Edwin Marcelin is a thoughtful proponent of abstract painting’s power to act as a prompt, a boost, a gateway, and a spark of spiritual reconsideration within the black experience. A polymath with 30 years of exquisite design work and interests in fashion, photography, poetry, sculpture, and video, in his oil paintings Marcelin adeptly redeploys the language of modernist shape and color to hold space for new thought patterns and “the making of a black iconography.” His current show, Elevation: Abstract Meditations on Iconic Black Discipline, is now on view at 100 S. Grand in DTLA, presented by UNREPD—in a thrilling coincidence, concurrent with and adjacent to the landmark Basquiat: King Pleasure exhibition. Accompanying a suite of Marcelin’s sharp, fulsome, fleetingly figure-evoking, dynamic, and richly hued works on canvas is an affecting video installation that further demonstrates the need to get clear before beginning again.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
EDWIN MARCELIN: In 1992 when I was seventeen I was introduced by a friend to new friends and she said, “That’s Edwin. He’s an artist.”
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My work celebrates the human experience.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I went to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland / SF, currently CCA. Before the computer, Art School was one of the only supportive environments where experimentation, current information, and resources were available to those who imagined an art career.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I was born in L.A. It’s in my blood.
When was your first show?
My first show is also my current show. Elevation: Abstract Meditations on Iconic Black Discipline is now on view at 100 S. Grand in DTLA, presented by UNREPD, is on view through May 31.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
Romare Bearden / Mark Bradford.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Website and social media handles, please!
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