Randy McSwain, Los Angeles, CA Member Since December 2009 Artist Statement Influenced by his mom’s stories of her friendship with slain civil rights activist Medger Evers, Randy McSwain always wanted to make a difference in this world. Growing up in inner city Los Angeles, he felt he had something to say about how all people have talent and achievements that can be recognized. It was a task that he would take on in paint and pencil.
Randy has painted and drawn more than a thousand pieces, mostly of people who represent strength, passion, vision and spirit. People like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and the Buffalo Soldiers. A slave escaping from captivity. A woman at a church bazaar holding a precious jade elephant. “The elephant represents remembrance,” Randy says. “Don’t forget God. Don’t forget your people.”
For Randy, those people are in inner city Los Angeles. Growing up on the eastside in the 60s and 70s, Randy witnessed the birth of gangs, drugs and violence in his South Central area. He had his own troubles with these activities before two neighborhood artists, Herbert and Emmett, helped redirect his attention, introducing him to sculpturing with wood and plastic. Meanwhile, ceramics, drawing and wood classes at Carver Junior High and Jefferson High School helped nurture his life-long love for the arts. Through painting and other fine arts classes at Compton Community College and Cal State San Bernardino, he further developed his natural ability to create life on paper.
He credits God for his gift.
“I feel like God is holding my hand,” he says. “He’s leading and guiding me to do these things. It’s like inspiration and He’s putting it down for me.
“Some people say you’re the master painting the picture. I say God is the one who’s gifted me so He must be leading me to make a difference.”