Purvis Young is a self-taught artist infamous for his powerful, urban impressionistic paintings of inner city life and conflict. He said “God didn’t put me on earth to say much, he put me here to paint.”
Young began painting and drawing in prison in the 60s for armed robbery. There he had a vision that this was not meant to be his life and the angels were going to create a new path for him.
He lived in Overtown, a neglected area of Miami, known as “Blood Alley”. Using the area as his studio, he gained early recognition in the 70s when he created a mural using hundreds of panels nailed to dilapidated buildings called Goodbread Alley, inspired by Chicago’s Wall of Respect. Much of his works are a blend of collage and painting often utilizing found objects.
Purvis did not attend high school but learned a lot about art through the public library. His work was influenced by Rembrandt, El Greco, van Gogh and Delacroix.