Hasani Claxton is a artist, educator, and author 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.
He was a semifinalist for the Trawick Art Prize in 2017 and the Sondheim Art Prize in 2020. His artwork has been exhibited throughout the US, as well as in the UK and Caribbean, including the National Gallery of Jamaica. His work has appeared in the Spectrum: Fantastic Art annual, Creative Quarterly, Caribe Art Magazine and he was on the “Best of 2014” list on Afropunk.com.
He was as selected for the first cohort of the Brown Bookshelf-Highlights Foundation: Amplify Black Stories initiative in 2021 and received an Individual Artist Award in Literary Arts from the MD State Arts Council in 2022. He was a contributing author to the Anti-racist Cookbook anthology (Orca Books 2023) and his first graphic novel is scheduled for release in 2026. He is represented by the Emerald City Literary agency.
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.