Henry Taylor is a celebrated and prolific American painter who focuses primarily on portraiture. Among his best-known work is a portrait of Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis in front of the White House, called “Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas.”
Taylor’s stunning acrylic pieces examine inequality, homelessness, poverty, and the structural racism faced by Black Americans.
Taylor, a leader in the Los Angeles modern art scene, has been diversifying his mediums of late, with works including African-style tribal masks constructed from painted Clorox bleach bottles and broomsticks.
Henry Taylor is a celebrated and prolific American painter, focusing primarily on portraiture that often grapples with sociocultural issues in America. His work plays with time, likeness, and bold, powerful colors and shapes, and has made a strong mark in the art scene for over two decades.
Taylor’s portraiture sees him diving deep into the close relationships he’s forged with friends, family, strangers, celebrities, and public figures. From his nieces and nephews to Michelle Obama and Drake, the figures he depicts are empathetic, colorful, and frenetic.
Whether it’s a tongue-in-cheek play on words, a moment of violence, or a personal moment of stillness, Taylor paints the ordinary, the topical, and everything in between. Individuals can appear as they were, or can be juxtaposed into imagined moments that defy time and era, as in 2017’s “Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas,” his portrait of Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis in front of the Obama White House.
His more recent work has drifted away from painting and towards mixed media sculpture, where he takes and repurposes found objects to make installations like 2011’s “It’s Like a Jungle,” composed of bleach bottles and broomsticks painted and arranged to resemble African tribal masks.