Student Author(s)

Nia Stringfellow

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Linda Graham

Document Type


Event Date



Known as the man who wore red, Allen Stringfellow (1923-2004) is an African American collage and water-color artist. His pieces are memorable for their radiant energy and vibrant colors, particularly the color red, which became a signature character for his work. By learning from Stringfellow’s childhood and history of Chicago, we can begin to understand the depths he pulled his influences from to bring his art to life, ringing through the paintings and collages that brought a sense of pride for African-Americans across the nation. Much of Stringfellow’s work sheds light into the Chicago black community and how it developed its own character of nightlife and artistry. With his father owning a jazz club in Chicago, we can see how those childhood experiences shaped his image about jazz and jazz musicians who are portrayed in his artwork. Stringfellow was also raised in the church with his grandmother, witnessing numerous water baptisms. The bright colors and elaborate patterns in the clothes of painted black women symbolize the pride, dignity, and strong Christian faith the women held in 20th century American society. Stringfellow explains in an interview that even if you were poor, you always looked your best on Sunday mornings. The artist celebrates the unique blend of jazz and church lifestyles seen in every spirited occasion. In order to gather information about Allen Stringfellow, I compiled his artwork from multiple art-buying websites. I listened to interviews where Stringfellow discusses the intentions behind his paintings. In the pursuit to learn more about his childhood and adult lifestyle that may have influenced his art, I interviewed one of his nieces and received more first-hand experience and biographical information that expanded my research to a sacred depth.