In search of Martin Luther King Jr.

by Fred Showker

Black History Month - February Each year, we like to focus on achievements in the visual communications world in celebration of Black History Month. This year we're taking a little different approach in a quest to find creative expressions of Martin Luther King Jr. We've also updated the whole series of pages about Black designers and artists in the world ...

first Martin Luther King, Jr. in typography

Dencii Manayak from Paranaque, Philippines has produced a series of black portraits that were all created using just typographical figures: letters, punctuation, most of them the letters from the script typeface Bickham Script, and in just various shades of gray that make for striking artwork against their bold black canvases. Pairing these portraits is a word that really sums up what that person's life was all about.

In part 2 he refines the image, and continues to tone the image in an artistic fashion.

Martin Luther King, Jr. in typography

The first version of Let Us All Dream Together The second version of Let Us All Dream Together. Evolving from this series, he goes on to produce other images using the same technique, including Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, and others. Discover more of Manayak's work in his
Deviant Art gallery, or his
Facebook page.

Artist Troy Gua

quoting I'm a Pop Conceptualist producing work in a wide range of media, marrying the commercial and contemporary, conveying a glossy design aesthetic with a keen sense of humor. My subject matter deals with the layering of identities, cultural critique and commentary, celebrity obsession and the universal human need for recognition. end quote

Artist Troy Gua was born and raised in Seatac, Washington, and prefers the term self-actualized to self-taught, but will answer to either. He has created many portrait images in the tradition of Andy Warhol, but not exactly emulating Warhol's work. Troy gives the flat-color, high-contrast technique a whole new look and personality.
Visit Troy at :
See a lot more of Troy's work at


CXARD: In another gallery we find another high-contrast / flat color screen print simulation of King, created by someone calling themselves CXARD. Nothing else is revealed about the artist other than they like cabbage. This is a very pleasing version of Martin Luther King, Jr.. There's also a good one of Malcolm X. See image enlarged
CXARD at Deviant Art : An art contest was held in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center of PSU, during Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Campuses throughout the Penn State system observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day. No classes were held and the campus community was encouraged to volunteer during "A Day On, Not a Day Off." ... again, no artists credits given.

Still Dreaming by Julien Pons

Still Dreaming This portfolio presents the work of Julien Pons, 27-year-old, freelance graphic artist in Montpellier, Marseille, Paris. He also works as a trainer, at Art-Fx in Montpellier and at Emob in Toulon. Rather interesting piece for a Frenchman. (Full size) Visit Julien at

Believe it or not, we found this rather nice posterization of Martin Luther King, Jr. in one of those hijacker background sites! After fighting all the spam, pop-ups, and predator pop-unders we captured this. Unfortunately, no artists name is given. (Full size)

Martin Luther King backgrounds and clip art

Hawker Background Sites: Beware ... we also turned up a plethora of King drawings and clip art -- mostly very bad -- in the hawker background sites. These are sites which turn up in Google searches as "free backgrounds" and have 99% spam and make you click three or four times before you actually get to the art shown in the search.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

They also frequent pop-ups and pop-unders that stalk you online -- along with those really annoying audio ads "Congratulations ... you have WON" that steal your identity. Both of these are merely scanned from someone's clip art collection, and are probably the best of the genre. (I believe these came from the 1980s "VOLK" clip art collection, but I cannot be sure.)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (full)
Martin Luther King Clip (full)

Quest times out

There were hundreds of others, ranging from fair to kind-of-bad, to very bad, to so bad it makes you sick. But, by this time we were exhausted, so we gave up. If you want any more, just pull a Google Search and go hunting for yourself.

If you do happen to run across any outstanding ones, please let us know!

Follow along: Black History Month

thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries about favorite or famous graphic designers and illustrators with other readers. Just contact me, and/or join the forums

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