The Lived Experience of Black Artists in America

Artists Who Happen to be Black: Identity and Race within the African-American and the Artistic Community.

I hope that you’ll be able to help me out with some research I’m doing for the project I describe below. I’d be happy to talk in person or on the phone if you prefer that to writing in the comments section below. If I can get enough information I hope to publish this as an article as well, since there doesn’t seem to be any current writing on the subject.

I’ve been asked to present at a conference for Black Psychology and Sexuality in October 2015, and I’m tying my presentation in with my interest in the lives and counseling needs of artists. My paper will be about how Black artists navigate the society we live and work in, and how and whether their racial identity has affected their artmaking practice and career.

I would appreciate any answers and/or you may have about the questions I have below, and am hoping you would forward them to African-American artists you may know, or forward me their info so that I may contact them.

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments, and visit the articles and research page for more information and an abstract of the article I am writing.

Please leave your responses to the survey in the comments below.
1. When did you come to the realization that you wanted to be a working artist, ie. make a living (or try to) with your artistic work?

2. How did your family respond to your realization? Were they supportive financially and /or/ emotionally?

3. How did you choose where you went to school? Was it art related?

4. Did you have many fellow students who were aspiring artists? How many of them or what percentage was black.

5. How did you first try to make your way professionally?

6. Are you in a field where Black Artists are rare, or are there a representative number?

7. Do you ever think you were subject to racist attitudes or actions professionally?

8. Do you ever think being identified as a Black Artist was helpful to you professionally?

9. Has being a creative professional ever affected your personal or intimate relationships?

10. Have you ever had any mental health issues or suffered from addiction? Have you ever received counseling for them?

12. If so, did your mental health issues have anything to do with or affect your art making in any way?

12. Do you consider your primary identity to be that of an artist or creative person?

13. Do you think you have internalized societal or community attitudes and ideas about what it’s like to be a Black Artist in America, or do you feel you “go against the flow”?

14. Do you think there is a difference between African American or Black Art and Art made by black or African-American artists?

Anything else you’d like to add?

Demographic info:
Where you were born/raised: