Artist of Famous “Good Times” Painting Dies… Ernie Barnes
Legendary Soul Artist Ernie Barnes (1938 – 2009) left his footprint in America for all to remember him. We wanted to pay our respect and let you enjoy reading about someone who’s work is more famous than his name. Please visit his website to learn more about this giant at www.erniebarnes.com.
Segregation prevented him from considering nearby UNC or Duke University, so he attended North Carolina College on a football scholarship and majored in art. He was drafted by the then-World Champion Baltimore Colts football team. He then spent the next five seasons as an offensive lineman for the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. In 1965, New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin recognized Barnes’ artistic potential and replaced his football salary for one season so he could devote himself “to just paint.” One year later, Barnes made his debut in a critically acclaimed solo exhibition at Grand Central Art Galleries in Manhattan and retired from football. His autobiography “From Pads to Palette” chronicles his transition from athlete to artist.
For over 40 years, his neo-mannerism style of art has been admired and collected internationally. His national traveling “Beauty of the Ghetto” exhibition in the 1970s featured some of his timeless works as “Storyteller,” “High Aspirations” and “The Graduate.” His famous 1971 “Sugar Shack” dance scene appeared on the “Good Times” television show and on the Marvin Gaye album “I Want You.” This image has been widely imitated and Barnes’ expressive style has influenced countless aspiring artists.
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Here are other writers paying their respect to our brother.