Taha Clayton

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Taha Clayton

United States

Taha Clayton is a Brooklyn-based painter, born in Houston, TX and raised in Toronto, ON, Canada.  In his early work, Clayton focused on photo-realistic portraiture. Now, Clayton’s heritage influences much of his work, which often addresses mistruths of black antiquity.  His realistic renderings celebrate culture and legacy while also exploring matters of social injustice, spirituality, and family. Many of his visual narratives are presented in portraiture using historical references embedded with futurist allusions.  


Clayton’s technique is a mix of precise, labored, and intricate methods of hyperrealism mixed with dynamic subjects and color.  Most of his subjects are drawn from family, friends, or inspiring strangers met while traveling internationally. While Clayton is a contemporary artist focused on subjects and narratives reflective of today’s social climate, his work and style concepts are rooted in traditional practices of old masters from the Dutch realism school, high renaissance, and neoclassical style. In addition to painting, Clayton has a background in carpentry, scenic painting and set design for films, photoshoots and high-end events which has proven useful in the process of his arts practice. Prior to painting, Clayton takes a comprehensive approach to designing his compositions, which may consist of constructing backdrops staging photoshoots, and directing subjects.

Clayton’s work has shown in several group exhibitions in New York, Miami, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Toronto.  His work is currently showing at the Prizm Art Fair during Art Basel Miami as well as the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in a show juried by Frank Bernarducci, owner of the Bernarducci Gallery in Chelsea.  Recent shows include”, I Met God and She Is” curated by Joakim von Ditmar and the “Legacy of the Cool: A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks” at MassArt which featured fellow artists Hank Willis Thomas, Delphine Diallo, Rashid Johnson, Deborah Roberts, Amy Sherald and Hank Willis Thomas.  In addition to public and gallery exhibitions, Clayton’s work has also been commissioned by private collectors in addition to being featured in benefit art auctions for diverse art spaces such as the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MOCADA). Clayton’s journey as an emerging artist was also documented in the award winning documentary, “Heavyweight Paint” (dir. Jeff Martini, 2016) which features his friends and colleagues in art Joseph Adolphe, Jerome Lagarrigue, and Tim Okamura.


As a self-taught artist, Clayton continues to gain knowledge and experience through experimenting with different styles and techniques and much of his success in navigating the art world can be attributed to his resilience and true passion for culture, visual storytelling, and engaging with his community of artists and creatives.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 14th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.