As a Black father, EuGene V Byrd III has set out to create pieces that reflect the most important source of inspiration in his life — his daughter.
Work in Progress: A Honest Look at Fatherhood addresses issues rooted in centuries of slavery, systematic racism, mass incarceration, and unemployment, while also giving a personal look into the struggles Byrd III has had during his own fatherhood journey (including maintaining a healthy relationship with the mother of his child and understanding the evolving space of gender norms). His work also explores his own experience as a son, and the effect having a father who didn’t always have time to spend with him had on his later role as a parent.
Each painting in the series represents a moment frozen in time, capturing an experience or emotion that comes with being a father and will be public from the beginning of the work until the end. By sharing the work-in-progress of each piece, Byrd III hopes to mirror the work-in-progress mentality fathers should take on — embracing vulnerability, learning from failure, prioritizing progress over perfection, and celebrating the process.
This work is about redefining what art means to Byrd III, while also teaching others to embrace that we are all works in progress and we can continue to grow and improve every step of the way.
EuGene Vidal Byrd III was born in Wichita, Kansas. The last of three children born to Ella Mae and EuGene Byrd Jr. from the dirt country roads of Okmulgee and Tulsa, Oklahoma, respectively.
EuGene’s ancestry had an immeasurable impact on the man he has become and the work he does.
Growing up with lineage from Tulsa, home to the prestigious Black Wall Street, EuGene was surrounded by exceptionalism, being exposed at an early age to leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs, and more that looked like him. His mother’s native ancestry and Okmulgee origins have also inspired EuGene to learn more and tell the very real stories of Black Natives.
As a child, EuGene found his passion for art through his love of comic books and 70s album covers. His mother, an interior decorator and artist, always nurtured and encouraged EuGene’s artistic journey. Following the deaths of his sister and mother, EuGene committed to pursuing art full-time and has been ever since.
After high school, EuGene moved to Atlanta to connect more with his Southern roots. He studied graphic design at SCAD, receiving his BFA in 2002. He then worked as a graphic designer/creative director for 15+ years for companies like Timberland, Worldpay, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney, and oversaw signage branding for Miami-Dade and Dubai international airport projects.
In 2016, he left his job as a designer and stepped out on faith to pursue his art career full-time. EuGene founded Future Dead Artists and opened FUTURE GALLERY in 2018. FUTURE GALLERY grew to become a platform to mentor artists/curators, featuring over 300 artists during 30+ art exhibits, selling over $300k in art, and becoming a major part of Atlanta’s art financial ecosystem.
EuGene draws inspiration from life experiences and people around him, illustrating quintessential aspects of the Black experience to preserve Black culture and tell stories that are often overlooked or demonized. He also focuses on the intersectionality of Black and Native culture, an area which he feels has been severely misrepresented and underacknowledged. The style and themes portrayed in his art can best be described as realism and romantic. EuGene believes that art inspires us, brings us together, and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. He continues his path of self-discovery through art.