Profile: Moe Brooker (1940-)

Moe Brooker is American artist. Working in painting and fabrics, Brooker employs bright colors such as “saturated pinks, mellow yellows and lime greens (that) are feasts for the eyes,” as well as stripes and checked patterns. He is nationally known and has received a number of awards and honors, including the James Van Der Zee lifetime achievement award.


Brooker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1940. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Tyler School of Art, graduating with a B.F.A. in 1970 and an M.F.A. in 1972. He has been on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Parsons School of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Moore College of Art and Design.

Brooker works on canvas and paper, using acrylics as a base coat and mixing oils, oil stick and encaustic. He has been influenced by both graffiti art and music, and has moved from semi-figurative art to abstract art. He credits abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky’s book Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912) as an influence on his work. One of the reasons why Brooker moved to abstraction was that he wanted to paint the joyous and spiritual aspects of African-American life, but could not find figurative symbols for doing so.

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