Growing up in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago to be exact, was one of the main factors that has molded Nneka Jones into the artist she is today. Her astounding love for color and special attention to detail, as influenced by her culture, have always been prominent throughout her artistic journey. The artist was never one to accept mediocrity, not only in art, but also in her everyday life and had always been willing to take on a challenge. This led her to take the risk of leaving behind her family and friends to travel the world in pursuit of both sharing and gaining versatile experiences that would enhance her artistry.
The twenty-three-year-old artist who graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tampa and a Marketing minor, considers herself an activist artist who uses contemporary portraiture to comment on social issues such as sex trafficking of minors and sexual abuse among women and girls of color. She uses her artwork as a tool to create conversations and raise awareness, forcing the viewer to make connections with the social injustices that are overlooked in their everyday life.
After entering and being accepted into her first public art show, The Gasparilla Festival of Arts (GFA 2019), Jones was awarded the William O’Dowd Memorial Emerging Artist Award and featured in two articles by the Tampa Bay Times. She entered again in 2020 and placed 3rd out of 233 artists, winning the Roddy Brownlee Reed, Award of Artistic Excellence. One of her most recent works, “Colorism” was also named Best in Show at the Albrecht-Kemper (AKMA) Juried Undergraduate Exhibition 2019 at Missouri State. Jones has also exhibited at the Tampa Bay Coffee and Arts Festival in St. Petersburg and looks forward to sharing more of her work beyond the Tampa Bay Area.
She quotes, “There is the artwork. The story behind the artwork and the story that the artwork tells.” She believes that her artistic journey has only just begun and she is eager to explore her creative purpose in life, to reach her ultimate goal of being an internationally renowned activist artist.