Citizen

Thelonious Stokes, an Introduction

Thelonious Stokes, an Introduction

In his own words and works, oil painter, Thelonious Stokes, describes his path to painting and the purpose and meanings that drive him

Text by and all images courtesy of

Thelonious Stokes

I want to reconfigure the collective understanding of the saintly, the holy, the virtuous—disrupt what we have become accustomed to believing these things look like.

Growing up in a tense environment [on Chicago's south side], painting became the medium through which I could express myself.

I decided that if I wanted to open up the technology of oil painting and push my painting technique to the next level, I had to move to Italy...[There] I was the only Black man in the space navigating this exclusive community of European oil painting.

As an artist, every piece of art that I’ve produced can be considered an apotheosis, combining African influence and Westernized Christian influence—the future of figuration.

Ultimately, I intend to become the greatest painter of my generation, and I’ll continue to paint at the highest level, strive to deliver the greatest presentation on planet earth.