This week’s BIPOC creator feature is local Phoenix-based artist Antoinette Cauley. Antoinette is a Phoenix native and studied art at Mesa Community College. She apprenticed with oil painter Chris Saper and is now known for her hip hop and urban-influenced work. Antoinette is an educator and an activist, teaching inner city youth how to paint. Her work focuses on her own internal struggles, as well as modern social issues and rap culture. Antoinette was named best local artist by AZ Foothills Magazine in 2017 and 2018 and was featured in Phoenix Magazine’s “Great 48:48 Influential People in the State of Arizona.” Her most recent project was a portrait of the late poet and novelist James Baldwin, which was transformed by Jason Harvey into a mural on the side of his Ten-O-One office building in the heart of the Roosevelt Arts District in downtown Phoenix. The installation of this mural was in response to the Black Lives Matter movement that took place earlier this year.
Antoinette’s work is colorful and striking. It plays with the public imagination of the black community in a way that exposes the fears that often come with inner city youth. Her paintings display images of young Black girls in powerful positions with dynamic juxtapositions that challenge the viewers perception on gender roles, childhood trauma and the influence of pop culture on our youth. It is a brilliant way for a black rights activist such as Antoinette, who works with inner city youth on a regular basis, to shine a light on societal misconceptions that encompass the lives of black youth.
Be sure to take a look at Antoinette’s Instagram, Twitter, and website. If you are interested in finding out more about Antoinette’s personal life and the motives behind her work, check out this interview conducted earlier this year by the Phoenix Art Museum.