Artsy Fartsy: Discovering Miguel Covarrubias

I don't know what it is, but I've been feeling very creative and right-brained and out-of-the-box lately. Independent films are where it's at for me right now, and I've been finding myself reminiscing about my favourite class in elementary school, art history. It was almost coincidence (if I believed in such things) then, that the other morning as I was lying in bed, I happened to stumble on some great art. I was doing my usual, first-thing-in-the-morning smartphone routine. Checking over the number of texts and emails that had come in through my sleeping hours, I logged on to my Facebook and was greeted with this image posted by Vintage Black Glamour:

I HAD to know what this was, who did it, why, and where have they been my whole life? The vibrant colour and caricature of Haile Selassie I and the boxer Joe Louis was so I laid in bed and did a bit of Google research.

Miguel Covarrubias (1904-57) was a Mexican artist, specifically a painter and caricaturist. His talents took him from Mexico City to New York City at the age of 19, and this is where his story became really interesting to me. The age of the Harlem Renaissance has always been a mystifying, magical time in history for me, and everytime I find someone else who came up in that era, I uncover a bit more of its richness.

Friends with Frida Kahlo, Zora Neale Hurston (he created the artwork for the cover of Mules and Men) and Langston Hughes, designing sets and costumes for Josephine Baker in La Revue Negre, creating art for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair (where he consistently featured drawings and paintings of Black entertainers) - he did all that and more. He was a world traveler who immersed himself in the cultures of the various places he visited, like Bali, India, and the Caribbean, and these travels heavily influenced his art. Miguel Covarrubias was an integral part of the artistic movement of the time, and I'm just sad that I didn't learn about him earlier...

I found Covarrubias' Impossible Interviews artwork for Vanity Fair to be some of my favourites of his. Putting two unlikely subjects together for a fake interview, Covarrubias' caricatures undoubtedly had Vanity Fair readers talking:

His art inspired by living in Harlem and visiting Bali were gorgeous:

I need the Haile Selassie I vs. Joe Louis and 'Sunday In Harlem' pieces on my wall RAHT NAH!

Forgive my little diversion from the usual hair, wellness, and introspective posts, but I've been feeling very artsy these days, and Miguel Covarrubias is giving me what I need. What do you think of his art? Is anyone out there just as intrigued by the Harlem Renaissance era as I am?

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