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Javaka Steptoe entered the picture book scene in 1997 as the illustrator of the poetry anthology In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. His mixed-media collages, created from “paper with pastel; applique; and a multitude of found objects, including fabric, coins, seashells, buttons, sand, seeds, and leaves” (School Library Journal) won him instant acclaim - and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for 1998. The School Library Journal review states: “The artwork vibrates with emotion; even the simplest pieces, showing torn-paper figures on a solid background, capture the powerful bond between parent and child.”
Javaka was once the inspiration and model for his acclaimed artist father, John Steptoe, and has become an outstanding artist in his own right with a style very different from his father’s.
Mr. Steptoe states that “collage is a means of survival. It is how Black folks survived 400 years of oppression, taking the scraps of life and transforming them into art.”
Steptoe has illustrated many picture books including Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, Do You Know What I’ll Do by Charlotte Zolotow, Rain Play by Cynthia Cotton, Amiri & Odette: A Love Story by Walter Dean Myers, and Jimi: Sounds like a Rainbow by Gary Golio.
Mr. Steptoe will talk about his art and inspirations on Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 6:30 PM at the Headquarters Library in downtown Gainesville -- in Meeting Room A on the 4th floor. The program is open to all.