LOVE - HEALING - KNOWLEDGE - FREEDOM
Bayou Bay (born name Donald Thomas) (he/they/stardust pronouns)
I am a Twin Cities based artist and designer born in St. Paul on the occupied lands of the Dakota & Anishinaabe peoples. I create mixed-media art called Affirmation Mirrors composed mostly of fabric wrapped wood, yarn, mirrors, and beads. I also create murals, art installations, digital illustrations, digital and print materials for artists and organizations, woodwork, and works as a teaching artist.
My art and design embody themes of nature from the micro to the cosmic, black and collective liberation, healing trauma, time, portals, geometry, setting intentions for affirmations, asking questions, symbols, and identity exploration. Water is an especially strong theme in my work as HaHa Wakpa (the Mississippi River) has been a major influence in many levels of Bayou’s life.
I am a member of the Million Artist Movement (MAM) artist cooperative, 1/3rd of the Studio Thalo artist collective and a collaborating muralist with the Creatives After Curfew mural collective.
As a member of MAM since 2015, I deeply believe in the MAM philosophy that everyone is an artist and this philosophy guides my community artwork. Being a member of MAM has changed my life as an artist, black creative, and shown me the strength in supporting each other in our daily and future lives. Power Gatherings, Bootcamps, and the love of chosen family within MAM is a major factor of why I have been successful as a community artist.
In 2016 I opened Studio Thalo in South Minneapolis with Olivia Levins-Holden and Nell Pierce after we collaborated on a mural. In 2018 we began collaboraing on live painted graphic recordings with a mural style and in 2020 we moved to the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis to join the Public Functionary collective of cooperative art studios.
In 2020 after the police murder of George Floyd I connected with other friends and mural artists and began the foundations for what would become the Creatives After Curfew mural collective. Collectively we have worked on many murals on both sides of the river centering Black and collective liberation.
Some of the organizations and artists I have had the privilege of working with include: Pollen, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Our Justice (fka Pro-Choice Resources), Northern Lights, Exposed Brick Theatre, Jordan Hamilton, Resmaa Menakem, Saba Shabazz, Melanie G. S. Walby, Sha Cage, E.G. Baily, Black Table Arts, Made Here, CTUL, Cycles for Change, The Audubon Society, Staff at Minneapolis Libraries, The Bell Museum, The Aspen Institute and many more.
To use my talents in art, design, and idea connecting to generate and support community-driven creative works that center healing, empowerment, liberation, collaboration, abundance mentality, and cooperative economics.
Please fill out the form to connect with me or Studio Thalo.