Artist Devin Troy Strother hit his stride in the early 2010s, when he gained recognition for his tremendously idiosyncratic mixed-media works. In them, Strother fuses art-historical references with pop culture influences, all the while tackling racial issues and stereotypes with remarkably sharp humor. Born in 1986 in West Covina, California, Strother belongs to a generation of artists profoundly impacted by television culture of the mid- to late-90s—he cites early influences ranging from MTV and Nickelodeon to “X-Men” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Equally important, Strother finds inspiration in the work of numerous canonic artists such as Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, and Henri Matisse (whose cutouts are put in mind by Strother’s exuberant collage constructions).

Typically, Strother’s compositions offer loose narratives that frequently delve into issues of race and the African American experience. “I definitely want to present tension in my work, but I don’t want tension to overpower the viewer or piece…. I’m very aware of all the associations that come with black face. That’s something that I’m trying to use as vehicle to draw the viewer in,” Strother explained to Juxtapoz magazine in a 2011 interview. “I know everyone has their own relationship to BF [black face] and what it means to them… it becomes this struggle… who’s this for? Should I be laughing at this?”

Strother’s work has been shown extensively on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe. After earning a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Strother studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture during the summer of 2010. He lives and works in Los Angeles.