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Contemporary Color: Celebrating Black Artists

Over the past year the Great Big Canvas curation team has made great strides in expanding our social awareness and, in turn, expanding our Art collection to include captivating imagery from more diverse points of view. This is Part Three of our three-part series to highlight unique perspectives from Black artists coinciding with the celebration of Black History Month 2021.

"Your job is to tell your story. Your story has to come out of your life, your environment, who you are, where you come from." - Faith Ringgold

Modern art has moved beyond the world of abstraction or realism. Today’s trends are inspired by evolving forms of collage, surrealism, pop art, and explosive color. Artists are blending digital and  traditional techniques to create incredible pieces that would be impossible just a few decades back. In the final part of our Black History Month series, we’re surfacing Black artists who are experimenting with form and color to create modern, imaginative work:

two very bright figurative portraits made through a combination of mixed media and digital painting
Left: Amber Sun Right: Marche by Erin K Robinson

Erin K Robinson

Erin K. Robinson is an artist and illustrator, based in New York, and creative visionary behind Brooklyndolly Art. Brooklyndolly is inspired by women of color & all their beautiful shades. Erin’s daydreamy style is inspired by the color, texture, and shape of Brooklyn NYC. Along with creating art prints, Erin has illustrated multiple books and magazines. You can stay connected with her work as Brooklyndolly on Instagram.

Side by side mixed media collage and digital paintings of Black women in colorful floral prints
Left: Woman Strong I Right: Her Love by Alonzo Saunders
collaged scene of African plains made with scans of mud cloth
Plains of Africa by Alonzo Saunders

Alonzo Saunders

Alonzo Saunders spent his childhood and youth working on art, eventually turning it into a permanent career. His work is a study in balanced composition, reveling in color and texture while carefully depicting subjects with an insightful appearance. He’s noted for his distinctive versatility and style, and he believes that the artistic expression and freedom of the African-American soul are portrayed in his creations.

Three brightly colored digital typographic sentiments that express positivity
Top Left: All You Need I Bottom Left: Heart and Mind II Right: Kind People I by Gia Graham

Gia Graham

Gia Graham is a graphic designer and hand lettering artist, born in Barbados and based in Atlanta. As an island girl living in an urban world, her work has evolved to uniquely merge these opposing cultural aesthetics which results in modern design enlivened with lush florals, foliage and a keen eye for color. Above all, Gia loves to design art that has a sense of joy and connection with her audience. Check out our interview with Gia from last fall here.

Side by side expressive portraits created with acrylics
Left: Lee Morgan Right: Alala by Darius Quarles
Painting that depicts a part of the slave trade, a man pulling a group of African people using a rope
The Facilitator by Darius Quarles

Darius Quarles

Southern native Darius Quarles is a painter and mural artist whose work splits the difference between the surreal and real. After serving in the US Navy, Darius studied color theory at the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA and decided to pursue his dream. His portrait work shows off his eye for color, skillfully incorporating unusual color schemes to create vivid, memorable work.

side by side brightly colored acrylic paintings depicting a snake with lips and a collage of alternating portraits
Left: Lipstick Rattlesnake Right: Girls In Color by Bouffants and Broken Hearts
contemporary living interior with bright modern art hung over a pink couch
Left: Green Coat Right: Glam Cat by Bouffants and Broken Hearts

Bouffants and Broken Hearts

Based in Philadelphia, PA, Bouffants and Broken Hearts is the explosively colorful brand of artist Kendra Dandy. With a style and voice that is uniquely her own, Kendra’s designs are bright, young, original, and cheerful. Each illustration provokes a conversation and is refreshingly unexpected—from seductively winking fries to leopards strutting bright red pumps—taking the audience on a whimsical and fun journey.

Bold color is a hot trend in both art and home décor this season! Find inspiration on how to style some of these artist’s pieces or share how you’ve incorporated diverse art into your home over on Instagram @greatbigcanvas.

For more in our Black History Month series discover diverse new art in these articles: Traditional Portraiture | Modern Abstracts