Gee Horton Biography
Artist. Entrepreneur. Human Being.
The creative and conceptual mind of Gee Horton can best be experienced through his exceptionally detailed graphite and charcoal drawings. Through these hyper-realistic portraits depicting the African-American experience, Gee aims to elevate the collective consciousness and explore the complexities of modern adolescence.
Gee calls Cincinnati his home base now, but he grew up in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky. He was the first in his family to graduate from college and would go on to receive his Master’s of Social Work from the University of Louisville, where he then found success coaching division-1 women’s basketball at University of Louisville, Furman University and Xavier University. Pursuing his call towards social service, Gee worked at a non-profit and then in the corporate space as an executive recruiter, but that artist within him was growing louder with time. What may seem an unlikely pivot into the arts, was actually a deferred passion that began from a young age when his gift of drawing was first noticed. As a self-taught artist (having only ever taken one art class in his life), Gee is currently articulating his craft from pencil to page through his full-time role as CEO/Founder of Gee Horton Studios.
With an expedited pace into notoriety (rare for independent artists), Gee has quickly become a household name in Cincinnati over the last few years. In 2020, he made his museum debut at the Cincinnati Art Museum where his piece “If I Ruled the World…” was shown in The Black & Brown Faces exhibit. He has also been featured at the renowned Cincinnati Music Hall and The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Bending his pencil towards activism, he has been involved in collaborative projects that included serving as artist recruiter for the now famed “Black Lives Matter!” mural in downtown Cincinnati, in which he also designed and executed the art for the letter “L.” He is currently an artist-in-residence at The Mercantile Library of Cincinnati where he is working on a six-foot portrait of the famed Black abolitionist and writer Peter H. Clark.
“Gee Horton has figured out a way to integrate his remarkable talent as an artist, with his equally stunning capacity for bringing people together…
…and challenging people to see the world more clearly.”
John O. Faherty Executive Director, the Mercantile Library
In 2021, he received a grant from ArtsWave for their Truth and Reconciliation project in which Gee will continue his work on “The Baobab Project.” In addition, he has been recognized as one of seven Black leaders and change-makers in Cincinnati, placing his artistry among bankers and executives. Most recently, his artwork was picked up by HBO to be used on the set of both Issa Rae’s TV series “Insecure,” and Tracy Oliver’s series “Harlem” by Universal and Amazon Studios.
PENCIL to PAGE
With an affinity for the human face, Gee brings his subjects to life through discerning strokes of pencil that stare back at the viewer. His interrogation of the human experience has been a process of reclamation; one that reveals his Black excellence and brilliance through visual art. And if art is medicine, Gee is the alchemist transforming trauma into tangible iconography.
“What better way to address my own lived traumatic experiences than to someone who is going through their own?” Gee proposes.
His skillful use of material shows a man in control of his abilities and with clear intention of his tool, so that the shaded faces on the page can at the same time be full of light. The viewer may find delicate and elegant edges adjacent to themes of objectification towards the Black body and mind all in hyper-realistic images resembling still photographs.
COMING of AGE
Considered a self-study, his drawings look towards Gee’s inner child who wants to be seen as more than a statistic, more than a stereotype. Featuring portraits of his 13-year-old nephew, all adaptations of photographs, “Coming of Age” is Gee’s most prolific series of work yet that serves as a way to process his own interruption of youth. This generational story-telling shows his subjects poised with objects like fine-toothed combs, sunflowers, gold grills, and tribal face paint that reflect both his African roots, the natural world, and the materials used to fasten beauty in the human form. For Gee, this is a preservation of innocence, a way to take his hardened past and make it beautiful once again.
Just a few years into leaping into this career path, Gee will be debuting the first chapter of “Coming of Age'' in 2021. The show will take place at the prestigious Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery (located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati) in November.
From museum walls to Hollywood sets, Gee’s artwork continues to occupy distinguished spaces. His journey is an act of resistance while he dignifies his own experiences displayed for the public in unapologetic pigment.
The story continues to be written...
Exhibitions & Commissions
· 2020 “Black & Brown Faces” at The Cincinnati Art Museum
· “Uprising” at The Kennedy Heights Arts Center
·“Not for Sale” at The Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati, OH
· “The Black Lives Matter!” Mural at The City Hall of Cincinnati
· “New Truth Art Showcase” at The National Underground Railroad Museum
· 2018“The We Gallery Exhibition” at Cincinnati Music Hall
Professional Memberships & Affiliations
· Artworks Cincinnati, Board of Trustee
· Wavepool, Board of Trustee
· Co-Host of the Urban Consulate Cincinnati Chapter