Today I wanted to showcase a few Black artists whose work I really admire. For as long as art has existed, it’s been an essential tool of resistance. It helps us see and understand another person (or culture)’s perspective. Art has a means of evoking powerful emotions and with that, it can help to change both mindsets and perspectives. This post really just scratches the surface, there are SO many incredible artists out there to follow and support but today I’m sharing six that I personally love. (I will be doing more artist roundups, if this is something you enjoy… I personally really love learning about art and finding new artists to follow and support.)
Another resource I wanted to highlight is Kimberly Drew’s book, This is What I Know About Art. I ordered it this week (though it’s currently backordered) as I really want to learn more about the link between art and protest. Throughout history, artists have played such a vital role in both political and social history – I want to know more about that! I bought it as her book draws on her personal experience through art toward activism… it sounds really interesting.
The piece above is by Delita Martin (learn more about her below). It’s a portrait of her grandmother. I love the way that she layers her work… painting some parts of the painting to be translucent to overlap with each other… especially the prints.
Black Box Press // Delita Martin
A reader introduced me to Delita’s work and I became instantly obsessed. She is based in Texas and her work is BEAUTIFUL. From her website: “Martin’s current work deals with reconstructing the identity of Black womenby piecing together the signs, symbols, and language found in what could be called everyday life from slavery through modern times. Martin’s goal is to create images as a visual language to tell the story of women that have often been marginalized, offering a different perspective of the lives of Black women.”
Follow Delita on Instagram here, and spend some time perusing her work on her website. You can also support her by purchasing her beautiful book, Shadows in the Garden. Also! Consider purchasing a print from her shop (these just launched very recently to benefit her Art as Activism fund. There are only 100 of each print, all signed.)
Malice Point // Célia Agboloto
My friend Lydia featured Malice Point’s portrait of Grace Jones and my jaw dropped to the floor – it took my breath away. Her work is stunning. She is a French portrait artist and uses pointillism, a technique of paints using small, distinct dots of color to form a larger image. In her words, she is passionate about dots and BEAUTY.
She has a very cool backstory and career. She discovered the dowries when she was a tattoo artist back in 2009 and has changed them on canvas and the skin. She’s now a dermographer of tattooing, specializing in hair pigmentation used to camouflage baldness and alopecia using small dots, as well as the reconstruction of the breast areola for women who have undergone mastectomies.
Michelle Robinson // Mister Michelle
I would really like to invest in an original piece of Seattle-based artist Michelle Robinson’s work this year. I have no idea if I can afford it (there are no prices on the website, from what I can tell?) But when I saw the above piece (Chateau Ecstacy – it’s long been sold), I just… fell in love?
Gorgeous, geometric, sometimes metallic pieces using strong lines (and in my favorite colors). I don’t want to play favorites in my round-ups but I can’t help it with this one! She also sells prints + pillow covers and has a beautiful instagram account. She will be selling prints of her Prevail piece (below!) SOON. I will be sure to share when those goes live!
Bleu Byrdie / Élan Byrd
A reader introduced me to Élan’s work and I instantly fell in love.. I mean, you know I love my palms and beachy things. Her prints are surprisingly affordable, mostly at $30 or 40 each for a signed print. A few of my personal favorites are Beach Gal, Paradise Palms (above right), and Luna (above left!). I love her instagram page as well, and she has a second shop under her name selling collages, original art, raffia pieces, and more!
I discovered “Innocent You, Innocent Me”, (2016) from the @kidsarthistory account. Baltimore-based Amy Sherald is probably best known for her portrait of Michelle Obama (read more about that here!), which is currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery! Follow Amy on Instagram here, and check out her website.
You’ve probably seen (Brooklyn-based!) Kehind Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama. I really love how he paints his portrait subjects against such vibrant, colorful patterned backdrops. You can learn more about him on his website and also watch his appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he talks about what it was like painting Obama. I thought it was so interesting how the flowers are all from parts of Obama’s life. Follow Kehinde on Instagram.