Campbell is a self-taught artist reared in two cities rich in African American culture, born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in New York City. His works take a critical view of social, political and cultural issues of the African American life.
As a child of the south, and an descendent of the Gullah people of South Carolina, his creative influences have been profoundly affected by his lineage. His “The Newspaper Series”, evolved out of a preceding body of work that focused on Gullah culture and history. These stylized images reflect many of the ideologies of the Gullah culture from a contemporary perspective.
The newspapers he chooses for his paintings are also a critical part of Black American cultural and literary history, as they tell stories of times past. Campbell is deeply moved by the educational aspect of his art, and he selects articles and stories with important historical messages that are relevant today. The art of Leroy Campbell seeks to connect the past and present, despite separation of decades. He masterfully induces a sense of nostalgia through the art while educating and enlightening the viewers. Each newspaper and the history it holds inspires Campbell to continue telling the stories of our rich ancestry.
Campbell uses collage techniques, and in addition to the newspapers, many of the works are layered with acrylic paints, fabrics and other found objects. The objects and varied mediums creates the narrative that the artist is inspired to share. The resonating theme in his art is community culture and harmony. “I am very motivated, through my work, to view art from a global perspective–one that encourages respect and equality. These inspirations lead me to create, not only for myself, but for the greater good. I feel validated as an artist to be able to share my life experiences, and a part of my history with the viewers. This allows others to learn about aspects of African American culture from a unique perspective.” – Leroy Campbell