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Kokomo painter uses art to tell Black history stories

JC Barnett has transformed his kitchen table into an art studio to make portraits of iconic individuals.

KOKOMO, Ind. — An artist in Kokomo is using his talents to celebrate the lives of some of the most towering figures in Black history. 

For the past few weeks, JC Barnett has transformed his kitchen table into an art studio to make portraits of iconic individuals.

“I love my people. I want to tell our story and I want to shed light on these individuals or anybody, really, in a different way than has ever been told before,” said Barnett.

Wednesday night he was painting Nelson Mandela, adding to his works that include James Baldwin, Rosa Parks, John Lewis and Kobe Bryant.

“My artistic abilities are just a means for me to be able to tell a story for somebody else,” said Barnett. “I hope when I post a picture online or somebody sees my pictures in person is that it gives them hope.”

It takes about five hours to complete each painting. Barnett sometimes works well into the night after his day job.

Credit: WTHR

Barnett said this isn’t necessarily about Black History Month, but is more of a personal project.

Credit: WTHR

“I do not intend to stop. It's going to keep going and going and going until I want to take a break or if I ever take a break,” said Barnett.

You can see more of Barnett’s paintings at Wear That Hat Artworks