Meet Our Artists of Color

Bryant Small

Bryant Small is an Award-Winning Alcohol Ink painter who lives in Jersey City, NJ and balances a social marketing and media career in New York City. Bryant has a love of culture, color and all things sparkling. In his art, he loves to tow the line of free abstraction with vibrant color blending and pushing beyond pretty. His Alcohol Ink pieces are free flowing, unpredictable and levitate from the page. Bryant is constantly creating and being inspired and sharing his work daily on Instagram.

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Emmanuel Ignatius

Emmanuel Ignatus is a digital artist based in Nairobi Kenya. His main goal since starting his art journey has always been to capture the small details of the day to day life experiences of the melaninated community. He feels that there's a part of our history that is missing and has taken on that responsibility as an artist to make sure that does not continue to happen.

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Ija Charles

Ija Charles is a self-taught painter/entrepreneur from Columbia, South Carolina. Her series range from portraits of ordinary people to a diverse sampling of symbols from our day to day culture. These images are then re-imagined and reconstructed in her own unique way. Ija plants an idea for each new work then harvests its positive vibes. Once sealed with her signature, each piece is adorned with good energy.

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Kaitlin Edwards

Kaitlin June is a full time freelance illustrator and tattoo artist who I graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Illustration in 2013. With limited digital art programs at my college, she taught herself how to work within digital painting programs. Kailtin likes to use healing and strong color palettes to communicate her emotions to the viewer. She finds inspiration in nature, color and light.

She says ”I started drawing at an early age and was fueled to draw more with a Sailor Moon obsession. From there, my interests in color, healing, and art with magical girl themes seemed to grow. I love creating works centered around curly, coily, kinky hair with a focus on color therapy and healing imagery."

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Kwanzaa Edwards

A San Antonio based painter and illustrator, Kwanzaa Edwards has been honing her skills in figurative painting since 2014. Originally an abstract painter, Kwanzaa blended her abstract style with her experience in figurative illustration bringing about a unique marriage of her skills.

Since earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Painting from Lamar University in 2014, the meaning behind Kwanzaa’s work evolved as she entered the real working world. Mental health, self acceptance and black female empowerment have been consistent topics in her work. Her characters often present an unapologetic existence in their respective universes. Fantasy plays a key role as her figures often display features that aren’t natural in this world such as colorful galaxy afros, unnatural eye colors and many other characteristics. The fantasy aspects of her work draw in the viewer letting them see not what they are outside but what magical and powerful being resides within.

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Melrick Steele

Chicago artist Melrick Steele is known for his vibrant, colorful abstract pieces. He is a self taught artist that started drawing at the age of 4. His paintings are inspired by various cultures and everyday life to produce some of the most vivid images of his style. Melrick creates a visual of work that is somewhat an urban abstract style.

In addition to painting, Melrick is a talented tattoo artist whose work has been featured in Urban Ink Magazine and in various blogs.

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Noland Anderson

Based in Florida, Noland is an uncompromising, contemporary American artist. His work is a celebration of people of color, their style, their grace and strength that has been forged through turbulent times, an ongoing legacy that still shapes American History.  

When asked about his art, Noland said: “[...]Fragments of the past find their way into the present in large scale paintings. Reliving my childhood moments of awe that seemed to stop time inspired by the living legacies of my grandfather’s generation. Capturing the dignity of my culture in the way they dressed, the way they moved; [and] the way they carried themselves with such pride and grace. Older gentlemen sporting fedora hats playing chess; Women wearing fine dresses with lace parasols out walking; those [are the] simple pleasures of everyday urban life.

I strive to search out and capture contemporary moments that are still found; which, paradoxically, [are] what our world and our media have [either] forgotten or ignored; cultural pride.

[...]The effect is to make us question not only the cultural representations of black people, but also our assumptions about how skin color defines anyone's physical characteristics and behavior.”

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Solonge & Aquabah

ASA Books is the manifestation of two women’s alignment.  

Solonge Robinson and Aquabah Gonney-Buckner are cousins by blood, but sisters in spirit, who were raised in Brooklyn, NY. They joined forces to create children's books that entertain through engaging artwork while teaching meaningful content.

Solonge’s lifelong love of writing evolved after the birth of her 2 children where she discovered reading bedtime stories each night was a magical adventure, one that would inspire her to author children's books. After a tragic fire destroyed all of her family's possessions, she committed to rebuilding their collection.

Aquabah Gonney-Buckner uses art as a vehicle for self-expression. As a Principal in Chicago, IL, Aquabah champions art as an integral part of her curriculum of change; teaching the importance of art integration into public schools.

Together, their goal is to create something beautiful in the world for children…. and ASA means beautiful.

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