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Artist Chaz Guest: "I’m battling having my culture be so misrepresented"

The painter, cosigned by the Obamas, talks about his new solo exhibition, his respect for his ancestors and why he remains fascinated by Black soldiers.
“When I paint I’m feeling joy. I’m feeling what life is supposed to be like. I’m feeling free. I’m going after what it means to be a human being.” These are the words African American artist Chaz Guest spoke to me from his studio in Los Angeles on the eve of a new solo show in his home city. Joy is very much evident in Guest’s recent work, his paintings glowing with beautiful, otherworldly combinations of color and luminous emotions, even as they depict the gritty realities of warfare and the deep complexity of the Black experience.