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Mississippi Valley State University

How the dense grids of artist Charles Gaines took the ego out of art

How the dense grids of artist Charles Gaines took the ego out of art

When Charles Gaines was in elementary school in Newark, N.J., one of his teachers noticed that this son of a construction worker and seamstress was skilled at drawing.  “My teacher told my mom that she should encourage me to go into art because I could be the ‘first black artist,' “ Gaines remembers with a chuckle. “Of course, there was already a rich black history in art, but nobody knew it because it wasn't taught.” He went on to attend an arts high school in Newark and pursue art as a career. But at first, art was hardly his passion. “I look at myself in those days as being unconscious,” says the artist, whose early work is...

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