Ferdinand, Roy – African-American Artist

Roy Ferdinand (American, 1959-2004)

Roy Ferdinand was a self-taught artist who chronicled street life in New Orleans’ impoverished African-American neighborhoods for fifteen years, documenting its violent subculture and making portraits of residents who had no choice but to share these mean streets. Ferdinand, who compared himself to a battlefield sketch artist, worked in ink markers, colored pencils and children’s watercolors on poster board. His style, with its bodies slightly out of proportion, multiple vanishing points, and tilted buildings, has been described as a metaphor for New Orleans in the 1980s and 1990s, when the crack epidemic raged and the city had the country’s highest murder rate. Ferdinand was represented in New Orleans by Barrister’s Gallery in his lifetime. His prodigious body of work is held in private collections, galleries, and museums across the country.

Information Courtesy of Rago Arts, October, 2019.

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