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Exploring History and Social Issues Through Art

Meet Darryl Hines


Darryl Hines is an accomplished visual artist currently based in Atlanta but originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of the Arts, where he delved into a range of mediums and genres of contemporary art. Hines is known for his flexibility in his artistic process and experimentation with different materials, such as tar, asphalt, burlap, and broken glass. His work often touches on social issues and historically marginalized groups, particularly African-Americans. Despite not having an artistic background, Hines has become an accomplished artist with a unique style and voice.


Influences and inspirations


Darryl Hines, the oldest and only son in a family with six children, did not come from an artistic background. His parents were supportive of his artistic interests, and as a child, Hines spent a lot of time at the Cleveland Museum of Art, even participating in a gifted student program through the museum during high school. However, despite his passion for art, he pursued law as a career path, earning an undergraduate degree in journalism and communications and a law degree. Hines returned to painting about 10 years ago after practicing law for several years out of a deep inner desire to explore his creative side.

Growing up during the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, Hines was politically and socially active, even participating in the original Black Panther Party. He often uses his art to tell stories about social constructs and historically marginalized groups around the world, particularly African-Americans. His strong connection to history is evident in his work, and he even revisits classical and Renaissance art, inserting historical black figures into his paintings as part of a project he pursued at the Maryland Institute College of Arts.

Hines has a unique style that combines a variety of mediums and genres, including tar, asphalt, burlap, and broken glass, to create layered and textured pieces that are both visually stunning and thought-provoking. He draws inspiration from his childhood memories, personal experiences, and observations of nature and the world around him.

Hines credits his success to his willingness to experiment and take risks and his ability to learn from his mistakes. Hines believes that art is a lifelong journey of self-discovery, and he continues to push himself to explore and discover new mediums and techniques to express his ideas.

Hines was inspired to reconnect with his artistic side when his two oldest sons approached him about starting a T-shirt business featuring blues and jazz album covers. When he faced rejection for licensing the rights to use graphics, Hines claimed he could design his own graphics. The humorous ordeal sparked his love for art again, and Hines began teaching himself about the artistic process. He began experimenting with different mediums and techniques, creating abstract pieces that caught the attention of the local art scene in Atlanta.


After receiving positive feedback on his work, Hines decided to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of the Arts. During his time there, he was able to explore different mediums and genres, further refining his unique style. His thesis project, "The Re-Imagining of History," explored the representation of black figures in classical and Renaissance art and the lack of diversity in these representations. He created a series of paintings that inserted historical black figures into classical paintings, challenging the viewer to reconsider their preconceived notions about art history.

Today, Hines is an established visual artist based in Atlanta, with his work exhibited in galleries and museums across the country. His art is recognized for its powerful storytelling, vibrant colors, and unique textures. He continues to use his work to challenge the status quo and inspire conversations about social issues, culture, and historical representation.



Photo by Darryl Hines


Finding His Voice


Darryl Hines's artwork is a unique blend of different mediums and styles that reflects his experimental approach to the modern artistic process. Finding his own voice as an artist has been a significant challenge for Hines, but he embraces this aspect of his work. His pieces are very expressive and explicit about the emotions and thoughts they aim to convey, and he does not want to emulate anyone else's style or work.

Some have noted that Hines's work resembles that of several different artists, but he sees this as a positive aspect of his creative process. As a result, his pieces are diverse and versatile, showcasing his range and depth as an artist.

During his time at MICA, Hines embarked on a project that explored people and groups of people in history made invisible from a landscape painting perspective. He was particularly interested in looking at the topographies of plantations and slave burial grounds with the hope of resurrecting and exposing those people in both a physical and mental sense. This project sparked a desire in Hines to create sculptural pieces related to this topic.

As for his artistic process, Hines's approach is flexible, and he creates whenever inspiration strikes. However, now that his studio is no longer in his home, he is trying to be more structured in his approach to his work. He typically sets aside specific days for creating, often working on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Hines also enjoys getting a workout in before he begins to create, with a few miles of bike riding often helping to clear his mind and set the tone for his day in the studio.

While Hines's work can be very direct and bold, his professors at MICA have encouraged him to retain some subtlety in his pieces, allowing the viewer's perspective to play a role in how they see the subject. One of Hines's collections, Transatlantic, exemplifies this approach, as it depicts a powerful and emotional scene while also leaving some elements up to interpretation. Hines's work continues to evolve, and it will be exciting to see where his artistic journey takes him next.


Hines’ Ongoing Dedication to Art and Social Issues


Darryl Hines's journey as a visual artist is a testament to his unwavering passion for art. Despite growing up in a non-artistic family, Hines always had an interest in art and spent a significant amount of time at the Cleveland Museum of Art during his childhood. He pursued law as a career path, earning an undergraduate degree in journalism and communications and a law degree. However, his love for fine art has never waned, and he returned to painting about 10 years ago.

Hines's art is a reflection of his political and social activism, and he often tries to highlight stories about marginalized groups, particularly African-Americans. During his time at the Maryland Institute College of Arts, Hines worked on a project that explored the invisibility of people and groups of people in history from a landscape painting perspective. This project aimed to resurrect and expose those people in both a physical and mental sense, and Hines is looking to expand it by exploring sculptural pieces related to this topic.

Hines's artistic process is flexible, and he creates whenever inspiration strikes. He experiments with different patterns and styles, resulting in an expressive and explicit body of work. However, he has faced challenges in finding his own artistic voice. While some have noted that his work looks like that of many different contemporary artists, Hines sees this as a positive because he doesn't want to emulate anyone's work. His professors at MICA have advised him to retain some elements of subtlety in his work, allowing the viewer's perspective to see the subject.

As Hines's art continues to evolve, he has a bright future ahead. His work is featured in several exhibitions and art shows across the country, and he continues to create thought-provoking pieces that resonate with people. You can check out his art showcase to see more of his work and keep up with his future projects. In conclusion, Darryl Hines' life's journey is an inspiration to anyone who is passionate about art and determined to pursue their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they may face. 


You can check out Hine’s art showcase here. If you are interested in purchasing Hine’s art, partnering with him, or interviewing him, send an email to