Category Archives: Bearded Men

1001 Black Men #743


We had a hot spell a couple weeks ago. (To be perfectly honest, we’re having a hot spell right now.) In mid July, though, the temperatures rose even higher than they are right now, and brothers all over the Bay Area shucked their shirts in an effort to beat the heat. Driving along Bancroft Avenue (in Oakland) on my way to Zocalo Cafe (in San Leandro), it seemed like there were shirtless men on every corner between Hegenberger and 98th. Oddly, though, they didn’t seem any more comfortable than the guys who were fully clothed. The placebo effective of removing one’s shirt was not working for them at all.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #742


I am pleased to say that Thursday’s trip to San Francisco was almost completely unnecessary. I drove over to add some additional adhesive to the art labels for my show at the Writers’ Grotto. I’m pleased to say that all of the labels were still where I placed them, and only a few of them were curling away form the wall. I added some additional tape to those most likely to fall off, and I drove away satisfied with the overall quality of the show.

The trip gave me some peace of mind about my art labeling skills, and it also brought me in contact with a new subject for my series, this guy who I passed on my way back to the car.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #741



I passed this guy a few weeks ago, at the San Francisco Public Library. I’d gone over to pick up the three pieces of art I’d shown as part of The Black Woman is God exhibit, curated by Karen Seneferu. It was the second incarnation of an exhibit that was at the African American Art and Culture Complex last summer. Like me he was heading toward the African American Center at the library and I watched with a little bit of envy as he disappeared into the stacks near the exhibit area. This is the first summer in a long time that I haven’t had the time to truly immerse myself in my research and writing, and the sight of him turning down a row of books made me wistful for summers past, when I could spend uninterrupted weeks in the UCB library.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #732



I met this friendly guy at the checkout counter at the grocery store. He was with a co-worker, and they were buying a few hot bar items to eat during their dinner break. It was late afternoon, and they were on their way to work a late shift at the Southwest Airlines terminal of the Oakland International Airport. It was Memorial Day weekend, a holiday weekend for the company, but they’d been called in because they’d put themselves on the list of employees who were willing to work holidays in exchange for double pay. The man in this drawing explained that he was also willing to work on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

He was friendly and eager to talk about his workplace options and the decisions he’d made. Something about his enthusiasm, his friendly smile, and his willingness to chat with a total stranger made an unforgettable subject for my latest sketchbook post.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #711


This is one of two kids I encountered during my last trip to the barber. I went to Butta Qutz on MacArthur instead of my usual Graham and Company. Both businesses have skilled barbers, but on the particular day I went to Butta Qutz, I had a spur-of-the-moment need for a cut, and I didn’t want to wait for an appointment.

This young man was sitting inside the barber shop, waiting for his friend. I have, however, chosen to depict him sitting out on the curb, since I couldn’t quite remember the layout of the inside of the shop (and I haven’t had time to go back in and look).

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #704



This happy guy had the most interesting head of locks. His hair looked a little like a hat, mostly because he had the type of incredibly low, incredibly full hairline that you rarely see on men over the age of 16. With his low hairline and high beardline, I could only see a small bit of his face clearly, as you can tell from this drawing. His eyes were big and expressive, though, and since he was one of those people who smiled with his entire face, I was able to capture a sense of him with only a few lines.

I decided to contrast the simplicity of his facial features with lots of detail and texture in his locks and facial hair.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #678


I met Roy Miles at the Alternative Press Expo, back in October. He stopped at my booth and chatted with me for a while. I explained my 1001 Black Men project, and he let me snap a photo for later use. It was only later that I would learn that he was a puppeteer, toy designer, musician, and filmmaker. Whenever we cross paths I feel energized and inspired.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#654


MacArthur Blvd., near Poppy’s Bubble Wash, Oakland, CA.


I took some artistic license with this one. Rather than depict him in the white t-shirt he was sort of wearing (in that way that some young brothas do, with one arm pushed through one of the arm holes, and the other side of the shirt pushed up around his shoulder), I just removed his shirt entirely. This enabled me simplify the color palate and emphasize the contrast between the smooth areas of color and the textured ones.

Ajuan Mance