Malik Roberts takes his art seriously and it shows. “I want my work to be as serious as I am,” he told Paper Magazine. It makes sense, therefore, that his paintings revolve around serious subjects, treating issues like cultural appropriation and depression.
His portraits remind of a Picasso painting – deconstructed, somewhat shattered, using dark color tones and abstract shapes. Through them, the Brooklyn-based painter explores the relationship between visual culture and reality today. But while his visual language combines influences of modern and pop art, taking note from giants like Caravaggio, Picasso’s Blue Period, and Francis Bacon, his paintings also invite the viewer to consider the impact of visual media on the consumption of ideas in the Digital Age.
“I feel like it’s a good time to be alive and be an artist in this world,” Roberts relayed. “Especially as a young Black artist — a news piece came out recently about Wall Street buying up Black art. There are a lot more opportunities being created now for Black artists to thrive in. People are really looking to Black art across all types of mediums… I now have friends who are artists, so it’s kinda cool to go to their shows and their galleries and then they come to my galleries. We all support each other, and that’s a good feeling. That said, I am lucky enough to have been given opportunities, but I haven’t taken them for granted, and I’ve killed it. I have. It’s about working smart.”
His popularity also translated to his online profiles, with more than 20k fans on Instagram alone. See what the hype is all about: