While discussions over Beyonce's Super Bowl one-two punch and the continuing controversy ignited by #OscarsSoWhite packed this year's Black History Month, art director George McCalman and content strategist Ebony Haight sought to commemorate the occasion by showcasing lesser-known pioneers in black history.
The two collaborated on a a series of portraits of Edna Lewis, Gordon Parks and other notable individuals, which are posted on McCalman’s company Instagram under the hashtag #illustratedblackhistory.
Haight initially posted stock photos and short biographies of obscure figures in black history on her Instagram, which inspired San Francisco artist McCalman to create a personal project.
“I didn’t think about it again until I painted a portrait of Rosa Parks on her birthday, and it flashed in my head to do a series of portraits,” McCalman says. "I just wanted to get to know and foster my own sense of history - it was just an itch I had to scratch."
The black-and-white portraits are done in a mix of pen, pencil, ink and watercolor, each in styles that McCalman felt would reflect his connection to the subjects best.