broke out"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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