Anita Crawford Clark states that artistic expression and storytelling always seemed like DNA traits that went hand in hand. Everyone in the family were natural storytellers. But according to her aunt, Dr. Margaret Washington of Cornell University, Anita’s artistic talent came from being born with an individually creative soul and with an infectious happiness about ostensibly mundane experiences. Perhaps those combined qualities led Anita into developing her thoughtful reflections and artistic depictions celebrating ordinary Black life and culture. Anita’s art focuses on the heart and soul of Black culture, community and daily life.
Her compositions include scenes reflecting Symbolism such as shelling black-eyed peas with Grandma, fishing on a favorite riverbank, tending the garden, and participating in church service. Like some early nineteenth century creators, Anita feels that the symbolic value or meaning of a work of art emanates from the re-creation of emotional experiences in the observer through color, line and composition. The important aspect of her art is its universality. While at first glance, her compositions seem germane to Black culture, it is representative of human qualities of any culture – love, fear, heartbreak, loss, grief, joy, hope, etc.
However, Anita is not limited in one style or medium. She has also mastered multiple creative mediums as she captures Black Americans’ struggles and trials that also convey perennial hopes and dreams. She is ever learning new artistic skills and nuances in expanding her art pallet. Anita welcomes the opportunity to create something special for everyone who engages with her art.
Much like her illustrations, Anita endeavors to infuse her writing with elements of her lived experiences and the Black experience in America. There is no shortage of story ideas in her journals or file cabinets, which are filed with numerous ideas. But for Anita, writing is more than just a collection of ideas that she hopes to transform into story books. For Anita, her writing stems from a deep desire to empower her readers and give them a sense of their own potential and power. A sense of belonging and worth. A sense of courage, the ability to overcome obstacles and live a joyful life.
Anita began her journey of writing and drawing at the age of eight, when she wrote, illustrated and bound her first books. She used these homemade books to teach her little sister and other neighborhood children in her makeshift schoolroom. That love of teaching led to a twenty-five year career teaching K-12 at a private Christian school. Anita has taught just about every subject including art and music (concert, jazz and worship band).
Anita started her college career at Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles, CA. She went on to earn her BA in Sociology from UC Davis, CA and an MFA in Creative Writing and MS in Media Psychology. Anita lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Sacramento, CA. She is the mother to two grown daughters and has three grandchildren.