About the Artist

Larry Poncho Brown, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, embarked on his artistic journey at the age of 17 as a signwriter, and he has remained a full-time artist ever since. His creative path led him to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Poncho’s art, both fine and commercial, has graced the pages of national publications such as Upscale, Ebony, Ebony Man, Essence, and Jet magazines. His powerful works have also been featured prominently on television shows including “A Different World”, “In the House”, “The Wire”, “The Carmichael Show”, “Star”, and “Greenleaf”. Notably, his art has made appearances in movies like “Avalon”, “He Said, She Said”, and “Soulfood”.

Larry Poncho Brown’s pieces adorn the walls of influential figures such as Camille Cosby, Dick Gregory, Anita Baker, Susan Taylor, Ed Gordon, and Bernard Bronner. His original works have found homes in corporate and institutional collections, including those of Coppin State University, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the District of Columbia Superior Courts, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, Howard University Hospital, and Yale New Haven Health Park Avenue Medical Center.

In his earlier years, Poncho’s art predominantly featured airbrush illustrations. His evolution from a graffiti artist to a classically trained sign painter and graphic artist culminated in the mid-1980s with his groundbreaking “Black is Black” Series. This series courageously addressed the subject of colorism within the African American art realm.

During what is often referred to as “The Golden Age of African American Art” (between 1985 and 2000), Larry Poncho Brown and other artists defied traditional norms. They made their art accessible to the masses by directly participating in community art and cultural festivals, bypassing the conventional artist-gallery-publisher arrangement. At the peak of this era, Poncho’s works adorned the walls of nearly 500,000+ homes across the country, available in 3,000 galleries.

Driven by philanthropic goals, Poncho founded Raising the Arts, an initiative that has created over 70+ images to assist non-profit organizations and African American groups in fundraising efforts. Additionally, he co-founded the Creative Quarantine, a collaborative project where professional artists dedicate the entire month of January to creating new experimental works.

Poncho’s accolades include being named “Artist of the Year” by the African American Visual Arts Association in 2000, receiving the “Heritage Arts Festival Palette Award” in 2003, and earning the “Save the Arts Award” as Museum’s Choice in 2010. His contributions extend to visual arts awards, including the “Jan Spivey Gilchrist Visual Arts Award” in 2013, the “Baker Artists Award” in 2021, and the Curtis R. McClinton Jr. 3rd Annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023. Notably, he was recognized as “Best Visual Artist” by The Baltimore Times in their “Best of Black Baltimore” list in 2024. Furthermore, he received the Roberta’s House Elijah Cummings Leadership Award in the same year.

Admirers of Poncho’s work often highlight elements of rhythm, movement, and unity as their favorites. His preferred medium is acrylic, although he fearlessly explores various mediums and styles to express his interests in Afrocentric themes, Ancient Egyptology, and dance. Poncho’s unique artistic style seamlessly blends past and present stylizations, resulting in a sense of realism, mysticism, and beauty that resonates universally.

In his own words, Poncho emphasizes, “My works attempt to capture SOUL while purposely depicting positive representations of African American culture. Art and imagery are the strongest forms to challenge the perceptions of African Americans in our society.”