Abe Ilo is an emerging artist who was inspired by his grandmother, the late Annie F. Lee, whose paintings depict African Americans in everyday life. Ironically, after spending three decades enjoying everyday life with his grandmother, art feels like a passion that found him suddenly. Today, Abe is a self-taught painter. He creates primarily with acrylic paint on canvas and is attracting attention in the art world.
An entrepreneurial teenager, Abe airbrushed jeans and gym shoes for friends. He enjoyed the creative expression yet didn’t consider himself an artist. Abe accepted his artistic calling and began painting in 2013. Although he was painting for himself, his work kept selling. Abe kept painting.
His paintings confront the forces that challenge our humanity, spirituality and creativity. One of his favorite pieces titled “Big Pharma” is a response to the impact of pharmaceutical drugs on society. Abe wants his work to represent our inherent spiritual wealth and abundance. “Ultimately, I want people to feel a personal connection to my work, one that fills a void like a missing puzzle piece.”
Greatly inspired by Annie Lee, he also studied her contemporaries and the Harlem Renaissance artists who proceeded them. In 2016, Abe founded the Annie F. Lee Foundation to honor his grandmother and her philanthropic commitment to education.
Born and raised in Chicago, Abe Ilo lives near Dallas, Texas.