Mickalene Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. One of the most influential artists in the world today, her innovative practice has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. She is known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Not only do her masterful mixed-media paintings, photographs, films and installations command space, they occupy eloquently while dissecting the intersecting complexities of black and female identity within the Western canon.
Outside of her core practice, Thomas is a Tony Award nominated co-producer, curator, educator and mentor to many emerging artists. Apart from her own monumental solo shows, she simultaneously curates exhibitions at galleries and museums and collaborates with corporations and luxury brands. In addition to an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art (2018) and a United States Artists Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow (2015), she has been awarded multiple other prizes and grants, including the Pratt Institute Legends Award (2022); Rema Hort Mann Foundation 25th Anniversary Honoree (2022); Artistic Impact Award, and more.
Thomas is also the Co-Founder of SOULAS House, a cultural hub and retreat for Black women, the Co-Founder of Pratt>FORWARD and founder of Art>FORWARD Artist in the Market incubator for post-graduate students.