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

“My name is Thelonious Stokes. I am from the south side of Chicago, Illinois, born in 1995. I came to oil painting when I was 17 years old, and I was able to privately train with a man in Chicago until I was 21. I grew up in a tense environment, painting became the medium through which I could express myself. I remember I used to go to the Art Institute of Chicago every day to look at masterpieces and take inspiration from them.”

“Christ on Cross; Crucifixion; Black Death
Spectacle”, 2021
Oil on Canvas, Dressed in Golden Frame
244×122 cm
“The 4Horseman”, 2023
Oil on Canvas

“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.”

“Tired of being a Nigger; Champion Of A Fowl;
Crossroads red ribbons and chalk lines”, 2023
Oil on Linen
200×150 cm

“Through my work, I want to investigate and challenge social conventions. In my “Education Series,” you will see several references that intend to integrate stereotypes of feminity, masculinity, social pressure, rules, and definitions that oppress us.”

“3 Kings, 1 Chain”, 2022
Oil on Canvas

“Jopheal Aisha”, 2022
Oil on canvas

“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.”

“Self Portrait as David”, 2023
Oil on Canvas
270×200 cm

“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.”

“The Devil’s Pie; My giant self in the benevolent factor of Mother Nature, diverse on a little pink table with the whispering moan of the Sahara.”, 2023
Oil on Canvas
200×150 cm
“Cropped Annunciato” 2022
Oil on Canvas

The Center


The Drama of NollyBabes