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Did you know Miles Davis was also a painter?



Miles Davis is known as one of the twentieth-century’s most influential musicians and a key figure in shaping modern day jazz. However, many Miles Davis fans and admirers would be surprised to know that the pioneer was a man of many diversified talents; one of those being painting.

Miles Davis began painting and sketching in the early 1980’s when he was well into his fifties as an alternate form of artistic expression to occupy his time outside of performing. As seen above, the work he created reveals a distinct style that references African tribal artwork, the geometric and colorful style employed by artists like Pablo Picasso and Kandinsky.

“It keeps my mind occupied with something positive when I’m not playing music. I get obsessed with painting just like I get obsessed with music and everything else that I care about.” 
— The Autobiography of Miles Davis (1989)

One of the reasons Miles Davis’s artwork flew under the radar was because, despite their clear visual style and singularity, very few of his pieces were exhibited during his lifetime. Since his death in 1991, the Miles Davis Estate has been working with gallery owners, museums and private buyers to assemble a complete collection of the artist’s work.

In 2013, Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork was published with a foreword from Quincy Jones. The book is a celebration of the musical and artistic achievements of Miles Davis, and offers his fans a rare glimpse deeper into the mind of the musical and creative genius.

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