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by Andrew Baker

First things first. I am of course obliged to thank our generous host. I am genuinely flattered by his invitation to spend the week up top, as it were. Like many here, I've spent the last couple of years finding my way to Ta-Nehisi's space most days, multiple times a day, and I deeply appreciate the vote of confidence I think he's given me.

 
Now, based on a handful of comments and suggestions I've made down below over the life of this blog, TNC's asked me to talk a bit about visual art. I spent a while turning it over in my head trying to figure out what that means, or what it should mean in the context of this space, and what I've decided makes the most sense for this blog and this readership is a sort of illustrated meditation on art, the act of creation, and the experience of looking.
 
There will be an unavoidably autobiographical element in this, and while I feel like I know a lot of you already, I think I should provide a bit of background on me. I have good amount of art history, but I come at this from the perspective of a maker as opposed to a scholar. I studied drawing and painting, first at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, then at the New York Academy of Art. I lived and worked in New York off and on for seven years, and I continue to paint today from my home outside of Atlanta, which is more or less where I grew up. Everything I say here is from my perspective, and it's not really meant to challenge your feelings, as much as it is to express mine. I hope I am able to keep your interest, and you'll forgive me when I go a bit long.

Also, I already have the week more or less mapped out, but I am open to suggestions.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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