Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Forrest Kirk



Forrest Kirk

Paranoia Gland, 2018







Forrest’s portraits feature larger-than-life officers accorded the status of serpents and boogeyman. His policemen, wearing matching blue uniforms, brandish water guns. Their holsters bulge at their waists. They lasso their victims – the African Americans who convulse and disappear into the mysterious circles the officers control. Acrylic paint smears a black nightmare over the canvas and its white screens while gorilla glue thins a red tricycle that sprouts, as if from a dream, over one officer’s chest and suggests his uniform is likewise hallucinated. But it’s not a dream, the violence comes from someplace real and palpable: America.
Forrest, reversing the systemic oppression that places black men at the discretion of America’s boys in blue, interrogates the lawman alongside his fantasies, paranoias, and delusions. “Is this all a game?” he asks.


Black Magic, 2018

Forrest Kirk was born in 1975 in San Diego, California. He attended California State University, Los Angeles. (text E.C. Lina Gallery).


Serpent Staff, 2018 (part of a triptich)


Right Tool for the Job, 2018


Judge, Jury, Executioner, 2018

My art is my lexicon. It’s the world as I see it using paint or other mediums to articulate it. I create paintings and sculptures that get beyond the distractions to capture a subject’s essence. Some of my subjects are quite beautiful, others less so. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them.
I paint figurative and abstract together in a seamless way. My art is often described as moving or emotional, deep and thoughtful, inspirational and even important.
I work very quickly and intuitively reacting to each stroke as if the canvas is speaking to me directly. I paint layer after layer sometimes exposing what is underneath in order to create portals of light and mystery. I paint mostly with my brushes although I have an arsenal of tools at my disposal. As a black male, there has always been this stigma of us being primal or gorillas so, in each of my paintings, I use some amount of gorilla glue. It’s my way of taking the negative gorilla connotation and making something beautiful out of it in each work.(quote from interview from VoyageLA Magazine, 2019