The people we see in Victor Sweatt’s work are people he knows well. Whether or not they are, strictly speaking, portraits of actual people in the artist’s life may seem beside the point, they may very well be, but even if they are not -Sweatt knows them. They are found in his neighborhood on Louisville’ West side and in thousand of neighborhoods just like it all over America. Simple, hard-working folk, but seen through the artist’s eyes as people of innate dignity and humility. As he paints or draws them, Sweatt is bearing witness to the divine in humanity. In the parlance of the church, his images “testify”.
Sweatt has often captured these characters inside of a church, but even when they are not, he paints them with reverence: a body bent over collard greens in the garden, or aged fingers at work repairing a pair of shoes. They are skills from the past, too often taken for granted or thought forgotten. But this artist understands and appreciates that they are the threads that bind a community.
In 2017, Sweatt completed two large scale paintings for the Slugger Museum in downtown Louisville that depict native son and World Champion Boxer Muhammad Ali on one, and Atlanta Braves legend and holder of the record for career home runs Hank Aaron on the other. Together the work is titled: “Ali & Aaron: United in the Fight”. He also won a design competition to paint an image for the Heritage West development in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville that will be displayed on a billboard.
Sweatt was born in Louisville. He has shown his work in group and solo exhibitions, and appears in public and private collections throughout the United States. Sweat is a signature member of the Louisville Visual Art, the Kentucky Artist Pastel Society, and the Kentucky Watercolor Society.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.