Art & Soul: Boxx the Artist has built her business with talent and entrepreneurial savvy

As Boxx the Artist transitioned from teenager to young adulthood, she achieved all of the advised milestones: the robust college experience, the dual degree, the career. But as her jobs progressed from project management to marketing to tech, she found herself laid off — twice.

After the first time, Boxx took out a paint kit she’d bought that had been sitting unopened for a year. After the second, she committed to art as her future. Would it be stable at first? Maybe not. But she decided there was no going back.

“Once I figured out what the ‘what’ was, which was art, I was like, OK, let’s create a business around this,” said Boxx, who prefers to be identified by her artist name, which incorporates her surname.

The artist’s entrepreneurial know-how and talent have led her to show work at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, to install murals in Indianapolis and to be honored as one of the 2023 Hoosier Women Artists by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.

Boxx The Artist uses acrylics, digital, public art, photography and film to explore the African Diaspora. She is one of four featured in Indy Arts Council's 2024 Art & Soul program, which will celebrate Black artists and Indiana Avenue.

Boxx, 33, is also one of four featured artists for this year’s Art & Soul, the Indy Arts Council’s annual celebration of Black creatives. Patrons will see her work and live-painting at events throughout February.

Growing up with eight siblings in Gary, Boxx sought quiet and solitude through art. The artist’s maternal grandmother, who lived with the family, would request drawings by her little granddaughter and then tape them to the wall.

“She knew who I was before I knew who I was,” Boxx said.

She stopped drawing when she attended Purdue University but found new explorations as part of the Black Cultural Center’s artistic ensembles. She studied multimedia production and political science, entrepreneurship and the African Diaspora.

Art & Soul 2024:A celebration of Black artists, Indiana Avenue and ‘The Naptown Experience’

The latter especially continues to inspire the artist’s work. Boxx paints portraits, and Nina Simone, James Baldwin and Kobe Bryant have all come from her hand. Her interviews with dark-skinned Black women led to “The Women in Between” — a multidimensional project that includes portraits and a documentary film that highlights their experiences, challenges and triumphs. Another series called “Hand Wash, Don’t Bleach” celebrates darker skin tones as well.

“I like to focus a lot on deep melanin, dark melanin when it comes to creating different subjects,” Boxx said. “Sometimes I feel like, honestly, that this isn’t the art that most places want. They don’t want it there; they don’t want to hang it there. I guess it’s a little bit uncomfortable. So with that, I wanted to create a series that kind of preserved that and brought pride back to dark melanated subjects.”

In the midst of painting, public art, photography and film, Boxx makes sure there’s room for another endeavor, too. Her nonprofit Arthentic Arts provides resources to help creatives — and especially those from underrepresented backgrounds — write artist statements, resumes and other materials that will advance their careers.

“People tell me to focus on one thing, and it’s like, that’s never been my story,” Boxx said.

If you go

Feb. 2: Art & Soul kickoff. Art exhibit (5-9 p.m.) and performances. (Gallery 924 and The Cabaret. 924 N. Pennsylvania St. Free. RSVP for 6 p.m. performance at

Feb. 7: Featured Artist Music Showcase. 5 p.m. doors for drinks and dinner, with pre-show art by Boxx the Artist.The (Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave. $15+.

Feb. 23: Celebration and Naptown Tribute. Live music, dancing and vendors with a finale that celebrates Indiana Avenue’s music with the 2024 featured artists. (5 p.m. Indianapolis Artsgarden, above Illinois and Washington streets. Free. RSVP at

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Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

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