D.C. artist Barry Bishop unveils Wes Unseld portait Friday night

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During Friday night’s game, the Wizards organization continued its celebration of Black History Month by honoring Barry Bishop, a local artist and Duke Ellington School of the Arts alumnus. Bishop unveiled one of his latest pieces, a portrait of Bullets legend Wes Unseld, in an on-court presentation during the first quarter.

Bishop was born in Trinidad and Tobago and was raised in Washington, D.C. A long-time Wizards fan, Bishop was eager to share his work with a fanbase and community that means so much to him. He said that, like all artists, most of the exposure he’s able to get for his work comes through galleries and other conventional methods, but Friday’s in-game unveil was “an ultimate dream.”

In addition to his time at Duke Ellington, Bishop also studied at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, part of George Washington University. Coming out of college, he focused mostly on abstract work, airbrushing cartoon characters and T-shirt designs. When someone asked him to paint a portrait, it changed his entire focus.

Bishop now paints mostly portraits using techniques that include airbrushing and paint brushing on canvas using different mediums of black and white acrylic paints. The Unseld piece unveiled at Friday’s game was no different – and was a project that Bishop was particularly excited to work on.

“(Wes Unseld) is an icon,” Bishop said. “He’s a legend. He was one of the first ‘big men’ big men. When I pick the images that I pick, I like to capture the individual when they’re in their prime. (Muhammed) Ali when he won his titles. Wes when he’s in his prime. That’s what I try to capture – the strength and the essence of the individual.”

Bishop said that he hopes some of the young Wizards fans in attendance at Friday night’s game drew some inspiration from his work.

“I’m definitely hoping that I inspire (young artists),” Bishop said. “If you ever think about doing art, never stop. Just keep on doing it. You have to work on your craft. You’re always working on your craft. I’m always working on my craft. If I can inspire one person to pick up a paint brush or a pencil – that’s awesome.”