Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art





Golden Boy: Baldwin, 2017






Tylonn J. Sawyer (b. 1976) is an American figurative artist, educator, & curator living and working in Detroit, Michigan. His work centers around themes of identity, both individual & collective, politics, race, history and pop culture.


Walls: Baldwin, 2018

His drawings and paintings have been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad including 55th International Venice Biennale, Italy; Texas A & M University, Texas; The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History & The Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan; Heron Arts, San Francisco; Kravets/Wehby Gallery, Rush Arts & The New York Academy of Art, New York, amongst others


American Gods 3, (Nina Simone), 2018

In 2013, Sawyer expanded his studio practice to include large public murals and collaborative projects throughout Detroit, Michigan. Sawyer has completed public works for the Wholefoods corporation, Redbull USA, Murals in the Market International Mural Festival, Quicken Loans Corporation, Under Armor, The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and The Detroit Institute of Arts.


Class Photo #3, 2017 (Baldwin)

Tylonn is a professor of art at Oakland Community College and teaches drawing at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Over the past decade he has taught various courses in drawing, life drawing, anatomy, 2-D design, all levels of painting, and figure painting at various institutions including Marygrove College and Eastern Michigan University.

TylonnClass of 2016 2016

Class of 2016


Masquerade, 2016

Sawyer’s passion for arts education lead to his community work with youth. He has worked with various community arts programs throughout New York, serving as art director, teacher, curriculum specialist, and more. From 2011 to 2013 he was the program manager for an arts infused education organization in southwest Detroit, servicing Detroit public schools. Most recently, in early 2014, Sawyer started the first teen arts council in Michigan for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
Tylonn received a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the New York Academy of Art: Graduate School of Figurative Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (drawing & painting) from Eastern Michigan University. He is also the recipient of the Peter T. Rippon Travel Award, independent study at the Royal Academy of Art, London England.