Art Appreciation Monday: The Royalty of Kehinde Wiley

“I feel sometimes constrained by the expectation that the work should be solely political. I try to create a type of work that is at the service of my own set of criteria, which have to do with beauty and a type of utopia that in some ways speaks to the culture I’m located in.” – Kehinde Wiley

Born in Los Angeles but based in New York, Kehinde Wiley revitalizes the beauty of classic portraiture and draws directly from the past with a significant cultural twist. People you regularly see walking down the streets of New York are placed in positions of great wealth and power, while still being authentically themselves. He challenges the notions of gender, sexuality, and the premise of black masculinity, turning black men into individuals allowed to be vulnerable, sensitive, beautiful, and desired.

His works are larger than life, and the subjects are almost always monumental. Wiley first captures his subjects photographically and works from there to create big, colorful, grandiose paintings.

Check out his work below as well as his interview with artnet. You can also learn more at his website.


Art Appreciation Monday is a bi-weekly series that celebrates the achievements of artists of the past and present.


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