Hasani Claxton was raised on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. He always loved art, but had never met a successful, professional artist when he was growing up. He studied Business at Morehouse College (1999) and Law at Columbia University (2003). While he was serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, he began taking evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and in 2005 decided to pursue his passion full time, enrolling in Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He earned his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 2009 and later that year attended the Illustration Master Class at Amherst College. He currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
It’s rare that I designate an artist a Sword and Soul artist unless I’ve work them him or her, but Hasani’s work in not new to me. A few months ago the painting above, ‘Knights of the Savanna’ on a Black Arts website. I was immediately excited. It was the first time I’d seen a recent painting of the yan lifida, the quilted armored cavalry of the Sokoto Caliphate. I immediately searched for him but unfortunately his first name was misspelled and I came up with nothing. A month ago a Facebook friend posted one of his famous fairy paintings and this time his name was spelled correctly. I went to his site (http://www.hasaniclaxton.com/) and was immediately captivated. It was like finding a long lost Sword and Soul brother. Here is an artist where the Sword and Soul spirit came naturally, where the frustration of finding Sword and Sorcery images that reflected our heritage spurred him to create them himself.
In his own words:
“As a child I was fascinated by tales of sword and sorcery such as King Arthur and Lord of the Rings. It was not until adulthood that I noticed that within the fantasy genre African people were either left out entirely or portrayed as grotesque stereotypes: the voodoo witchdoctor, or savage warrior with a bone in his nose. My art remedies this, drawing upon the majesty of African history and mythology to tell the forgotten stories of medieval Africa and create new fantasy worlds.”
I was so impressed by his work that I immediately commissioned him for an illustration in the upcoming Griots Sisters of the Spear anthology. I have also selected him as the cover and interior artist for Changa’s Safari Volume Three. It’s rare to work with an artist that already carries the sensibilities of the Sword and Soul subject matter and it’s great to have another example of Sword and Soul expression. You can also check Hasani out at
Sword and Soul Forever!