Hank Willis Thomas looking to the camera

Hank Willis Thomas

Layering history and image to show that anything is possible when motivated by love.

“Love is the most effective educational tool of all.”

For Hank Wilis Thomas, art is a means to visualise a message. Moving through sculpture, photography, film and installation, he uses an archive-led approach largely inspired by his mother, photographer and art historian Deborah Willis. He often appropriates pre-existing ephemera from sport and popular culture into his work. Verve (2017) and Visa (2017) for example, rework football jerseys and priso...

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Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist born in 1976 in Plainfield, New Jersey. He now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Thomas has delivered more than 150 talks and lectures around the world, educating others on his work, exploring Black progress in the 21st century and spotlighting overlooked historical narratives.

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The artist is also one of the co-founders of trailblazing artist-run collective For Freedoms, renowned for billboard campaigns and public artworks designed to increase political engagement and prompt widespread civic conversations - “I think public art is propaganda, frankly.”

Collaborations with Hank Willis Thomas