Artist Profile: Robert Paige
Robert Paige (1937) was born in Woodlawn, Chicago and is a multi-disciplinary artist and arts educator working across textile design, painting, collage, and sculpture. Much of his work is characterized by geometric concepts and experimentations in the juxtaposition of vivid colors, with a focus on the role beauty plays in animating everyday life. Paige has said, “Beauty is a public service. It should be everywhere. It should not only be in museums or downtown, it should be everywhere. Everybody should be able to experience beauty.” He is a critical figure in the Chicago Black Arts Movement of the 60’s and 70’s and his work highlights the role of Black designers during this period. In the 1960’s, Paige began working with the architectural design firm, Skidmore Owings and Merrill and received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1964. In 1973, he released his famed Dakkabar interior design collection, which included pillows, bedspreads, and drapes, inspired by abstraction and symbols in West African visual art. The collection was available in Sears stores nationwide for two years.
In 1975, Paige began EVERYDAY ART, a non-profit invested in the role of art in the development of the South Shore community in Chicago. He also created scarves for the Fiorio design house in Milan, Italy, a partnership that brought his work into a global market. Paige was a resident artist in the Cabrini Green neighborhood for several years and was very involved with the Chicago non-profit Gallery 37. Paige is currently an artist-in-residence at the Hyde Park Art Center and will have a solo exhibition at the center in 2024.
Robert Paige in his studio, 1975. Robert Sengstacke Photo Archive, University of Chicago.
Robert Paige, Power to the People, circa 2002, Hand-dyed silk.