Mickalene Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey and lives and works in New York. One of the most influential artists today, her innovative practice has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. She is known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Not only do her masterful mixed-media paintings, photographs, films and installations command space, they occupy eloquently while dissecting the intersecting complexities of black and female identity within the Western canon. Outside of her core practice, Thomas is a Tony Awards nominated co-producer, curator, educator and mentor to many emerging artists. While embarking on her own monumental solo shows, she simultaneously curates exhibitions at galleries and museums. Thomas’s work has become an undeniable force within the contemporary art world and an indispensable inspiration to younger generations of artists. She has been awarded multiple prizes and grants, including the Pratt Institute Legends Award (2022); Rema Hort Mann Foundation 25th Anniversary Honoree (2022); Artistic Impact Award, Newark Museum (2022); Glass House 15th Anniversary Artist of the Year (2022); Yale School of Art Presidential Visiting Fellow in Fine Arts (2020); Legend in Residence Award, Bronx Museum (2020); Pauli Murray College Associate Fellow at Yale University (2020); Meyerhoff-Becker Biennial Commission at Baltimore Museum of Art (2019); Visionary Award, Pioneer Works (2019); She is the cofounder of the Pratt>FORWARD ‘Artist in the Market’ incubator for post-graduate students, and serves on the Board of the Trustees for the Brooklyn Museum and MoMA PS1.
Photo by Mickalene Thomas