Estéban Whiteside

Estéban Whiteside

Esteban  Whiteside (b. 1985) is a self-taught painter whose work is based on the  intersectionality of street art and politics. A native of Asheville,  North Carolina, he began painting as an act of love, which then led to  him dedicating more time and research into painting, with an interest in  abstraction. Having always been inspired by outspoken artists, after  seeing the death of Michael Brown, he felt he could no longer create  work that didn’t address social issues, and began developing an artist  narrative stemming from circumstances affecting the Black community. It  was at this pivotal point that his inspiration shifted from abstract  expressionism and artists like Romare Bearden, to what he calls  “concrete oppressionism”, focusing solely on creating work containing a  direct, political message, leaving little room for interpretation. He  eventually relocated to Washington, D.C., where he began showing his  paintings just outside of his neighborhood. The polarizing reactions in  the feedback he got from passers-by motivated him to continue producing.  With the overt nature of his work’s messaging, Whiteside says, “I want  the right people to love it, and if you feel guilty that’s probably how  you’re supposed to feel about it.” 

After garnering some attention from showing his works on the street,  he was offered the opportunity to show his work in a group exhibition.  In a surprising twist of fate, the works were taken down after the  opening night due to the owners’ apprehension against sharing such  politically charged work during the heightened emotions of the 2016  presidential election. In solidarity with the freedom of expression of  artists, other artists came forward offering Whiteside opportunities to  show his work is more progressive spaces. After a series of successful  group exhibitions, he presented work in a two-person show at The Fridge,  where he was encouraged to be openly controversial as he wanted to be,  reaffirming his freedom of expression.

 

Check out available works from "The American Dream...Or Nightmare" 

 

Available works from "The Monopoly of Gentrification"