Artist StatementAs a child I was always been fascinated by stories of swords and sorcery, such as King Arthur and Lord of the Rings. It was not until adulthood that I noticed that African people were conspicuously absent from this genre, in art, film, as well as literature. My artwork remedies their absence, telling the forgotten stories of the kings, queens, warriors and everyday people of the kingdoms of medieval Africa. By nature I am a realist and figurative painter. Oil paints attracted me because they were the medium of choice for the great classical realists. When painting my primary figures, I build up several layers of translucent oil paint, capturing the vibrant glow of human skin. In contrast, the non-figurative elements of my paintings are usually done in one sitting, relying on spontaneous, expressive brushstrokes. My work has been influenced by Jean Leon Gerome’s depictions of life in the Ancient Rome and the Islamic world and Howard Terpning’s paintings showing Native American history and culture.
Hasani Claxton was raised on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. He always had a passion for art but had never met a successful, professional artist on his little island. He thus never considered art as a viable career option. He moved to Atlanta, GA in 1995 to attend Morehouse College and earned a Bachelor’s in business administration in 1999. He went on to earn law degree from Columbia University in New York in 2003.
While serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx he took evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and in 2005 decided to pursue his passion full time. He studied Illustration at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where his art was selected for the Spring Show in 2008. He earned his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 2009 and later that year attended the Illustration Master Class at Amherst College.
His commissions have included a mural for an installation at the Carolina Children’s Museum in Puerto Rico & an album cover for Austrian indie band Ray Childish, as well as private portrait and mural commissions. In 2012 his art was selected for the Black Art In America Juried show at the Harlem Fine Arts Show. He currently resides in Towson, Maryland.