Taj Francis Drops Stunning “Ties” Edition for Black History Month Series

Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear On No Stamps is an ongoing print collection of African-American artists rewriting history through fine art “stamp” editions, curated by Greg Cummins. The series continues with a die-cut edition by Taj Francis, a Jamaican-born multidisciplinary artist whose diverse forms of expression range from paintings to murals to videography. Ties is a stunning illustration that symbolizes the connectedness that African-Americans feel through their shared history. Read our full interview with the artist below.

Ties by Taj Francis

1xRUN: Can you tell us a little bit about the piece, and what’s happening in this scene? Is there anything you would like to highlight about this image?
Taj Francis:
This image is about the ties among black people and the powerful bound of love we share through our connected history, cultures and ideals. The two figures blend and overlap almost as one, covered under the same feathered veil. This for me feel symbolizes a protection but also a freedom. 

1x: How did the idea and execution come about for this image?
Like many ideas, this came through experimentation. Working with the idea of two figures overlapping and how the marble patterns on the skin would join, and what affect that might have. This eventually evolved into the concept and work you see now. 

1x: Why is it important for people to see this image on a stamp?
To see an image like this, with subject matter is just a beautiful form of representation. 

1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
It has a lot more defined focus on connection and ties. 

1x: If you could honor a historic African American with their own national holiday who would it be and why?
Francis: Nina Simone, everything she represented and brought to culture and music should be highly recognized. 

1x: If you could have dinner with any African American from past or present who would it be and why?
Gordon Parks, his Photography and his work in general, captured such powerful feelings within them, I would love to know more about the stories behind some of his works. 

1x: How did you first get into art?
At a very young age, I always had an interest in art, though for a while in my teenage years I remember wanting to get into architecture. I had interned with my uncle for a while, who was a graphic designer at the time, and I can admit that short time period had a great impact in my conviction to pursue art. 

1x: Did your parents or family approve/support you becoming a full time artist?
Francis: Yes, they were very supportive, my mother particularly. Even in the times when it was potentially very risky, she would encourage me. 

1x: What would you consider a dream collaboration?
Rihanna. No explanation needed I hope.

1x: What artists inspire you now?
This is a tricky question to answer, everyday I’m inspired by every new artist I meet. Every new work, life philosophy and story inspires me. Even doing this collaboration with 1xRUN and Greg, I’ve been so inspired by all the artists involved with this project. 

1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
I can’t confirm too much right now, but look out for my first solo show later this year. 

Follow Taj Francis on Instagram at @tajfrancis.