Our Future by Charly Palmer

A prominent artist from Atlanta, Charly Palmer has a varied portfolio – from fine art gallery pieces to children’s books; from album covers (John Legend’s recent “Bigger Love” album) to portraits of Green Bay Packers to the 1996 Olympics. Palmer also painted the cover for TIME’s July 6, 2020 issue, America Must Change. Palmer invited Kendall Chambers to TIMEPieces.


Artist Statement

Title: Our Future

In building a better future, I believe it means building the confidence of our youth. Making sure that there are programs available to inspire original thought. Creativity and encouraging entrepreneurs, innovation, and philanthropists. I believe that today’s youth are consistently all those things. The inspiration for this piece is my beautiful cousin Hudson who feels more like a grandson. He’s smart, inquisitive, a thinker, and a great observer that I seem to learn something new about dinosaurs and planets every time he comes for a visit. I am invested in him because he helped me see a better future. This piece illustrates the joy of being a kid. I see in his smile and eyes hope, humor, and intelligence. Our future, better yet our world, will be in their hands. We have to believe in their worth, and pass our knowledge and experiences forward. The pandemic continues to show us that our youth are already organizing and galvanizing to improve their own lives and communities. They are our future, and in many ways, our right now.


About the Artist

Charly Palmer was born in 1960 in Fayette, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee. He relocated to Chicago to study Art and Design at American Academy of Art and School of the Art Institute. As a graphic designer and illustrator, he ran a successful design studio with a Fortune 500 clientele. As an instructor, he taught design and illustration and painting at the post-secondary level including at Spelman College. He was recently the first African American guest lecturer at UCLA and awarded a Visiting Fellow in Race and Ethnicity, under the auspices of the Mellon Practitioner Fellowship, at Brown University.

Charly Palmer is widely recognized not just as a fine artist but also as an illustrator of children’s books, a teacher and mentor. Highly sought after for public commissions; notable ones include the posters for the 1996 Olympics, and he is a part of the City of Atlanta art collection Both Fisk University and Howard University commissioned him to execute original artwork commemorating their 150th anniversary. Charly completed a major project for the Green Bay Packers featuring 26 portraits of players hanging in the VIP area and private booths at Lambeau Field. Recently he was selected by John Legend to create a portrait for the cover of his album “Bigger Love,” released in June 2020 and by TIME to create the cover art for their July 6/ July 13, 2020 issue. Additional paintings by Palmer are included throughout the magazine. Most recently he was featured in Rolling Stone.

His book illustrations included “There’s A Dragon In My Closet,” “Rainy Day Rocketship,” “I Can Write the World,” “All Boys are Blue” and “Mama Africa”—a children’s book chronicling the life of Miriam Makeba–for which he received the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.

He is currently curating a major event for the LA Lakers. Devoted to his fine art career, Palmer currently lives and works in Atlanta, GA.


@charlylpalmer | www.charlypalmer.com

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