12 Artists Recommended By the Renowned Nathaniel Mary Quinn & Wife Donna Augustin-Quinn

By Gabrielle Pharms, Chloe Shaar, and Destiny Randle | November 30, 2021

Acclaimed artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn and his wife, Donna Augustin-Quinn, gave us a solid list of talented artists they are fans of and subsequently follow in the art world. Get a glimpse into the artwork and background of these Quinn-approved artists below.

Marcus Jahmal

Marcus Jahmal grew up in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood, with family roots in the West Indies and southern America. His artwork is inspired by photographs, ancient rituals, and personal memories. Moreover, Jahmal seamlessly synchronizes genres, painting still life, landscape, and portraiture. The self-taught painter develops his compositions directly upon the surface of each canvas and totes the line between reality and the imaginary, bringing such scenes to life. He explores the themes of dreams, whimsical Americana, and the realities of gentrification and life in the city. - Gabrielle Pharms

Cheyenne Julien

“My work is based on personal narratives. Race is something that is inherent in all of my painting, but some works represent it more overtly than others. I think there is power in clarity, and I also think there’s power in nuance,” Cheyenne Julien told Cultured Magazine. In line with the theme of race, Julien’s paintings reflect her own experiences with racism, thus highlighting deep-running societal issues. Julien’s figures often portray illusory, exaggerated features, specifically the eyes, which evoke a blend of joy, fear, and reflection. - Gabrielle Pharms

Arcmanoro Niles

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New York-based painter Arcmanoro Niles’ choice of vibrant pinks, purples, and oranges serve as his signature in his paintings. The artwork is brought to life with the inclusion of images of friends and family in domestic settings; however, there’s one sly figure depicted throughout the portraits he calls “seekers.” These miniature seekers are “impulsive” and chase what they think will make them happy without the notion of consequences, “while the human subjects are vulnerable and more open with their feelings,” Niles mentioned to Hyperallergic. - Gabrielle Pharms

Margeret Bowland

Through her figurative paintings and pastels, Margaret Bowland creates large-scale artwork that includes young Black girls. Bowland’s work showcases deeply personal images that question our expectations of gender, race, and beauty in society. In her artist statement, Bowland says, “I feel that I am doing what the world does to my subjects, tries to obliterate them or turn them into people they are not. For me, the victory is that my people stare back at you completely whole, completely themselves.”- Gabrielle Pharms

Phyllis Stephens

What is your favorite family tradition? Likely, it’s something you’ll never grow weary of and are always excited to do. For Phyllis Stephens, her passion for traditional African quilt-making developed through her family, an art form that they’ve practiced for generations. With more than 40 years of experience, she creates rich, highly textured quilts that celebrate Black joy. She also reminisces and restores the cherished memories through her welcoming, storytelling quilts. Stephens’ latest work, A Place to Rest, showcases her version of the moment of tranquility. - Destiny Randle

Tyler Mitchell

Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell is known for capturing the beauty of Black American life and exploring the new aesthetic of Blackness. His solo exhibition, ‘An Imaginative Arrangement of the Things Before Me,’ is a body of work inspired by how Gordon Parks centered the life of a Black family in his photos. “I want to consider the significance of a proverbial domestic space not only as a site of Black life itself but also as a site where desires, longing, and collective family memory exist,” Mitchell shared. “It depicts play and contemplation, leisure, and spirituality, and invites us to consider new narratives about beauty and family.” - Destiny Randle

Calida Garcia Rawles

In 2015, Calida Garcia Rawles began bringing attention to the relationship between water, memory, and Black trauma. Water is often known as something that evokes historical slave-trade routes but also denotes healing and restoration. She connects with African Americans to heal their hearts and mind and tell their compelling story — one of hope and resilience. Her hyperrealist, glistening paintings showcase Black pain but also celebrate triumph, strength, and beauty.

The interconnectedness and complexity behind one’s life journey inspire her to create, understand, and convey those stories. In her newest work, Requiem for My Navigator, Rawles explores what it means to see and know a person, using her partner as a muse. - Destiny Randle

Genevieve Gaignard

Los Angeles-based artist Genevieve Gaignard’s work, involves collages, sculpture, photography, and installations. She uses her art as an outlet to explore racial discrimination, femininity, and class. Using mixed media, working heavily with vintage magazine cutouts, photographs, and postcards, Gaignard mixes modern images to design a contemporary piece. She creates a pastel world that highlights the glamour behind various female body types, specifically Black women, and their identities within society.

The portraits are a tribute to both her Black and white identities, using costumes inspired by housewife chic or modern streetwear looks. Her collages work with vintage floral wallpapers and cheeky images of naked women or women posing in delicate gowns. She addresses privilege and glamour within the United States in her piece White Lies, which depicts a white woman in a white ball gown in one corner and Martin Luther King waving in the opposite corner. - Chloe Shaar

Marcus Brutus

Marcus Brutus is a self-taught figurative painter whose work focuses on the culture, history, and interpersonal connections of Black people within the United States and internationally. Working primarily with acrylic paints and oils on canvases, Brutus uses vibrant colors to spotlight the Black experience while depicting various social movements and current events. He highlights figures in familiar settings such as barbershops, traffic, or living rooms while the subjects participate in specific activities such as exercising, reading, spending time with loved ones, or working.

One of Brutus’ most recent pieces, Haitian Vetiver, dives into the Haitian community’s injustices. The piece shows a Haitian farmer harvesting vetiver oil, with a Prada perfume box lingering in the background.

Brutus’ perspective is unique in how he sheds light on what it means to be Black and navigate through various economic classes through our modern society. His simplistic portraits look into everyday living as a Black person, which on the surface may look like a simple depiction with vivid colors shown but is also takes a nod at their struggle. The bright hues show the humanity of these lives and their excellence to the world around them. - Chloe Shaar

Jonathan Podwil

Brooklyn-based contemporary artist, Jonathan Podwil, paints a postmodern affectionless lens through his art. Using dark color palettes to convey his work, Podwil leaves a cool tone through his paintings to describe the state of the world, foreign affairs, and the numbness of society. While Podwil may have an intended meaning behind his work, he leaves the message to the viewer’s interpretation. Using his analysis of various photographs and film stills, he transports the observer to an almost hallucinogenic headspace.

In his Untitled (Dictator) piece, a blurry figure - which takes up most of the canvas - is seated amid an all-red background. Although the figure is blurry, you can see their dominance over the setting, much like the leading power of modern-day politics. Podwil is skilled at nodding at modern-day affairs and the more soloistic society many believe we are headed. - Chloe Shaar

M. Florine Démosthène

Using multimedia and collage, M. Florine Démosthène depicts ethereal dystopian characteristics. Her figures feature the Black female body as an amalgam of experiences based on sensuality. Démosthène’s alluring works draw the observer into a dreamlike world that dances on the boundary between reality and daydreams. - Gabrielle Pharms

Vernando Reuben

Brooklyn-based artist Vernando Reuben’s primary artwork consists of mixed media, digital compositions, and portraitures. Reuben is largely self-taught, however, he briefly attended Miami’s International University of Art and Design. His use of vivid lineations and texture create masterful pieces drawing the viewer into Reuben’s consideration of “various narratives around the body in various phases of adornment and undress,” he mentions in his artist statement. He adds, “Through sharp glares and sentient eyes, glowing orifices unnerve the spectator while challenging authority and prevailing social orders. My subjects are intentionally otherworldly, complicated, and queer.” - Gabrielle Pharms