Chicago Artist Uses a 15th-Century Technique of the Medieval Masters to Bring Black Contemporary Portraits to Life

October 03 05:48 2022
Contemporary silverpoint artist D. Lammie-Hanson is working on a new ambitious silverpoint project chronicling her Black family life in Harlem, NYC, circa 1970s called “Dared to be Black and Shining”

CHICAGO, IL – Harlem-born, Chicago-based contemporary silverpoint artist D. Lammie-Hanson has dedicated for the past 3½ months starting in May 2022 with 3½ months to go in creating one of  the world’s largest silverpoints, measuring 8 ft x 12 ft and detailing the allegory of a moment in Black life in Harlem NYC. This artwork will be unveiled to the public in January 2023 at the Chicago Art Dept.  

Lammie-Hanson, who is a Black female artist, is one of three inaugural artists of the Artist Residency Program at Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center located at 1060 East 47th Street in the Kenwood/Bronzeville neighborhoods in Chicago. She was inspired to create this ambitious project because she wanted to share with childlike wonder memories of her childhood in Harlem. She marries her visions of modern-day Black imagery on black substrates with silverpoint which was first used by medieval scribes on manuscripts and later evolved into a type of drawing that was employed by the Old Masters like Leonardo Da Vinci and his contemporaries. It incorporates thin pieces of wire to make silver deposits onto a prepared surface. Lammie’s surfaces are covered with an extreme matte black acrylic to represent the base color for Black skin. The results are built-up finely rendered, sensitive portraits in silver that reflect light and illuminate. The tenement building and storefronts contribute to the narrative of Black life and are as much of a portrait of architecture as well as the people who are celebrated.

“I wanted to see Black skin and Black life composed with such delicacy and care in a large format that I admired in the artwork of the medieval Masters. The work is very meticulous but it is time well spent creating something beautiful and that looks like someone who you know in the Black family or community,” says Lammie-Hanson. “Black representation in fine historical pieces of art like silverpoint was either non-existent or limited. I wanted to introduce a sense of beauty, normalcy and yet something exquisite based on the concept that we are as precious and as luminescent as this piece of metal that I create with.”

Art critic Lori Waxman said in her review of Lammie-Hanson’s work, “The default color of paper is white, and when making a sketch with pen or ink that white ground is a given… That might not seem like a big deal, but consider the oeuvre of D. Lammie-Hanson, a contemporary master of the Medieval technique who specializes in pictures of Black bodies rendered with a splendor and precision that recall the work of Charles White.”’s Darla Harper wrote, “Though it’s taken time for the industry to begin acknowledging, Black women artists have always been at the forefront of prominent visual art movements and sparking crucial dialogue with their work…”  Lammie-Hanson is introducing another vein into the visual arts dialogue and bringing truth to the narrative through her silverpoint work. 


D. Lammie-Hanson has been a professional autodidactic artist since 1990. She was the chosen artist for the 2007, BAM Dance Africa in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, she taught herself silverpoint in a self-directed artist residency in Barcelona, Spain. In the same year, she exhibited one of the silverpoints she created in Barcelona at the Louisiana Contemporary presented by the Helis Foundation, New Orleans. In 2018, 22 silverpoints and 3 paintings were featured and published in the New Orleans Newspaper, Times Picayune, celebrating the New Orleans Tricentennial. In 2019, she created 25 silverpoints for the 25th Anniversary of Essence Festival with the Arts Council of New Orleans. Lammie-Hanson relocated to Chicago in late 2019. In 2021, Lammie-Hanson became a cohort of the Hyde Park Art Center, Center Program #9. In 2022, her silverpoint, “Dear Beautiful Black Boy” was acquired for the permanent collection as the first living artist, Hilliard Art Museum, University of Louisiana @ Lafayette. Also in 2022, Lammie-Hanson was accepted in the Little Black Pearl Artist Residency Program in Chicago to explore, research and complete her largest silverpoint project to date, “Dared to Be Black and Shining.”


M. Armand Morris, [email protected], (708) 668-8132

Dorothy Cokic, [email protected], 646-387-1217 


YouTube: Work in Progress Video for “Dared to be Shining” Project

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Company Name: Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center
Contact Person: Armand Morris
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City: Chicago
State: IL
Country: United States