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Work Samples

The Righteous and the Wise, and their Works are in the Hand of God

The Righteous and the Wise, and their Works are in the Hand of God
2016 Acrylic, Oil, Metal Leaf on Canvas 40"x30"

I Fear No Evil

I Fear no Evil
2016 Acrylic Oil Metal Leaf Bristol Board on Panel 12x12

Birth of a Nation

Birth of a Nation
2014 Fiber 5.5'x7.5'

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About Stephen

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Stephen Towns grew up in Lincolnville, South Carolina, a small community outside of Charleston. He earned a B.F.A from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC in 2004, and received the Ed Yaghjian Undergraduate Studio Award in 2003. Towns has displayed his work in group exhibitions in South Carolina and Maryland, notably at the Richland County Public Library and in the Piccolo Spoleto and Moja Arts Festival Juried Exhibitions. In 2003, he was awarded first prize in the Moja Arts Festival and... more

Find Me a Constellation

Find Me A Constellation delves into to lives of children who experienced American slavery. Models for the portraits were sourced from archived images of enslaved children. Because the harsh realities of slavery may be inescapable, the only way to find internal peace was through daydreaming and the stars.

Joy Cometh in the Morning

Joy Cometh in the Morning is a series of works paying homage to the enslaved blacks whose lives were lost as a result of Nat Turner's rebellion.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This series of works were inspired by James Weldon Johnson's poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which is often referred to as the "Negro National Anthem."

co|patriot

co|patriot is a collection of work inspired by Stephen Towns' readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Solomon Northrup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”, and Harriet Ann Jacob’s “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”. These classic works have helped to inform and broaden Towns’ view of the systemic oppression that has affected contemporary Black Americans. Each work of art examines the relationship Black Americans have had with their country and history, both known and lost.

co|patriot pt 2

co|patriot is a collection of work inspired by Stephen Towns' readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Solomon Northrup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”, and Harriet Ann Jacob’s “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”. These classic works have helped to inform and broaden Towns’ view of the systemic oppression that has affected contemporary Black Americans. Each work of art examines the relationship Black Americans have had with their country and history, both known and lost.

  • Unauthorized

    Acrylic, Silver Leaf on Panel. Unauthorized was created in response to the 2014 release of Army Regulation 670-1. The document banned a number of hairstyles that negatively impacted black women.
  • For the first time I am really proud of my country

    For the first time I am really proud of my country
    Acrylic, Silver Leaf on Panel Black Americans must reconcile with a troubled historical past to maintain a level of patriotism. A past where their ancestors were neither considered citizens nor human beings. This work was inspired by the statement Michelle Obama said in 2008 for which she was heavily criticized.
  • I Wish It Was That Easy

    I Wish It Was That Easy
    Acrylic, Metal Leaf on Panel. There was a long and violent history in the struggle for Black Americans to attain voting rights. Has the right to vote changed America's consciousness?
  • Freedom Papers: US Constitution

    Freedom Papers: US Constitution
    Mixed Media. Using the imagery of the minstrel show, the Freedom Papers triptych reveals the hypocrisy of America's freedom documents. These work employ the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
  • Freedom Papers: Bill of Rights

    Freedom Papers: Bill of Rights
    Mixed Media. Using the imagery of the minstrel show, the Freedom Papers triptych reveals the hypocrisy of America's freedom documents. These work employ the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
  • Freedom Papers: Declaration of Independence

    Freedom Papers: Declaration of Independence
    Mixed Media. Using the imagery of the minstrel show, the Freedom Papers triptych reveals the hypocrisy of America's freedom documents. These work employ the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

Family Quilt

Family Quilt explores the inter-connectivity of familial and ancestral relationships. I am interested in the idea of the importance of one connecting to one’s ancestral roots. Historically, African-American families were torn apart do to the slave trade. African-Americans were prohibited from learning to read or write. Family members were often purchased or sold with no regard for the "family unit." Therefore, there is the question of how does one connect to their ancestral roots if family history has been lost or unrecorded. The collection contains a series of portraits of my family members, both by blood and marriage. Each was personal explorations of my relationship to my family. The shapes and patterns in the painting were loosely based on African patterns, images of structural DNA, and fingerprints.

Brown Bag Test

These works are an exploration of the idea of "colorism" and "brown bag parties" within Black America. The concept of lighter skin tone being "more beautiful" and "desirable" is cross-cultural and exists all over the world. Castes systems developed as a result of this way of thinking. These are a series of mixed-media pieces. The portraits are both acrylic and oil paintings and the backgrounds are made up of paper grocery bags. Each subject's skin tone is being "tested" against the paper bags.

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Stephen's Curated Collection

View Stephen's favorite works from other Baker Artists