Nov 23, 2020

Artist Channels Grief Into Unfinished Portraits Where 1 Year of Life = 1 Minute of Color

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“Stolen” is a powerful series by artist Adrian Brandon that is dedicated to Black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of police.

The 11 x 14″ portraits were first drawn with graphite. Brandon then used time as a medium to define how long each portrait was colored in for. 1 year of life = 1 minute of color.

The gripping results are unfinished portraits of people whose lives were cut short. Brandon explains:

Tamir Rice was 12 when he was murdered, so I colored his portrait for 12 minutes. As a person of color, I know that my future can be stolen from me if I’m driving with a broken taillight, or playing my music too loud, or reaching for my phone at the wrong time. So for each of these portraits I played with the harsh relationship between time and death. I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled. This emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will be forever stuck with the question, “who were they becoming?” This series touches on grief and the unknown.


The original series of portraits were exhibited at Brandon’s first solo show in November 2019. He has since updated the series to include more recent portraits including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. To see more of Adrian’s powerful work, please visit the links below.

[via Kottke]


Website | Instagram



1. Aiyana Stanley-Jones
7 years old / 7 minutes of color

Website | Instagram


2. Tamir Rice
12 years old / 12 minutes of color

Website | Instagram


3. Sandra Bland
28 years old / 28 minutes of color


4. George Floyd
46 years old / 46 minutes of color


5. Breonna Taylor
28 years old / 28 minutes of color


6. Michael Brown
18 years old / 18 minutes of color


7. Atatiana Jefferson
28 years old / 28 minutes of color


8. Philando Castile
32 years old / 32 minutes of color


9. Eric Garner
43 years old / 43 minutes of color



“I feel rushed as I create these pieces. I want to complete their portraits so badly. To be able to see all the layers of colors in their face come to life. I feel a strong sense of panic during the process, which is a feeling Black people experience far too often when engaging with police. The timer (which I cannot see) is always in the back of my mind. How much time is left? When will this be over? I need more time… They deserve more time.”



10. Stolen by Adrian Brandon




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Article Categories:
art · BEST OF · black lives matter · conceptual · drawing · illustration · police · portraits · protest · STORIES · top

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