“ My name is Anthony Young Jr. I am a visual artist based out of Prince George’s County Maryland. I was born in 1991 and my interest in art started as early as pre-school. My influences started at home with my mother being a baker and my father being a huge fan of American sports. Growing up, my mother baked and decorated cakes as a side hustle. Her artistry was with the icing. She would make birthday cakes or celebratory cakes for friends, family, and clients. I would watch her create and paint images using the different nozzles for decorating cakes. She also had an interest in drawing, and I remember being fascinated with the portraits she had made. My father had me interested in sports at a very young age. My earliest drawings were of American football and basketball players. For years I would draw pictures from sports magazines and books from the library. Ultimately, I ended up merging the two interests of my parents into a fun hobby for many years.
Although art was very special to me, I never thought of it as something that I could make a career out of. I put much of my focus into playing football in my early years. I played for a team every fall through the ages of 9-21. My love for playing football was my main motivation for going to college. I attended Frostburg State University, located in Western Maryland, from 2009-2013. This is where I was given the opportunity to explore my interest with art even further. I ended up graduating from there with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a dual focus in Illustration and Painting. While in school, I was able to explore the use of many different artistic mediums such as color pencils, watercolor, acrylic, and oil painting. I took a huge liking to what oil paint was able to achieve visually over the other mediums, so I primarily paint using oils.
Ever since graduating from college, I have been on my artistic journey discovering my different interests in subject matter and trying to find out what I want my art to visually convey. My will to create began through the challenge of imitation. I always wanted to draw or paint with the intention of creating an image as true to the actual source as possible. As I have improved my skill of imitation or “realism” over the years, I allowed myself to focus on creating images where I could deconstruct or break the rules that come with recreating images from life. I’ll incorporate my own color schemes and add surreal elements into my compositions. I also explore different painting techniques to add additional visual effects to my artwork. My art generally focuses on painting black people and highlighting our beauty. I will take inspiration from images I see of black people and create paintings with exaggerated colors and features. I imagine that I will continue to evolve this style as I grow as an artist and as a person. I have plenty of concepts and ideas still baking in my brain. As I continue to gain more knowledge, I plan to create artwork that can depict my vision of black culture in America and also art that can resonate with my people and other cultures as well. Objective artwork is what I do primarily, but I often like to decompress and create subjective/abstract paintings too. So along with using art as a conduit to create beautiful images or tell stories, it’s also important for me to create art derived from feelings, emotions, or randomness.
Over the last several years, I’ve had several opportunities to display my art in exhibitions and art shows in DC. My first year showcasing my work in public was in 2016 where I participated in a show at Culture House DC, formerly known as the Blind Whino. I’ve participated in three Pancakes & Booze shows since 2017. From those shows, I was able to connect with other artists and art advocates who presented me with more opportunities to share my work. I’ve worked with Creative Juices, a pop up art experience in the area. In 2021, I was a part of “Include” an art exhibition located at “The Yard” in SW DC. Later that year, I participated in “Art All Night” and live painted at Eastern Market in DC with a TV spot on NBC Washington. I also had a couple of my paintings hanging in an art gallery on 7th St in DC. A few months after that, I had my first solo exhibition at Culture Coffee Too in NE DC. I’ve painted 3 murals since 2021. My first one located in a hallway at a KIPP public charter school in NE DC. I worked with Artbae being a part of a project creating a mural for a selfie museum located at Pentagon City Mall. In Spring of 2022, I worked with GoodArtFam to create an outdoor mural at Whittier Elementary School in NE DC. I have also been a paint instructor for PaintSipENT since 2021. Outside of this, I do custom commissions per request.”