Krista Franklin


My work emerges at the intersection of poetics, popular culture, and the dynamic histories of the African Diaspora. The Fantastic, the surreal, mythmaking, black portraiture, and the collective conscious are conceptual preoccupations of my work. The forms take shape in collage, hand papermaking, installation, poetry, letterpress, altered bookmaking and performance. I appropriate image and text as a political gesture that chisels away at the narratives historically inscribed on women and people of color, and forges imaginative spaces for radical possibilities and visions.

Black ritual, the metaphysical and the black nostalgic are core concerns in my art practice. I orchestrate the collision of past, present and future, and mine historical and fictional memory for artistic content. Artist books inspired by the novels of science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, altered books in aquariums, and handmade paper formed with mixed media are a few examples of my artistic output. I drag racialized and gendered past(s) into my work in order to reframe and realign the dynamic psychological and physical experiences of the African Diaspora in the 21st Century.

The collective and collaborative are also central to my work. I cultivate artistic community with fellow artists, writers and scholars. This materializes in a diversity of projects from sonic/music collaborations to book and exhibition making, and salons that are committed to the development of ideas and concepts. It is a vital practice for me, and a continuous undercurrent that fosters the advancement of creative liberation, reflection, scholarship and artistic communion.


Krista Franklin is the recipient of the Propeller Fund and the Albert P. Weisman Award, and has held residencies at A Studio in the Woods, Cave Canem, and the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative. Her poems and visual art have been published in Black Camera, Copper Nickel, Callaloo, Vinyl, BOMB Magazine and Encyclopedia, Vol. F-K. Willow Books published Study of Love & Black Body, her chapbook of poems, in 2012. Franklin’s work has exhibited nationally, and was featured on 20th Century Fox’s Empire (Season Two). She is the co-curator of the Chicago citywide poetry and art initiative, EKPHEST: A Festival of Art + Word, and 2nd Sun Salon, a community meeting space for writers, visual and performance artists, musicians and scholars. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts – Book & Paper from Columbia College Chicago.

© Krista Franklin