Martin Luther King, Jr – Live from Birmingham

Medium:  Original oil on archival gallery wrap canvas
Size: 30″ x 40″

This portrait was inspired by the mug shot of a young Martin Luther King Jr. taken at the Birmingham jail. The stark contrast of his figure against the blank grey wall gave me room to use realism to add two of his greatest achievements in the background that he would gain after this moment in time as a futuristic preview. I added on the right, his Nobel Peace Prize and on the left, the signing of the Civil Rights Act. I included the symbol for the mountain top that Martin felt he had climbed to see the glory of the Promised Land.   (continued below . . . )

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Description

(continued . . . )

I worked to develop the background first but blocked the image of Martin in so I could work around his figure. Last, I worked on the portrait to bring him into the foreground by using stronger colors and creating a strong interest point in the face through color and his unique expression of the moment. I wanted to let the viewer feel as if they were taking the picture and that his expression is directed at them. In his expression is a level of determination and dignity that is unspoken. It is this expression that I wanted to capture in my portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.