Anton Studios

Trailblazer, Visionary, Activist & Entrepreneur

The early beginnings…

In 1963, Leo founded and ran a successful African American fine art and greeting card company called Anton Studios. The cards were an inspiration to the black community because the images featured African Americans at a time where representation was far and few. This led to Leo working as a cartoonist and he was syndicated in 93 African American newspapers throughout the United States. 

Leo was inspired to change the narrative around how blacks were portrayed in the history books and produced positive images of self to uplift young black children in his community. Here is an excerpt from a 1968 interview in which he addresses why he founded Anton Studios and why he wanted to highlight black excellence through visual art:

“The black man was psyched. Very thoroughly brainwashed, so that there’s a great lacking in the black psychology. One of the ways that the black man was brainwashed and psyched was in destroying his image of himself. So, it’s one of those things that we must address as a society because we were removed from the history books. You have to teach and instill a sense of pride in his own history and not only his own history but his own image. You see I suffer from this because I went to very good schools in New York and was educated just like the whites were educated because I had a special talent. Came the day when I looked for my own image and I had none because all my values were white values. As far as beauty and importance, they were all white values, so I had no black ambition, no black values of myself.”



Black Afro-Centric Greeting Cards

Leo didn’t see any black images when he went to get his mother a Christmas card. So he did something about it. One of the first images of a black Jesus or a black Santa was most likely illustrated by Leo Carty in the 1950’s. Enjoy this gallery of greeting cards produced by Leo Carty and Anton Studios…

Leo Carty Published

Upon returning to New York, Leo launched a career in commercial art, where he did freelance illustrations for children’s books of major publications, including McGraw-Hill, Viking Press, E.P. Hutton and others. Leo also taught at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus and worked for the New York City Department of Health.

Nat Turner by Judith Berry Griffin
Illustrated by Leo Carty

Where Does the Day Go? by Walter M. Myers
Illustrated by Leo Carty

I Love Gram by Ruth Sonneborn
Illustrated by Leo Carty

50,000 Names for Jeff by Anne Snyder
Illustrated by Leo Carty

Sidewalk Story by Sharon Bell Mathis
Illustrated by Leo Carty

A Tree for Tompkins Park by Dawn Thomas
Illustrated by Leo Carty

You cannot copy content of this page