Sharon Barnes

In my early years as an artist, my creative path took two directions. I was inspired to create visual art by one of my college professors, Dr. Samella Lewis, who had introduced me to the Black Arts Movement. I began creating visual art influenced by this politically and culturally charged movement, although my work has evolved to incorporate elements of what is now known as Post-Black. My second and equally satisfying artistic direction was as a songwriter. For two decades, I worked with many great musicians and gained credits that included songs recorded by Patti Labelle, Morris Day, Whitney Houston, New Edition, Rose Royce and jazz artist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Both art and music have often been modes of expression for many creative people who utilize frequency, tone, and color to communicate social messages, transform culture, create universal beauty, and to heal.

Born in Sacramento, CA and raised in South Los Angeles, I am a fifth generation Californian. Branches of my family had migrated to northern California from Canada in the late 1800s after having settled in historic black townships in Chatham County, Ontario, Canada that had sprung from the Underground Railroad. The historic and contemporary struggles and triumphs of African Americans cannot help but inform the content of my work.

Artist Statement
I have always been interested in work that is both conceptually thought provoking and aesthetically interesting. Although I began my career as a representational painter, in the last decade, the lure of hybrid art forms, unconventional materials, and a process-driven multi-disciplinary approach, has been a catalyst for new bodies of work. My current work includes mixed media paintings, bricolage, and sculpture that frequently express layered, embedded philosophical and socio-political themes.