Posts Tagged ‘Rafael Leonardo Black’

An artist discovered at 64 has a gallery show in New York.

Jim Dwyer writes at the NY Times, “For more than three decades, [Rafael Leonardo] Black, 64, has made a portal to the world in dense, miniature renderings of ancient myth and modern figures: Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the Watergate break-in; Shirley Temple as a sphinx; the head of the surrealist André Breton as the head of John the Baptist; Marianne Faithfull in multiple incarnations.

“Until recently, few people ever saw his work because he had almost no visitors. He held paying jobs as a typist in a law firm, a salesman at Gimbels and then Macy’s, and as a secretary in a school. Most recently, he has worked mornings as a part-time receptionist in a hospital. …

“ ‘I just never made the effort to sell it,’ Mr. Black said. ‘I never expected to be able to make a living at it, but I’ve always done it since — well, I guess, since I’ve known my self.’

“Then [in May], a Manhattan gallery owner, Francis M. Naumann, mounted ‘Insider Art,’ an exhibition of 16 works by Mr. Black. Ten of them sold within days, at prices ranging from $16,000 to $28,000.

“ ‘People liked them, people who know art,’ Mr. Black said. ‘It makes me very happy.’ …

“Late last year, [his friend John] Taylor passed along Mr. Black’s number to [another] friend, Tej Hazarika, who publishes in the art world. Mr. Hazarika urged Tom Shannon, an artist and inventor, to look at the work. In turn, he brought it to Mr. Naumann’s attention. …

“ ‘If you are going to make a picture, you have to make something that’s in concert with the way the world operates,’ Black said. ‘There’s a line from the Lovin’ Spoonful: “You came upon a quiet day, and simply seemed to take your place.” ‘ ” More.

Photo: Victor J. Blue for the NY Times
“There’s a saying: ‘Everybody writes poems at 15; real poets write them at 50,’ ” said Rafael Leonardo Black, who draws miniature figures.

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