Turtel Onli


Onli is a creative artist whose career has touched upon a variety of disciplines. He has been an art therapist, educator, and illustrator. He has also distinguished himself in painting, drawing, illustration, publishing, fashion, and multimedia production. This includes an extensive exhibition and publication record. He is known for having coined the term Rhythmistic to interpret his stylizations which fuse primitive and futuristic concepts. Onli earned a BFA and MAAT from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago which included studies in Paris France at the Sorbonne and Centre Pompidue. He has work in the collections of The Children’s Museum of Chicago, The DuSable Museum, Alice Coltrane, and has freelanced with the Rolling Stones, McDonalds, Motown, and Holt, Rinehart, &Winston to name a few.

Recently he curated a major museum type exhibition featuring the visionary charts created by his late grandfather and Onli’s own Rhythmistic paintings. This show was called, “An Artistic and Spiritual Legacy”and was presented at the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Munster Indiana.
He is a regular participant n the School of the Art Institute’s annual alumni fundraiser, Barewalls! Along with various art fairs in the Midwest. He is expanding his Rhythmistic concept to create paintings and drawings that are desirable to collectors of al levels. This includes floral, metaphysical concepts,
religious themes, and abstractions. All of them are treated with some aspects of the Rhythmistic construct. This growing body of originals and prints is a practical way for collectors to extend the pleasure and value of their collections.
Onli feels that ownership is the highest form of appreciation. This works for the home, business or place of meditation. He is available for commissions as well.

Turtel Onli is the “Father” of the “Black Age of Comics”concept.

Career landmarks:

  • 1970 Founded the Black Arts Guild which featured touring art exhibitions and publishing.
  • 1974 Published “Funk Book” & BAG greeting cards.
  • 1977 Fine art accepted in the 2nd World Festival of Black and African Art and Culture in Lagos Nigeria.
  • 1980 Co-published a “zine” called “PAPER: with the Osun Center of The Arts.
  • 1981-82 Published NOG: The Protector of the Pyramides, and five issues of another early “zine’, “Future-Funk”.
  • 1984-89 Opened and directed the Black on Black Love Fine Arts Center in the Robert Taylor Public Housing Development, and directed the Cosmopolitan Daydream Talent management company.

The ‘90s until present

Officially re-introduced the term the Black Age of Comics in 1990 at the Chicago Comic Con in a social meeting with Denys Cowan, Gil Ashley, Rex Perry, and Mike Davis. Published Malcolm-10, Sustah-Girl: Queen of the Black Age (With Cassandra Washington), and NOG is BACK!!!. Illustrated the Grammar Patrol, The Numidian Force, and various freelance assignments. Featured in a zine by Pedro Bell of P-Funk fame called “ZEEP”

Organized the first and many more Black Age of Comics Conventions in Chicago. Worked with Omega Seven, Alonzo Washington, Roland Laird, Harlem Week, the San Diego Comic Con, The Chicago Comic Con, Milestone Media and Cassandra Washington on a landmark Black Comics Tour. Distributed Black Age books on a national level. Featured on the “E” Channel in a special dealing with independent comic books and animation.

On local cable TV and college radio Onli would present a state of the Black Age annual show.

Became a full time teacher of Visual Art and a coach for Girls Varsity basketball in the Chicago Public School System. This also included an after school program in Comic book art/ publishing that led to the publication of a student created anthology.

Created and maintains the internet based Rhythmistic Museum as a resource on appreciating specific art movements as the Black Age and Rhythmism.

Personal quote:

“This is a war of minds, creativity, and culture to secure market share and to change lives in the past, present, and future. Take a licking and come out kicking. A positive fantasy life usually results in a positive reality.”

You can find out more about Onli and his artwork by putting his full name into an internet based search engine such as Yahoo.com or go to dablackage.blogspot.com or Email: Multiglobe@aol.com

Onli and Avery Brooks Photo – In 1995 he was asked by Avery Brooks of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fame to come to the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta to present the Black Age of Comics

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