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Whitfield Lovell is a contemporary realist artist who often paints and draws portraits using conte crayon on recycled materials. Lovell usually includes items that are associated with the person such as boxing gloves, playing cards, or keys.

Whitfield Lovell was born in the Bronx, New York in the year 1959. Lovell attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, Cooper Union College, and New York University. Whilst in high school he also took part in programs at Parson’s School of Design and Metropolitan Museum of Art located in New York City. The artist also studied abroad in Spain.

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Lovell often refers to African- Americans from the era of slaves in the United States. The artist also makes reference to people from the era of the Civil Rights movement that took place in the United States in the 1960’s. He was inspired by looking at photographs from his dad.

Below we view a series titled the “Deep River Series.”:

Lovell was named the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. A $50,000 prize is awarded the winner. In this clip an interview with the artist after being awarded the MacArthur Grant which is also known as the “genius grant”:

What I enjoy most about the work of this artist is that his portraits are executed with a great deal of technical expertise, but the works also give a small narrative of the sitter. With the inclusion of three dimensional objects the works are very different from traditional portraits.