Ernest “Ernie” Eugene Barnes, Jr. (July 15, 1938 – April 27, 2009) was an African-American painter, well known for his unique style of elongation and movement. He was also a professional football player, actor and author. Ernie Barnes' involvement with art began at an early age, like most gifted adult artists. However, when he reached high school his creative endeavors were temporarily detoured in his determination to become a successful athlete. In part this was a response to the demands of peer pressure which can be so strong at that age. He graduated from his high school a hero and star football player, and with 26 full athletic scholarships to choose from. He chose North Carolina Central University and a major in art. After college he continued in an illustrious professional athletic career, but never let his love for football overshadow his love for art. Football gave him an enormous satisfaction of achievement, of being able to do something extremely difficult, and do it well. Art, however, allowed him the privilege to interpret for the public his concepts of the relationship between art and life.