“use it or lose it”

So, today’s episode is kind of insane. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve seen the recently revealed official portrait of Michelle Obama. I honestly can’t believe she made time to talk to me, but yes, Baltimore based painter Amy Sherald is my guest today. We definitely talked about the piece of American history she just finished painting {no pressure}, but I also wanted to know everything that led up to this exciting moment in her life. Amy and I are talking about her original plan to become a doctor, the years she worked as a bouncer at a bar, and how she found the path to her own very unique style. Listen right up there under “LIGHT IS EASY TO LOVE”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, a few of the costumes we were talking about. Let’s start off with the unicorn equestrian that I obviously had to bring up:

The queen is fantastic! And, I think that last one is a costume. I hope.

Next, just people being people… in a stunning, engaging, brightly colored, Amy Sherald kind of way:

Seriously, she is so good. That final piece above is the ten-year-old we mentioned, Amy’s youngest subject so far.

Oooh, and this is “Miss.Everything”… and she really is:

This is the painting that made Amy the first woman to be awarded the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition grand prize. That close-up! Her skin is gorgeous. It’s so soft-looking, I can hardly believe it’s paint.

Speaking of soft skin {according to Amy’s sister}, here is the official portrait of FLOTUS, Michelle Obama:

Sigh. Ok, I already loved this painting so much, but hearing the behind-the-scenes story directly from Amy made me love it even more. The reference to quilts {Gee’s Bend}, Michelle’s elegant pose, and again, that lovely grey-scale skin… beautiful. All of that work – the selection process, choosing wardrobe, taking photographs, going back for more photographs, and then, oh yes, painting a portrait to be hung in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian as part of American history – definitely worth some celebrating:

And, clearly, I’m not the only one who’s in awe of Amy’s work. A two-year-old named Parker is mesmerized as well. She thinks this is a painting of a queen. Rightly so.

Finally, I can’t finish the post without this:

Awwww! I’d warm up his food too. Thanks so much to Amy for taking time out of her insanely busy life to talk to me {enjoy those margaritas, Amy!}; thanks to Saatchi Art and Create Magazine for supporting the episode; and thank you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Amy on Instagram
  2. Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis {Amy’s show in May}
  3. Hauser & Wirth, New York {2019 show}
  4. The soon to be historic photo of Parker & the Portrait, snapped by Ben Hines


comments (8)

  1. Pamela /// 03.10.2018 /// 12:51am

    The way the colours in Parker’s jacket blend perfectly with the little blocks of colour in the dress, perfection. Dream big dreams Parker! Loved this episode, thank you DK

  2. rossana taormina /// 03.10.2018 /// 5:32am

    I love this artist. Her work is strong and evocativ all at the same time.
    What about her colours? They make me dream …

  3. sue mcarthur /// 03.10.2018 /// 11:57am

    Thank you so much for educating me over here in Australia.. I really appreciate it

  4. PAMELA M CLEARY /// 03.12.2018 /// 5:50am

    I admire, very much, the portrait of Michelle Obama but am taken aback because she doesn’t look like her and so doesn’t represent her as I think a portrait should. I can see the First Lady looking at me with that left-eyed expression which truly captures her in this painting, and am glad for this. For sure, an important painting for an exceptional First Lady, but it belongs in a private collection, not national.

  5. Amy Tingle /// 03.13.2018 /// 12:34pm

    The Bouncer and the Unicorn. Might have to write a poem about that juxtaposition. Another great podcast (#127?!! already? I still remember the first one in your blanket fort!) So great to hear from Amy about her process and Michelle Obama’s soft skin. I loved the portrait the minute I saw it and thought it was absolutely perfect. Parker is the icing on the very delicious creative cake!

  6. the jealous curator /// 03.13.2018 /// 7:49pm

    ha! that would be a great poem … and btw, all 127 have been recorded in my blanket fort! if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it i guess? ; )

  7. Suzanne McNenly /// 03.15.2018 /// 9:58am

    Love her work…..but I really just want to talk about the dress Ms. Sherold was wearing at the unveiling! Exquisite!!

  8. the jealous curator /// 03.15.2018 /// 1:35pm

    yes it was! (she’s so cool)