Barnes came to painting after a career in professional football, as an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. Teammates called him “Big Rembrandt.”
He could take on a defensive lineman, then commit the encounter to canvas. Many people would call Barnes a “black painter.” He preferred the description “neo-Mannerist.” Barnes never painted his subjects with their eyes open.
“We don’t see each other,” he said once in an interview. “We are blind to each other’s humanity.”