Mickalene Thomas was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1971. She received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in 2000 and her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2002.
A painter and photographer, Thomas is best known for her depictions of African-American women and celebrities that grapple with themes of power, sexuality, and femininity. Drawing from inspirations such as Romare Bearden and Carrie Mae Weems and appropriating the aesthetics of Western painting tradition and 1970s blaxploitation films, she explores how black women and notions of beauty, gender, and race are both sculpted by and respond to art history and contemporary culture. Her works are often set in spaces reminiscent of her 1970s childhood and are distinctively rendered using acrylic, enamel, and rhinestones.
Thomas’ works have been featured in solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), and can also be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum (New York), and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.). She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
The artist’s work is featured in RxArt Coloring Book Between the Lines, Vol. 2.