Best Quotes by Amy Sherald

I’m painting the paintings that I want to see in museums. And I’m hopefully presenting them in a way that’s universal enough that they become representative of something different than just a black body on a canvas.

Amy Sherald

My brother dying changed me. I didn’t realize how strong I was until I lost my brother.

Amy Sherald

I want my portraits to create a space where blackness can breathe.

Amy Sherald

Imagination allows you to bend the rules of the temporal world.

Amy Sherald

I thought I was going to die when I was 39.

Amy Sherald

Art class was my safe haven.

Amy Sherald

In sociology, they call it ‘code switching.’ I can feel just as comfortable in a room full of people who don’t look like me because I understand the social cues of class and race.

Amy Sherald

I paint as a way of looking for myself in the world.

Amy Sherald

Success, for me, is staying true to who you are and not deviating off a path.

Amy Sherald

The one artist who actually had influence over me was Bo Bartlett.

Amy Sherald

My father wanted me to be a dentist like him, or any doctor, really. There was this attitude of, ‘The civil rights movement was not about you being an artist.’

Amy Sherald

When I started school, I would draw pictures at the end of my sentences: a house, a flower, a tree, a bird. Whatever was in the sentence, I’d draw it.

Amy Sherald

I’ve forgotten a lot of things. I’ve forgotten how to play the piano and how to speak Arabic, though I studied it for two years.

Amy Sherald

I blacked out in a Rite Aid. The doctor told me my heart function was at 5 percent. I spent two months in the hospital waiting to have a transplant. For me, that was the end of the world.

Amy Sherald

It’s hard for me to find people to paint. There has got to be something about them that only I can see.

Amy Sherald

I paint paintings of people.

Amy Sherald

I don’t think anybody can create in a space where they don’t feel comfortable.

Amy Sherald

Art was not a thing for my family and is still not a thing for my family. My family will not go to a museum unless I say we have to go there. That’s why I really feel like it was something I was supposed to do because there was no directive that pushed me in that direction.

Amy Sherald

My mother was willing to support art as a summer program for me. She never supported it as a career decision until I won the National Gallery Portrait Competition.

Amy Sherald

Signing autographs is weird. I’m an introvert, so it’s been a strain in that way.

Amy Sherald

The people I choose as models have a quality that seems to contain the past, the present, and the future all at once. It’s hard to explain. I can look at 100 people in a room but only find it in one person.

Amy Sherald

I’m not a very verbal person.

Amy Sherald

To be human is to be visible.

Amy Sherald

Why can’t I make up my own characters and paint the people I want to see in the world? I’m depicting the many people who existed in history but whose presence was never documented.

Amy Sherald

When I found photography, I found this other kind of portraiture of black families and black people who were photographing themselves or having themselves photographed in ways they wanted to be seen.

Amy Sherald

I paint American people, and I tell American stories through the paintings I create.

Amy Sherald

Once my paintings are complete, the model no longer lives in the painting as themselves. I see something bigger, more symbolic – an archetype.

Amy Sherald

I probably shouldn’t curse as much as I do.

Amy Sherald

I grew up in Georgia, and my mom would tell me how to perform and act. So I learned to repress a lot of myself so that other people would feel comfortable.

Amy Sherald

When I’m painting and in the zone, it’s difficult for me to stop. It can take me half a day to get into that space, and once I do, I only talk to a certain few people who won’t disrupt it. Home to sleep and back at it, nothing else outside of getting food. Everything else is an annoyance getting in my way.

Amy Sherald

Becoming an artist is not empirical; it’s not about hard work. You have to put the work in, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to make it.

Amy Sherald

I am relieved that I can pay back my school loans.

Amy Sherald

I was at all-white schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade, so I wanted to feel what it was like just to be me and not, like, Black Amy.

Amy Sherald

I wanted to be in museums. I don’t do things to be small.

Amy Sherald

My approach to portraiture is conceptual.

Amy Sherald

Michelle Obama is extraordinary, but she is also the kind of woman that exists in a way that is – she’s a hundred percent relatable to all kinds of people, all genders all around the world.

Amy Sherald

A lot of the artists that people equate my work to, I didn’t find out about until after graduate school.

Amy Sherald

When people ask me about color in my work, I tend to say that it came from spending a lot of time in Panama.

Amy Sherald

I want all types of people to look at my work and see themselves, just like I watch a Reese Witherspoon movie as a black woman and can empathize with her because we have had to internalize whiteness in that way to survive.

Amy Sherald

Just because someone said painting is dead doesn’t mean that it’s a fact or the truth – painting is the soul food of art, in a way.

Amy Sherald