Onzie Norman (b.1980) is a self-taught painter and wood sculptor from Detroit Michigan. Onzie started in the field of carpentry in high school and later graduated from Detroit Carpenters Apprenticeship School in 2003. This craft would play an important role in his artistic development. After a vision in 2013 Onzie began to draw which lead to his experimenting with painting on wood. Onzie constructs his own canvas out of wood and primarily uses acrylic, enamel, ink, paper, sand and resin to create one of a kind abstract paintings. Onzie has worked diligently towards building his art career, with multiple solo exhibits and over 20 group exhibitions including the Bombay Artesian Series, Art Prize and the Essence Festival in New Orleans. Onzie’s artwork is in many private collections and recently his work has been acquired by NFL linebacker Deandre Levy, award winning writer/speaker Everette Taylor and American journalist and Pulitzer winner Stephen Henderson.
My art is my journey into the powerful energy of abstraction. I create abstracted figures inspired by indigenous people, African mask sculptures and the Neo-expressionism style that emerged in the late 1970’s. My figurative paintings are created with a blend of collage and paint. Often viewers will see one of the eyes blotted out in my pieces which represent the history of ethnic groups that have been wiped out. My non-representational work is abstract and free flowing, I create my own canvases out of wood which allows me to experiment with different shapes and sizes. After I pick out color combinations for each piece, I apply paint and other materials intuitively in layers utilizing shape, lines and color to create an abstract composition reminiscent of a pulsing energy.