Assistant Professor, Art
Clayton Lang is a native of Washington, DC, and is a graduate of the DC public schools. He attended Ohio University in Athens, OH, and Howard University in Washington, DC, where he earned Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees respectively. While studying at Howard, he began to explore working with leather as an art medium. He became intrigued with leather because it allowed him to combine his dual interests of color (painting) and form (sculpture). Creating leather forms became the focus of his master's dissertation. He began by creating leather heads that were reminiscent of Afro-Carolinian face vessels or monkey pots that were created by African slaves. Ironically, he was unaware of these early forms and similar forms found in Africa. Lang went on to create other two- and three-dimensional forms from leather that expressed his changing concepts of spirit. After graduation, Lang began to exhibit these works in several galleries and universities, primarily on the East Coast.
For a brief period in the early eighties, Lang worked as a graphic artist for a division of McGraw-Hill Publishers, where he learned about the printing industry. He remained employed there until the plant closed and relocated to Atlanta, GA. During the 1990s in response to a growing movement of wearable art, Lang began to design and produce a line of wearable art accessories for men and women. He designed a line of leather jewelry and was represented by the Krueger Gallery in New York City. His signature technique of cutting and layering leather was dubbed "Stratified Leather". After enjoying a period of success at the Krueger Gallery, Lang collaborated with nationally known artist Marvin Sin and went on to design and produce a line of African-inspired handbags, wallets, briefcases, and portfolios that he began to market independently in DC, New York, and Chicago.
In 1984, Lang's works were exhibited at the International Leather Conference at the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design in Winston-Salem, NC. That conference showcased some of the most creative and innovative leather artists from around the world. Lang's works were included in the collections of the National Afro-American Museum, the Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, the Coach Leather collection in New York, NY, as well as with several private collections.
Lang became a regular exhibitor at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and the Baltimore Festivals of the Arts' "Artscape" during the 1990s. In 1993, he was invited to participate in the landmark craft exhibition "Uncommon Beauty in Common Objects" organized by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, OH. This exhibition traveled to several venues across the United States including the American Craft Museum in New York and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.
In 1985, he began to share his varied experiences as a working artist by teaching students at the University of the District of Columbia. That began a teaching career that has spanned over 15 years and includes working with students at Prince George's Community College and the Howard County Community College. Lang joined the faculty of Bowie State University in 2002 and teaches a variety of studio courses which include ceramics, painting, printmaking, crafts, and art history.
In the earlier part of 2003, Lang was selected to participate in the Arts in Embassy program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. His works are to be included in a forthcoming contemporary exhibition of leather artists at the U.S. Embassy in Niger, Africa.
Office: MLK Communication Arts Bldg. RM 201