As you have read in previous posts, an intrinsic element of The Shelby community is the people that helped create it. These artists and craftsmen are the people that have actualized our vision. It is important to us that we share with you the stories behind the talented people that have dedicated their time to creating a place for you to call home.
Welcome to our series, The Shelby Artists.
MEET: ARTIST, PRESTON SAMPSON
Painter, Preston Sampson
One of the first fine art pieces you see as you walk through The Shelby Lobby is a giant stunning painting by Preston Sampson, titled Home Sweet Home. When it comes to color, Preston Sampson is the conductor of a chromatic symphony. Color is the primary focus of his work and each one of his pieces speak volumes with vigorous broad brush strokes and a bright color palette.
Sampson has completed a series of works portraying the life and play of the African-American men who starred in the Negro Baseball Leagues for nearly half a century. Through vibrant acrylics on canvas, vivid watercolors, and mixed media collages, Sampson recalls the play and excitement of such teams as the Homestead Grays, the Black Yankees and the Black Barons. Sampson’s work depicting a Pittsburgh Crawford player was published by the Smithsonian Institute in 1994. The baseball series is indicative of Sampson’s direction as a painter.
“I feel that representing positive aspects of our history as African Americans is a priority and a responsibility that I have as a visual artist. Long after we are gone, hopefully, the art will remain as a testament to our culture. Historically all cultures have left behind a trail of who they were that is often omitted by the dominant culture, we as African Americans must do the same.”
Sampson has been featured in numerous national publications recently, such as Town & Country, Playbill, American Visions, and Black Enterprise magazines. He has been critically recognized in the Washington Post for his first retrospective at the University of Maryland in 1997, and in the International Review of African American Art comprehensive guide for collecting in 1998.
Now, we are lucky to have one of Preston’s incredible pieces, here, at The Shelby.
We had the opportunity to speak with Preston about his work featured in The Shelby.
1. What piece do you have in The Shelby?
The above painting which hangs in the Lobby of The Shelby, titled Safe at Home. It is 92″x57″, acrylic on canvas.
2. What was the inspiration behind this piece and what does ‘Americana’ mean to you?
Nothing is more American than baseball, our national pastime. The concept of a play at the plate, the umpire’s emphatic signal of a safe return to home base. The runner sliding into home, an ‘S’ representing The Shelby on his chest. Burst of color and movement.
Below you can see the progress of this painting in Preston Sampson’s studio.
Read about the other artists in our series, The Shelby Artists, by clicking on the links below.