30 Americans

Artist Biographies

Nina Chanel Abney

(born 1982)

In the November 2008 issue of W Magazine, a twenty-six-year-old Nina Chanel Abney explained to Haven Thompson how celebrity scandals inspire some of her vibrant, often brazen paintings that at once suggest Francis Bacon, David Hockney, and contemporary street murals. “I’m fascinated by how celebrity news has become not more interesting, but more important than politics. I like to infuse that with race issues,” Abney said, referring to her 2007 solo debut show, Dirty Wash, at New York’s Kravets/Wehby Gallery.

John Bankston

(born 1963)

The visual and narrative language of coloring books fuels much of the fantastical sensibilities of John Bankston’s oil, acrylic, ceramic, watercolor, and sculpture works. Curator Daniell Cornell, who organized Bankston’s 2006 exhibition Locating Desire at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, expressed how Bankston juggles the art of painting and drawing, representation and abstraction, to transport viewers in a world of childlike reveries. The adventure voyages, science fiction, and fairy tales he relates in his work simultaneously touch upon themes of race, gender roles, masculinity, and sexuality.

Jean-Michel Basquiat