Featured Artist Of The Week: Titus Kaphar

by Catherine Watts Leave a Comment

by Catherine Watts

When I first came across the work of Titus Kaphar, it immediately stopped me in my tracks and captivated me. On a recent first-time visit to the National Portrait Gallery, Titus Kaphar’s art had an entire exhibit showroom dedicated to it. Also, his art resonated with me not just as an art lover, but also as a black woman. With this, Kaphar’s work explores the long and complicated past of slavery and racism in the United States. Although we can never erase that history and the pain it elicits, Kaphar shows that we can learn from it by boldly addressing it.

About Titus Kaphar

Born in 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Titus Kaphar was first introduced to art while taking an art history course in college. During that time he taught himself to paint by visiting museums in the area.

Kaphar’s work often incorporates multidimensional and sculptural aspects. In some of his art, canvases are slashed and dangling off the frame, or hanging over another painting. By using techniques including cutting, crumpling, and shredding,. As a result, Kaphar creates art that acknowledges the unspoken truths of history.

One such example is his portrait of Thomas Jefferson. Painted in the neoclassical style, Kaphar then attached a nude portrait of Sally Hemmings’ in the corner, underneath Thomas Jefferson’s portrait painting. This piece, in particular, spoke to me as a University of Virginia graduate who has always had mixed feelings towards her supposedly benevolent school founder.

Where You Can Find His Work

Today, Kaphar is the co-founder and CEO of NXTHVN. NXTHVN offers fully-funded fellowships and paid mentorship opportunities to emerging artists and curators.

His paintings are held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Modern Art,

Yale University Art Gallery, New Britain Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum, and the

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Kaphar’s work has been recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship — the “genius” grants which come with a $625,000 award. Also, you can hear Titus talk about his winning of the MacArthur Fellowship and more about his artistic mission in his most recent interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly here.







"Hello All! My name is Catherine Watts and I am the founder of Hathart. For 10 years I was trained as an opera singer. One of the biggest problems I found was that I could not find steady gigs or network with larger groups. Although Facebook and my personal contacts in the arts industry helped me, I found that I needed something more centralized and specialized. That's when I decided to create Hathart. I wanted to build a platform where artists could collaborate with each other and find work. With your help, I hope to grow Hathart into a one-stop shop for the arts and entertainment industry. Thank you for the support and please provide any feedback you can think of!"

Catherine Watts
Catherine WattsFeatured Artist Of The Week: Titus Kaphar