29 Facts About Amy Sherald


Amy Sherald was born on August 30,1973 and is an American painter.


Amy Sherald's style is simplified realism, involving staged photographs of her subjects.


In 2016, Sherald became the first woman as well as the first African American ever to win the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition with her painting, Miss Everything.


Notwithstanding this revelatory experience, Amy Sherald's parents wanted her career to be in medicine, and discouraged her from pursuing art.


Amy Sherald's upbringing influenced the specific themes of interest to Amy Sherald in her painting career.


Amy Sherald's position was further complicated by her light-colored hair and skin.


Amy Sherald is a graduate of St Anne-Pacelli Catholic School in Columbus.

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Amy Sherald enrolled at Clark Atlanta University, where Sherald began college on the pre-med track her parents hoped for, but as a sophomore cross-registered for a painting class at Spelman College, which introduced Sherald to Panama-born artist and art historian Arturo Lindsay, whose work focuses on the African influence on the cultures of the Americas.


Amy Sherald convinced Odd Nerdrum to mentor her in Norway.


Amy Sherald has been highly motivated as an artist, wanting to be a painter so badly that she waited tables until she was 38.


In 1997, Amy Sherald participated in Spelman College International Artist-in-Residence program in Portobelo, Panama.


Amy Sherald prepared and curated shows in the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo and the 1999 South American Biennale in Lima, Peru.


Amy Sherald has taught art in the Baltimore City Detention Center, and in 2008 she did a residency the Tongxian Art Center in Beijing, China.


Since 2008, Amy Sherald has painted a little over 30 pieces of art.


Since her 2012 work Equilibrium, Amy Sherald has depicted the skin tone of her Black subjects in grayscale rather than flesh tones.


Amy Sherald uses the gray hues to challenge an idea of race where skin color automatically assigns a category, part of a broader project to counter what she experienced as the limited narrative available to her growing up in segregated Columbus, Georgia only shortly after the Civil Rights Movement.


Amy Sherald came to prominence in 2016 when her painting, Miss Everything, won the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition along with a $25,000 award.


The competition noted that "Amy Sherald creates innovative, dynamic portraits that, through color and form, confront the psychological effects of stereotypical imagery on African-American subjects".


Amy Sherald was the first woman and first African American to win the competition.


The year after Amy Sherald won the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, she was chosen by First Lady Michelle Obama to paint her official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery.


The Obama portrait was a departure for Amy Sherald who had never taken a directed commission before, but in other respects her approach remained the same.


Since the Boochever prize and the Obama commission, Amy Sherald has received considerable public acclaim.


Until that point based in Baltimore, in 2018 Amy Sherald moved to New Jersey and began working from a studio in Jersey City at Mana Contemporary, a former tobacco factory converted into artist spaces.


Amy Sherald has a 2020 exhibition of five small-scale portraits of black women created over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.


In 2020, Amy Sherald painted Breonna Taylor's portrait on the September cover of Vanity Fair.

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Amy Sherald created this image of Taylor with her signature gray-scale skin coloring, along with a free-flowing blue dress against an aqua background.


Amy Sherald's father died of Parkinson's disease in 2000, and her aunt developed a brain infection around the same time.


Amy Sherald was diagnosed at the age of 30 with congestive heart failure when she went in for a normal checkup during her triathlon training.


Amy Sherald was the recipient of a heart transplant on December 18,2012 at the age of 39.