Life has been a rodeo in Greensboro, North Carolina as I get to work on a dream piece. Kotis Street Art has been absolutely phenomenal in supporting and bringing to life the vision I had for a mural of Black Cowboys. The idea for the piece started with my grandfather, George “Big G” Coulter, who was a real life cowboy. He rode horses and bulls in rodeo, and he continued to work with horses long after he stopped riding.
The mural started with my grandfather but led me into a beautiful world that is still every-day for so many people. This piece is in celebration of cowboys who are black, whose stories so often go un-noted.
The mural features (left to right) George “Big G” Coulter, The Buffalo Soldiers, Ellis “Mountain Man” Harris, (top) Isom Dart, Bill Pickett (bottom) Nat Love, Kesha Morse, and Myrtis Dightman.
Thank you so much Greensboro, it has truly been an honor to create this piece here and for you all!
A special shout out to Marty Kotis, Jonathan Duran, and Marty’s team of fantastic do-ers.
Check out the article and video on Fox 8!
The Clint Eastwood and John Wayne westerns present a cowboy life that erased people of color—the non-represented cowboys were not just black, but also Mexican and Native American, and occasionally even female. The endearing cowboy story belongs to Black Americans as well, and this painting is in celebration of all of the moments that they experienced in the fairytale-world of the open country. The early days of cattle-herding made an avenue for workers to be both respected and well paid. The work was specialized and difficult, and the sometimes life-or-death circumstances didn’t leave space for racism to run rampant. As many as one in every four cowboys in Texas were Black; the cowboy life was tough, but good.
The artist’s grandfather was a cowboy, breaking horses and eventually going on to work with big name show horses like Man O’ War. He existed in both worlds, but the world of the rodeo was much different than the world of free range world of tending herds of cattle. Racism was as present in the sport as it was in the general world at the time. Black cowboys weren’t allowed to participate in certain events until white patrons had vacated the arena. Even when they did participate, they were frequently judged unfairly. The lack of regard for the talent that cowboys of color brought to the arena was a sparking factor in the decision for a few black cowboys to create their very own rodeos.
As kids we have imaginations that are big and wild, and we project ourselves into the characters of those stories. The story of black cowboys was one that was closer to reality for black children than most of them ever knew. Modern cowboys have managed to continue to keep alive and even grow a tradition that left them from the narrative…and now they’re writing their very own stories where they are front and center, and just as wild and free.
This entire mural was made possible by Kotis Street Art, the wonderful man himself Marty Kotis, and his incredibly gifted team! Kotis Street Art has put 95 murals in Greensboro, NC in the past two years alone. The murals feature a wide range of styles and highlight work from local artists to internationally renown street artists.
Black Country Productions has burst onto the scene with a fascinating reveal into the lives of a fun-loving group of modern cowboys hailing from North Carolina. The Black Country documentary is currently streaming on the WRAL app on Firestick and Roku
Be a part!
RSVP to the event and come be a part of this special moment! August 10, 2019, 9:30 am, at 1421 E Cone Blvd, Greensboro, NC