I remember looking at the album cover for Marvin Gaye’s I Want You for hours while listening to it over and over. With each look, I’d see a different detail I hadn’t caught before.
Ernie Barnes (15 July 1938 – 27 April 2009), was a prolific artist and we never really knew the man; we just basked in his art. In the 60s, Barnes played offensive guard for five seasons in the American Football League. After painting The Sugar Shack, his work got featured throughout 70s sitcom Good Times, he was named the official artist of the 1984 Summer Olympics, and received the 1984 and 2004 Sport Artist of the Year award. In 1999, rap group Camp Lo recreated The Sugar Shack for their album cover Uptown Saturday Night and in 2004, Kanye West commissioned Barnes to paint a self-portrait entitled A Life Restored, after West’s life threatening car accident. The painting measures 9 ft x 10 ft and hangs from West’s dining room ceiling.
His work featured elongated figures in motion, where his use of colors created smooth yet detailed textures. An outstanding artist who will be sorely missed. His timeless work will live on through us. Check out Kanye West’s website to see some of his work.
Listen to “Soon I’ll Be Loving You” taken from my all-time favorite Marvin Gaye album, I Want You
[audio:09 Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again.mp3]