Art by diverse creatives has always been uniquely able to capture our experiences. Samson Tonton is one to keep on your radar!
By: Inayah Moore & Nyasia Almestica
"I just want to paint."
When you meet Haitian-American artist Samson Tonton he'll tell you that immediately. A lifelong artist, his style is cubism– a square form of painting that evokes raw, blunt emotion using sharp edges. Saturated colors and purposeful brush stokes add to the painting's intentionality which, for some of the works, can be very confrontational.
Sometimes his work keeps him up for nights on end, foregoing food until the painting in his head is finally on the canvas.
"For me, I can completely forget to eat," he said laughing.
When it comes to his style, he shirks comparisons to Pablo Picasso, another famous painter who utilized cubism, saying that the style didn't originate with him.
"This is a much, much older style that has African origins and so I do want people to know more about art history and perhaps my paintings can spark an interest," he explained.
And with recent gallery showings and major displays, Tonton is actually in a minority for Black artists.
In 2019, Blavity published an article with findings of a study by Williams College illustrating the lack of diversity in US museums. The study found that most US art museums only show art created by White men or women. Researchers discovered that only 1.2% of art in US museums is produced by Black artists, the lowest of any race. The absence of Black art in museums highlights the underrepresentation of Black artists.
"I want to be in more museums, I want to do more showings," Tonton said. "I'm excited to see how the industry transforms over the coming decade and to play a big part in that is very exciting."