Illustrator of the Week: Javaka Steptoe

In 2017, Javaka Steptoe became the first author/illustrator to win the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for the same book in the same year. Two works of Steptoe’s will be featured in the exhibition, Telling A People’s Story, from his award-winning book, Radiant Child. The exhibition will also house a work from Stevie, by John Steptoe, Javaka’s late father.

Steptoe’s works are collages involving many mediums: “…collage is a means of survival. It is how Black folks survived four hundred years of oppression, taking the scraps of life and transforming them into art forms” (Steptoe). Steptoe challenges traditional notions of African-American art and centers his works around past histories by using family as a recurring theme.

Even if you may not be from the same background, Steptoe wants you to connect with his works and be able to draw parallels to your own life.

Steptoe earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Steptoe can be found at schools, libraries and conferences across the country spreading education about art, children’s illustrations, and the black community.

Steptoe’s illustrations can be found in 13 different children’s books, his most popular being Radiant Child and In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall. To hear Steptoe talk about his career and what it means to be an illustrator of African-American themed books, come to the art museum Thursday, April 19, 1:15-2pm. To learn more about Steptoe and his works visit his website.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Published by Little, Brown, 2016.

Source(s): Steptoe, Javaka. Javaka Steptoe | Illustration & Fine Arts,