Written by Jay Robinson                                                                             Edited by Mel Williams


TALENTS discovered this next artist during an art showcase at a downtown gallery, where Jay was already enjoying a night of great music, fun company, and sales. Captivated by the evident displays of shadow and lighting in his photos, we had to learn more about the force behind the delicate, beauty of his concepts.

Define art in your own words.

I’d describe my art as emotional, dark, and surreal at times with deep & vibrant colors. I like to give my images a certain dark glow. I believe in creating images that present a story, convey mood, and inspire the viewer. Shadows are spaces where light has yet to touch and are themselves a result of light. Noir denotes the color black; and as a photographer, my job is to navigate the darkness with my camera by gathering light. Some may see darkness as nothing, but a true creative sees darkness for what it really is: a blank canvas. I gather light with my camera and use it to reveal a story through photographs.

Can you recall the moment you became interested in photography?

Honestly, I can’t really remember a time where photography wasn’t a part of my life. I was always tech-savvy as a kid so at all the family functions my mom would give me her digital camera and it was my job to take photos all day. I suppose that was where I got my eye for photography. But I didn’t really take a serious interest in photography until 2010 when Instagram came out. I got my first DSLR camera at the end of that year.

Where do you draw inspiration? Name a few pieces of work  (preferably another’s) or artist that inspires you.

Music has been inspiring me more than anything lately. I’ve found that most artists are dealing with some level of anxiety and depression and for me music has always been a great escape from that battle. There are artists whose work can take me to a different place and I just translate those vibes to communicate with my emotions, and the result of that conversation is manifested into my art. Some of my favorite musical artists are SZA, PartyNextDoor, Drake, Future, Kehlani, Jhené Aiko, and DVSN. “Spectrum” was inspired by SZA’ s song “Pray.”   

Where are you originally from? What was growing up like? Any guilty pleasures or something you are unashamed to admit you’re terrified of?

I was born in Heidelberg, Germany but I was raised in Fayetteville, NC. My parents met in the military, so my childhood was typical of that lifestyle. Right now I’m waiting tables and taking photos as much as I can. I’m really afraid of being stagnant. I’m extremely goal-oriented, and my biggest fear is not growing in some aspect as a person. Especially when it comes to my art. When I’m determined to do something, it gets done. I just recently dropped out of college to pursue photography full-time, and I’ve accomplished more in photography than in my two years of school, and it’s only the beginning. I know photography is what I’m supposed to do. It’s all I have.

Is there one key concept or theme you’ve found consistently expressed in your work or that pops out for you in the work of others?

The concept of surrealism is something I really pay attention to in artwork. Taking something completely “normal” and transforming it into something extraordinary. I love art that has imagination and feeling. Art that can speak to you. Visual language is unique because it transcends everything we as people seek to divide ourselves by: religion, race, sex, social class, etc. People from completely different walks of life can get the same feeling from a photo, and that’s amazing.

What’s one of your favorite pieces (that you’ve created)?

“Amethyst Tides 2.0”

What’s the usual price range in which you sell your artwork?

I have prints available from $20 and prints that have sold for $250. I’m really flexible in working with anyone interested in supporting my art. It just depends on what that particular client is looking for and their budget.

Where can TM readers learn more about you?

I’m most active on Instagram @shadownoir and my website is

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