Sam Gilliam (born 1933)
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Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Sam Gilliam was an African American painter most well known for his style of Color Field painting. Gilliam received his Bachelor and Masters degree of Fine Arts at the University of Louisville, where he had his first solo show. After marrying Dorothy Butler, a well known journalist, the two moved to Washington D.C. From the 60’s – 70’s Gilliam began his career as a painter, creating art through the lens of his African American experience. Most of his paintings involve dipping the canvas in to the paint creating a bold abstract color and hang them on the wall in unique ways. In the 70's and 80's he veered away from the draped canvas look and became very influenced by African American jazz musicians, creating collages inspired by these musicians. He has continued to innovate, inspire and teach, and has remained a self-supporting full time artist through his ability to stay engaged and inspiring. He has taught for many years in the Maryland public school system, University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A recent compilation of works was held at Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, DC.