The National Portrait Gallery in Washington will now play host to two new works, the colorful Obama portraits that were created by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Although both Obama portraits are heavy on color, their designs are completely different, with Wiley taking a more realist approach, while Sherald's is a bit more simplistic.
The portrait of the former US president boasts a vivid background that consists of lush greenery, which includes a careful selection of flowers. As the New York Times reports, there are "African blue lilies for Kenya, his father’s birthplace; jasmine for Hawaii, where Mr. Obama was born; [and] chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, for the city where his political career began."
The former first lady's portrait is characterized by a pastel blue background and a beautiful flowing dress designed by Michelle Smith that has abstract designs all over it. With this imagery, Sherald communicates the supreme level of class that Michelle Obama carries herself with, while reflecting her cool composure with the background.
Image Credit: Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald / New York Times
The Obama Portraits Show Barack and Michelle with Symbolic Meaning
1. Symbolic Portrait Design - The Obama portraits showcased the use of symbolic design elements in portraiture, presenting an opportunity for designers to include deeper meaning in their work through symbolism.
2. Colorful Realism - Artist Kehinde Wiley's realistic yet vibrant style in the Obama portrait presents an opportunity for artists in various industries to experiment with bright colors in realistic depictions.
3. Simplistic Abstraction - Amy Sherald's simplified approach in the Obama portrait provides an opportunity for artists in different mediums to explore the use of abstraction to convey emotions and personality in their subjects.
1. Fine Art Industry - The Obama portraits represent an opportunity for fine artists to incorporate symbolic design elements and innovative color schemes into their work.
2. Fashion Industry - Michelle Obama's portrait dress design offers a potential opportunity for designers in the fashion industry to incorporate more abstract designs in their clothing, while also representing a potential collaboration opportunity with portraitists.
3. Photography Industry - The Obama portraits offer an opportunity for photographers to incorporate symbolic elements and bright colors in their photography, while also exploring a more simplified and abstract approach to portraiture.