The Visual Artist: Deun Ivory

One look at Deun Ivory’s work feels like a breath of Black excellence. As a multidisciplinary artist, the former art and English teacher now works to celebrate Black womanhood through photography, illustration, and writing. As the art director for Lauren Ash’s Black Girl in Om and cofounder of the social affirmation brand Lifestyle with Ivory + Ash, Ivory’s visual pieces aim to blend the worlds of women of color, health, wellness, and art.
“Through my photography, I can provide visibility,” she says. Last month, she launched her first book, Black Women and Good Grain, a photo journal showcasing women of color through imagery, poetry, and letters of affirmation. “I’m putting Black women at the forefront of a gorgeous aesthetic, because a lot of times, you don’t see that.”
The Chicago-based creative says that not only are women of color undervalued in mainstream media, but also art like hers isn’t as financially supported as work by her male counterparts.
“I don’t want to come off like I’m money hungry, but sometimes I get offers where I want to say ‘I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you I’m worth this much, because if you’re reaching out to me, you know that I am providing something invaluable,” she says. She adds that unequal pay for Black women isn’t something that will get fixed unless we talk about it. “It’s important that we consistently affirm each other through words, think pieces, events, and work that resonates with our community.”
The artist adds that she’s always eager to collaborate with other creators, whether it’s on blogs or social campaigns spotlighting women of color. “There are so many Black women doing amazing things right now, and the best part is that there’s a place at the table for everyone.”
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of 20 Black women who kicked down doors in their fields this past year. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.