Artist Mark Cottman’s Latest Work Pays Tribute To Unsung Black Inventors

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s a history lesson wrapped into artwork.

Christie Ileto explains how a Baltimore artist is paying tribute to little known African-American inventors for Black History Month.

Each painting in Mark Cottman’s Federal Hill gallery tells a story, but his latest creation tells about 50!

The piece “African-American Inventions” is the Baltimore native’s latest invention.

It ties into Black History Month “by giving credit to some of the unsung heroes of inventions that are not really referenced in history books,” Cottman said.

In the artwork, Cottman pays tribute to black pioneering inventors like George Grant, who invented the golf tee to Henry Sampson’s invention of the cell phone.

“I wanted to hopefully get people interested in history, maybe get some young people interested in math and sciences. Hopefully some of the people who look at the piece will be able to dream they can do something extraordinary with their lives,” Cottman said.

A dream Cottman– who gave up his career as a successful architectural engineer to paint– says is today often overshadowed by the latest trends and street violence.

“I understand how they think because I grew up in Baltimore. But fortunately I had a mother who told me it was OK to dream,” Cottman said.

Cottman says he’s hoping others who see these pioneers in his painting will be to do the same.

Cottman’s latest piece is just one of many paying tribute to Black History Month.

Cottman says he thought about this piece for years before painting it.

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