Being a visual artist, curator and artist advocate is no easy task, but it’s one that Courtney Brooks takes on with enthusiasm. 

Brooks is an Atlanta-based independent artist who created the curatorial project Journey of a Black Girl, as well as other experimental works with watercolor, acrylic, oil paints and photography. 

So how’d she find herself with Oklahoma ties? She’s currently the guest curator at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition in OKC, where you can see her work on display.

She credits her mother for sparking her love of music and all things creative.

“My earliest memories of art are of [my mom] creating paper collages from her ’80s and ’90s Jet magazine collection,” says Brooks. After winning third place for a painting she did of a Victorian-style home, Brooks says her mother continued to encourage her as she explored her passion. 

“Being from Denver, I did not see a lot of artists who looked like me,” she says. “Now, my art life has blossomed in Atlanta, where I get to work, collaborate, meet and befriend artists who look like me every day.” 

Every artist has their inspirations, favorite styles and creators – even if it’s not always an easy task to whittle it down to one or two.

“Choosing favorites tends to be difficult for me because I want to give so many creatives their flowers,” she says. “Growing up, I would say collage artist Romare Bearden, abstract artist Alma Thomas and sculptor Augusta Savage, along with a host of present artists, including Nick Cave, Grace Kisa and C. Flux Sing,” she says. They all inspire her to dedicate herself more to her own vision. 

“Their various styles and confidence to approach new mediums and subject matters are true to self, and explore narratives that teach and excite viewers,” says Brooks. “All of the artists’ work reminds me that there are no limits, and to keep educating and challenging myself.” 

The Future

Brooks’ horizons look promising, with plans for more work and further honing her own vision. 

“One of my passion projects is to revisit my photography journey focusing on the Black diaspora,” she says. “Back in 2018, I had the opportunity to visit Rousseau, Haiti, and spend time with the community there. I was able to connect and take photos of the people and experience their culture. I plan to create a life size acrylic painting from the digital images I have archived.” 

On top of that, Brooks also plans to circle back to something she holds very dear. 

“I am revamping Journey of a Black Girl, a curatorial project I created that grew into a creative business, focusing on the artistic wellness of Black girls and women,” she says. 

Never content to stay in place, Brooks aims to continue pushing the boundaries of art in every way possible, opening avenues for new voices. 

“I am always on the mission to curate more public art exhibitions and provide visual space for artists and creatives of color nationally, though all genres of art,” she says.