Charly Palmer was born in 1960 in Fayette, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee. He relocated to Chicago to study Art and Design at American Academy of Art and School of the Art Institute. As a graphic designer and illustrator, he has run a successful design studio with a Fortune 500 clientele. As an instructor, he teaches design and illustration and painting at the post-secondary level—most recently—Spelman College. Currently, Palmer devotes his life to his creative goals and has established himself as a fine artist of note.
In his youth, Palmer was fascinated by illustrations in Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. “I could never get enough of the imagery in the book,” he says Keats’ work was magical and planted a seed in his young heart. What appealed to him most is the random geometric shapes, the simplicity of layered textures and patterns, and the mix of bold colors. Though inspired by Keats’, Palmer brings unique style and technique to fine art. He creates visual theatre that gleans from history and life experience.
In the recent past, Palmer worked under the pseudonym Carlos—his alter ego. Doing so allowed him to explore and experiment with spontaneity and fluidity. The result is a body of work that is less controlled and more abstract and primal. The fusion of his artistic styles has culminated into the perfect stylistic voice, which is fully expressed in his powerful Civil Rights series.
Charly Palmer’s work is in private and public collections which include Atlanta Life Insurance, McDonald’s Corporation, Miller Brewing Company, the Coca Cola Company and Vanderbilt University. His previous work His Story, belonging to the estate of Maya Angelou, was auctioned by Swann Gallery in 2015. Palmer’s work was commissioned for the 1996 Olympics and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2016, he was selected to execute original artwork commemorating Fisk University’s 150th year anniversary; in 2017, he accomplished the same for Howard University. He completed a project with the Green Bay Packers which features art for the Lambeau Stadium. Palmer recently illustrated two children's books,There's A Dragon In My Closet and Mama Africa—a children’s book chronicling the life of Miriam Makeba--for which he received the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Palmer remains in high demand for significant commissions. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, GA.
written by Ida Harris
Charly Palmer portrays black icons and historical events in his paintings. He has covered many black athletes: Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson; Civil Rights leaders: Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King; Entertainers: Jazz greats, rappers; and prominent figures like James Baldwin and Barack Obama. Like Lawrence, Palmer documented some of the major movements and topical issues in history like slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow, police brutality, convict labor and Voter Rights, Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Lives Matter. Church, family and social justice are also reoccurring themes in his art. His current work explores black identity, activism and race in America. He recently illustrated two children's books, "There's A Dragon In My Closet" and "Mama Africa" which is the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Palmer was born in Alabama, raised in Milwaukee and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. (Read Full Article)
written by Ida Harris
Black art is big business, even as it sits at the fringes of a booming art industry. The mainstream art world is dominated by a more popular culture, which allows but a sliver of black talent to penetrate its space at a time. This unsurprising phenomena shadows some of the most incredible works produced in contemporary art, and the "remarkable artists" who create them. Respectively, Charly Palmer is one of them. (Read Full Article)
written by Marshall A. Latimore
On an unusually warm Saturday morning in an old church-turned-artists-haven, visual artists Charly Palmer and Jamaal Barber are wrapping several of their pieces in plastic wrap while talking about their creative process and what inspires their work.
Both artists — Palmer, a painter, and Barber, a print maker — have multiple “Black History Month” shows throughout February. Barber has an exhibit titled “Bright Black” that opens Feb. 10 through Feb. 23 at the Southwest Arts Center. Palmer has an exhibit at the Auburn Avenue Research Library titled “Divided States,” that will open Feb. 18 through March 25. (Read Full Article)