Shabazz Larkin, Fragile Black Man
Shabazz Larkin is an African American Artist and Author. His practice of vandalizing photographs, overwhelming use of color and bold typography, at times feel like visual concepts better suited for the editorial section of Rolling Stone. This technique only veils Larkin’s true intention to explore societal issues of race, justice and religion. Shabazz is most known for his portraits that capture the beauty of resilience in black culture.
After a decade-long career in advertising, developing some of the world’s largest commercials, brands and media personalities, in 2017, Shabazz moved his family down to Nashville, TN where he has begun The God Speaks Project. He documents accounts of normal people about their encounters with God and posts them up as street art. Meanwhile, back in his studio, he paints portraits of black people in stark black or red skin, a kind of rebellion against the Eurocentric notions of beauty.
“My motto is: ‘BLACK JOY WINS.’ All my work reflects this idea. This rebellion against the forces that stand to oppose us. It’s not an idea that is just for black people - but for all people. Because around the world from America to Israel to South Africa - there is a movement to oppress Black people and the joy that comes from our survival. But this is a joy that cannot easily be snuffed out. And every living human has to come to grips with how they supported, silenced, ignored or amplified the global genocide of black joy.”
Most recently, Shabazz and his wife, Ashley, have turned their attention to emotionally intelligent product design. They started Larkin Art & Company to design artifacts, games and books that enrich the lives of people of color through play. Shabazz and his wife also lend their artistic abilities, as the head of content & wellness for “True Voice,” a mindfulness app built to address the unique needs of people of color.
Shabazz has recently released an illustrated reproduction of Maya Angelou’s, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” He is the author and illustrator of a few books about food justice, including “The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter.”