Hasani Claxton is a artist, educator, and author. Originally from St. Kitts, West Indies, he currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
He studied Business Management at Morehouse College (1999) and Law at Columbia University (2003). While serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, he began taking evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In 2005, he decided to pursue his passion full time and enrolled in Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he earned a BFA in illustration in 2009. He went on to get an MFA in Studio Art from Towson University in 2017.
His commissions have included book illustrations, album covers, portraits, and murals. His artwork has been exhibited in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean, including the National Gallery of Jamaica. He was on Afropunk.com’s “Best of 2014” list and his work has appeared in Spectrum and Creative Quarterly.
Towson University, Master of Fine Arts, Studio Art (2017)
Honors and Awards: Terminal Degree Fellowship; Omicron Delta Kappa; Graduate Students Association Research Award
Academy of Art University, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Illustration (2009)
San Francisco, CA
Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctor (2003)
New York, NY
Honors and Activities: Columbia Human Rights Law Review; Charles Evans Hughes Fellow, Human Rights Internship Program; Teaching Fellow; Civil Rights Law Society, Board Member; Rightslink, Research Supervisor
Morehouse College, Bachelor of Arts, Business Management, magna cum laude (1999)
Honors and Awards: Golden Key National Honor Society; Beta Gamma Sigma; Departmental Honors
Summer Exhibition, group show, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, JA (2019)
We the People, group show, The Gallery at CCBC, Catonsville, MD (2017)
Washington Project for the Arts Auction Gala, curated by Deana Haggag, President & CEO, United States Artists, Uline Arena, Washington, DC (2017)
Points of Departure, group show, New Mexico State University Art Gallery, Las Cruces, NM (2015)
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art Masquerade Ball, group show, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY (2015)
Crossing Channels, group show, Matthew Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, Scotland (2015)
Strokes of Genius, group show, Circle Gallery, Annapolis, MD (2014)
Unsung, group show, Downtown Cultural Arts Center, Baltimore, MD (2014)
Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Semifinals, group show, International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC (2013)
Solo Show, National Gallery, St Kitts, West Indies (2013)
Black Art in America Benefit, group show, Getaway Gallery, New York, NY (2013)
Black Art In America Juried Exhibition, group show, Harlem Fine Arts Show, New York, NY (2012)
Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Volume 26.
Creative Quarterly Magazine, Volume 44.
Tip Jordan, “Hasani Claxton’s African Fantasy Art: Portraits of Imagination,” Afropunk, February 11, 2014.
LECTURES / NOTABLE
Creative Mornings, Baltimore, MD 2016
Gave lecture on the lack of diversity in children’s media and how it influences the self-esteem of children of color.
The Contemporary Artist Retreat, Baltimore, MD 2016
One of 50 artists selected for The Contemporary Museum of Baltimore’s 3-day, intensive professional development retreat.
Towson University, Towson, MD 2015
Guest Lecturer, Dr. J. Susan Issacs’ course on Race and Gender in Contemporary Art: Gave a presentation on the lack of the diversity in Sci-Fi / Fantasy and Comics as it relates Pop Art and Pop Surrealism.
TEACHING AND RELATED EXPERIENCE
Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
Adjunct Professor: Teach Introduction to Drawing, Life Drawing, 2D Design, an introductory course in composition and color theory, and Conceptual Thinking in Drawing and Illustration, an upper level course on illustration and sequential art.
Towson University, Towson, MD
Adjunct Professor: Taught 2D Process and Drawing for Non-Majors, introductory courses in observational drawing that includes still life, linear perspective and portrait drawing.
Fall 2014-Spring 2016
Graduate Assistant, MFA Office: Assisted in the administration of MFA Program including scheduling midterm and final reviews, processing applications, grant writing and drafting the MFA Program Self Study for the University of Maryland System’s 2017 Program Review. Devised and helped establish the Gallery Exchange Program.
Fall 2014-Fall 2015
Teaching Assistant, Foundations Program: Taught lessons and critiqued students in Drawing from Observation. Critiqued students in Experimental Directions and Senior Project. Advisor to the Student Leader Committee for the Senior Exhibition. Curated and installed the Foundations Program Exhibition.
Towson University Summer Art Camp, Towson, MD
Camp Counselor: supervised groups of children, ages 6 to 14, and provided guidance and assistance on art projects.
Graduate School U.S.A. (Formerly Southeastern University), Washington, D.C.
Fall 2012 – Spring 2014
Adjunct Professor: Taught Introduction to Law for Paralegals and Legal Research I. Topics covered include the American Legal System, sources of law, legal research, writing and analysis, ethics, client interviews and case investigations.
Operation Future, St. Kitts, West Indies
Art Teacher: Taught acrylic painting workshop for the rehabilitation program at Her Majesty’s Prison. Topics included color theory and atmospheric perspective.
The Just Kids Partnership / Community Law In Action, Baltimore, MD
Art Teacher: Designed & taught visual arts workshops at Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center & a community self-portrait workshop at Saint Francis Academy Community Center. The finished paintings were displayed at a Youth Arts Night at the Creative Alliance during National Youth Justice Month.
Land and Liberation: Lessons for the Creation of Effective Land Reform Policy in South Africa, Volume 8, Michigan Journal of Race and Law, page 529.
A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, 5th ed. Supplement, Chapter 10: Using Article 440 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law to Attack Your Unfair Conviction or Illegal Sentence.
My paintings and sculptures highlight the individuality of Black people — a luxury often denied to us in Western society. My work is concerned with subcultures that defy popular conceptions of Blackness: Black nerds, punk rockers, bohemians, among others. Similarly, my work disregards cultural expectations, finding inspiration in Japanese anime and manga, as well as American comics. I merge the eccentric visual language of these mediums with realist painting and sculpture, thus blurring the lines between realism and surrealism, between popular culture and fine art. Each work presents a crossover of ideas, affirming that culture is itself an infinitely malleable medium.