The fields of music, literature, and art have long seen Black people at the forefront of creative expression. They have used their talents and ingenuity to overcome obstacles, break barriers, and create new opportunities for themselves and others. NJI’s crew chose to amplify the work of Black illustrators, designers, and artists that inspire us to challenge the status quo. Learn more about the trailblazing activists we have previously explored.
Known for her vibrantly stunning quilted portraits, Bisa Butler creates textile art that captivates viewers around the world. Butler recently was awarded a Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship and will be exhibiting in Switzerland during Art Basel this June with the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery.
“She highlights strong topics in a vibrant way and inspires me to speak out about tough subjects without fear,” shares NJI Senior Graphic Designer Ed Silva. “To make a message impactful, it has to be delivered in an interesting or unusual way.”
Kervin Brisseaux is an NYC-based, first-generation Haitian-American creative director and illustrator. His work for Vault49, New Balance, Complex, MTV, Adobe, JBL, Apple, and ESPN incorporates influences from fashion, music, anime, and other facets of pop culture.
Alex Sundara, NJI Graphic Designer expresses, “I love his futuristic illustration style filled with bright oranges, yellows, and black. Brisseaux inspires me to pursue my dreams without worrying about society’s expectations of success.”
Brand designer, lettering artist and photographer Cymone Wilder creates custom lettering artwork for established brands, books, apparel, and much more. She is passionate about building a community so like minded creatives can excel in the industry. She draws her inspiration from current social affairs and the Black experience.
“Wilder has an amazing technique of bringing realness and texture into her art, and I’ve loved exploring a similar process in my own work,” Bebhinne Jennings, NJI Graphic Designer.
Known for his unique style that combines elements of collage, surrealism, and motion animation, Troy Browne creates visually striking design work. “I love seeing creatives breathe new life into old techniques,” shares Glen Swart, NJI Senior Graphic Designer. “Troy takes collage into digital tools and produces beautiful surreal pieces and portraiture.”
Advocating for diversity and inclusivity in design, Tré Seals addresses the racial disparity in designers. Seals breaks through the monotony with a collection of inspiring typography reflective of the African diaspora. “His perseverance, courage, and ambition leave me wanting to take nothing for granted,” declares Dale Campell, NJI Art Director. “I learned that standing up for what is right, cutting through the noise, and doing what you love as a means to effect positive change can be the most rewarding thing you do.”
Legendary fashion pioneer, actress, and painter Ruby Bailey was a true triple threat. Her beadwork and African-influenced garments broke into the mainstream and forever altered it, introducing a nascent idea of Afrocentric art and design. “She knew that both racism and sexism were against her pursuits, but she refused to water down her inspiration or make it more palatable for the elitist fashion world at the time,” Kara Mask, NJI Global Vice President, Creative.
Black artists have the power to bring important social and political issues to the forefront of public consciousness. Through their work, they can challenge dominant narratives, shed light on marginalized communities, inspire empathy and spark meaningful conversations. Next we share stories of writers and musicians who have inspired our work