Credit: Contributed

Brooklyn-based artist and teacher Niaren Binford is striving to highlight and depict the beauty, style and grace of women of color in her artwork.

Binford, who has loved art for as long as she can remember, is a second-grade teacher who has been teaching children art since when she was in high school.

“I started becoming an artist from when I could pick up a pencil,” said Binford. “My mom noticed my talent from when I was about 2 years old and ever since then she’s been putting me in art classes. It’s been a growing process throughout my young life.

“When I was in fourth grade, I had a teacher who gave me a compliment that I was a good artist, and she always pushed me into the art field. Ever since then I’ve been in arts—anything that has to do with the arts, I am in it.”

Having graduated from Adelphi University with her BA in arts and MA in education, Binford enjoys working with many different elements of arts, such as painting, drawings, murals, designs, illustration and mixed media collage. She is best known for her drawings of female subjects and draws her inspiration from everyday life and walking through the streets of New York City. Binford created a series called the “Curly Girl Series,” which is inspired by women of color from many walks of life.

“My ‘Curly Girl Series’ is all about giving Black women a place in the art world,” stated Binford. “As I was growing up and as an African-American woman, in my college I didn’t see a lot of African-Americans being portrayed in art. It was always European and classical ideals of beauty. In college I didn’t learn how to paint Black skin. I made it my mission to give Black women a place in the art world.”

Binford’s artwork has been featured in various exhibitions in Brooklyn. She also does shows around New York City. Binford has worked on independent projects with various clients and has illustrated several children’s books. She is currently illustrating a new children’s book and is continuing to work on her “Curly Girl Series.”

“I believe that artists have a big role in changing society because art imitates life,” said Binford. “Painting and capturing the true essence of a person is freeing, and that is a part of what makes art beauty.”

To view Binford’s work and profile, visit https://niarenbinford.carbonmade.com.