Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas in front of his installation “14,719” (photo by Ben Cort, Observer)

I was blown away by the recent Hank Willis Thomas exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. He is best known for his art which investigates commercialism, pop culture, and the ways in which African Americans are portrayed by the media. It is very powerful and compelling work. He incorporates a variety of media and material into his work including sculpture, quilting, photography, lenticular imagery and even “retroreflective” ink which reveals a different image to visitors when they use a camera flash. The installation work above depicts banners embroidered with 14,719 stars, one star for every victim of gun violence in the US in 2018. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.