Painting the reflections of Black women

A photo of Carita, diversity & inclusion program manager at Adobe, holding one of her paintings.

By Carita Marrow

Posted on 12-10-2020

Earlier this year, we launched Diverse Voices on Creative Cloud Discover, a place where we highlight the voices of diverse creators, share resources like scholarships and fellowships, and more.

We recently released a chapter celebrating the vibrant spectrum of perspectives from Black creators around the world. Now, we’re turning the lens inward to showcase some of the incredibly talented Black creators within our own employee community. Check out our first feature on photographer Isaiah Everett here. Artist Carita Marrow is our second spotlighted employee.

I paint to provide a cultural diet and narrative of the Black community. I paint Black voices to showcase a heritage that isn’t always seen in the media. I create spaces for Black women to exist freely.

Growing up, my mom would decorate the walls of our home with my artwork. She instilled a sense of my pride in art early on and encouraged me to draw my surroundings. I recall creating a Black paper doll set of me and my clothes because we could not find any paper doll sets that resembled my skin color. My mom placed African sculpture and Black dolls throughout our home, and I would spend hours drawing these figurines using pastels and markers.

One of Carita's pieces, titled "Defining my future."

Carita's piece, "Defining my future.”

One of Carita's pieces, titled "Happiness exists within."

Carita's piece, "Happiness exists within.”

At age 13, my mom enrolled me in an oil painting class at a local museum. I painted my first self-portrait in that class, a preschool photo of me all dolled up for picture day. My mom still has that painting displayed on the walls of our home. This oil painting class and many other art camps my mom enrolled me in led to my desire to deeply pursue art in schooling. I graduated high school as a member of the National Art Honor Society. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University for Painting and Printmaking, where I immersed myself in an eclectic world of oil painting, craft, sculpture, etching and jewelry making classes. I felt alive more than ever in art school.

A photo of Carita's first self-portrait.

Carita’s first self-portrait.

My favorite art subject in college was intaglio etching. This form of art was a rebirth for me. I was able to transcend in the etchings as I carved every little detail of beauty, strength, and love of Black culture. After graduate school, I transitioned into a different phase focusing on quick drawing or painting studies inspired by family and friends.

Two of Carita's paintings from 2015-2017.

Two of Carita's paintings from 2015-2017.

Two of Carita's paintings from 2015-2017.

Currently, I paint Black women in various mediums, to show they are more than just statistics and showcase that there are unique stories behind their existence of strength, love and independence.

Check out more paintings at theessenceofcarita.com!

Topics: Diversity & Inclusion, Adobe Culture, Brand, Adobe Life, Celebrating the Black Community, #AdobeForAll

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