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Celebrating Black History Month UK: Stacey-Ann Cole

Celebrating Black History Month UK: Stacey-Ann Cole

October is Black History Month in the UK. Throughout the month, we'll be spotlighting the voices of four Black artists from around the world, showcasing their work, discussing their inspiration, experiences as an artist and the hurdles they may have faced during their career.

Today, we speak to UK-based artist, designer and illustrator, Stacey-Ann Cole. Stacey-Ann's work is driven by her desire to create Afro-Caribbean centred art and make it readily available to the everyday art lover.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how long you have been on Artfinder?

I am a self-taught watercolour artist living and working in the UK and I primarily paint colourful images of Black women. These paintings often focus on women who are proudly wearing their natural afro hair, which some of us Black women have a complicated relationship with. I have been on Artfinder since 2015 and in the last several years, I have branched out into creating abstract art too. Abstract art allows me to explore pattern, texture, shape and colour without necessarily feeling the need to depict anything realistic. Within both my portraits and abstract pieces, I enjoy experimenting with a variety of media and sometimes there is an overlap where some abstract elements find their way into my portraits.

What inspires you as an artist?

I am inspired by all the Black women I see around me in real life and online. Their art and creativity (whether in film, music, writing etc.), sense of style, resilience, beauty, intelligence and vulnerability. I paint Black women to encourage us not to accept being made to feel like we are 'other' or 'less than'. So that, despite messages to the contrary all around us, we believe in our worth and that we deserve to be as seen as everyone else. Overall I'm inspired to paint because I believe that Black art and the work of Black artists, should be much more visible and accessible in the world. So I just keep creating my work. There is a long road ahead but I can see some little shifts happening.

Have you faced any challenges through the course of your career?

Yes, I have faced challenges in terms of the battle between artistic satisfaction and authenticity vs. running a business and earning a living. There is so much conflicting advice out there about how to be a successful artist, that when I'm floundering, I have to keep coming back to what I decide is my own definition of success. Back to why I started creating and sharing my art in the first place. That's what motivates me to keep going as well as the positive feedback I receive from viewers of my work.

Do you some words of advice for our readers?

In the midst of all the chaos and the noise, keep the focus on your why. I think this can be applied to many things in life.

Cover image via Stacey-Ann Cole

Discover more Black artists and their work:

Stephanie Unaeze, Clement Mohale, Afekwo Nnachi, Habib Hajallie, Tasia Graham, Mikéla Henry-Lowe

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