Saturday, December 10, 2011

GENESIS: Robert Hamilton Blackburn / December 10, 1920

"Bob Blackburn [was] a national treasure. He [was] an artist who gave up his own work in order to support everyone else's. It is important to preserve the legacy of Bob Blackburn [because he] constantly encouraged African-American artists as printmakers, and he opened up facilities for the support of others. In those early years, there weren't many facilities which allowed African-American artists to do printmaking."

--Richard Mayhew
Bob Blackburn and Romare Bearden. Photo from Ebony magazine (November 1975).
Ron Adams, Blackburn, 2002, Ink on Rives BFK tan paper
Image: 24 15/16 x 34 7/8 in.; Sheet: 29 1/2 x 38 x 15/16 in.
Collection of
DePaul University
Artist Ron Adams created the print Blackburn as a tribute to his friend and colleague, fellow printmaker Bob Blackburn (1920-2003). Adams first became aware of Blackburn's work while working at Gemini G.E.L. Eventually they met and established a lasting friendship. Adams was inspired to create this homage because, as he says, there are "very few black professional lithographers" and because Blackburn was a "leader in the field." The piece also stands as a larger tribute to those who work behind the scenes to edition prints and are seldom recognized for their contributions to the final work.

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