Chandra Cox Contributes Illustrations to ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy’
Chandra Cox's illustration appears in Tony Medina’s book, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy, in which Medina’s poems are illustrated by depicting thirteen views of everyday life: young boys dressed in their Sunday best, running to catch a bus, growing up to be teachers, and much more.
Chandra Cox has been with the College of Design for almost 40 years, but that has not slowed down her personal work as an artist. While her practice for the first 20 years at the college was as a traditional studio artist, she gradually shifted focus into public art. Now, she is being recognized for her work in one of the New York Times’ recommendations for Antiracist Books for Kids and Teens. Her illustration appears in Tony Medina’s book, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy, in which Medina’s poems are illustrated by depicting thirteen views of everyday life: young boys dressed in their Sunday best, running to catch a bus, growing up to be teachers, and much more.
“I was invited by the editor of Penny Candy Books, Chad Reynolds, to contribute to the project” says Cox. “All of the illustrators had previously worked with Medina, and I had illustrated Christmas Makes Me Think in 2001. Even though the project was a tight turnaround time, I was happy to be part of such a special effort.”
The publisher asked each illustrator to select four poems to consider for illustration, and then the publisher made the final decision of which poem each artist would illustrate. Cox’s poem was ‘Givin’ Back to the Community.’ “It was very fitting, because community is the focus of my public art and teaching is a way of giving back, as well” Cox adds.
Cox, after receiving her first major public art commission in 2004, has been focused on Public Art that is Afrocentric and inspired by Black cultures. Working in an array of traditional mediums, she acts as a lead designer for public art works, and collaborates with additional fabricators to complete each piece. Her work has been presented in numerous museums and galleries around the country such as the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Her artworks in public collections include NC State University, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a number of notable works in Charlotte, NC, including the Beatties Ford Road Metro Police Facility, CATS Rosa Parks Transit Center, and the Sugar Creek and Old Concord Road Stations of the CATS LYNX Blue Line light rail. She is currently involved with the Oberlin Road Streetscape Project for Raleigh, NC to work with the living ancestors of Oberlin Village to tell the story of this historic community through artistically interpreted historical markers.
Some of Cox’s past works:
Throughout her tenure at the College of Design, Cox served as the head of the Art + Design department for 17 years, during which she formalized the curriculum, launched the Art + Design graduate program, and established the Design Studies major in 2009.
“Charles Joyner hired me to teach Drawing and Design Fundamentals, as it was called until 2006” Cox adds. “I have also taught intermediate Art + Design students, illustration, and painting. But, I really teach to help students realize their talents as young designers and creative thinkers. I hope to impart confidence in their abilities.”