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One morning I opened an email from my literary agency and saw that they were featuring a young artist by the name of Sam Onche. I was instantly captivated by his illustrations filled with bold colors, expressive images, and intense facial expressions. They gave me chills all over my body!

I knew immediately that I wanted to meet him and hear more about his story. So I invited him to come on the Cracking Open podcast, and I’m so deeply pleased that he said yes.

Sam has been making art for as long as he can remember. Born in Nigeria, he came to the United States in 2015 to attend high school on a basketball scholarship. From there, he went on to college where he studied studio art with a focus in oil painting. Sam now lives in Chicago where he is an award-winning illustrator and painter.

Using digital and oil mediums to create paintings and illustrations for posters, prints, book covers, and album covers, Sam uses Black art as a voice to speak out on issues, expectations, and representations of Black people in our world today. Themes that can be seen in his work are fashion, music, culture, daily life, and Afrofuturism.

His goals are to ensure that Black people play a central role in the contemporary art scene and to spread a sense of positivity and self-love through his work. With each piece that he creates, he focuses on a different emotion and story.

Sam’s art conveys his hope for humanity to live together as equals and to bring people of different races together – “because as much as we might look different, we are all one.”

At 24 years of age, Sam taught me so much in this conversation about the power of having a strong daily work ethic to follow your dreams and passions, as well as the importance of believing in yourself even when others don’t.

I have no doubt that this young man’s life will continue to blossom for many decades to come. Knowing that there are beautiful souls in the world like Sam gives me faith that his hope for humanity may come true after all. May his art and his words inspire you too.


Learn more about Sam Onche and his art here
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