A Legacy Continued

Where It All Began

Leo S. Carty

Leo S. Carty was born on April 17, 1931 in Harlem, New York. At an early age, his artistic talent was immediately recognized when he painted a sports mural while attending a summer recreation program. At age 10, he received a scholarship to the Museum of Modern Art for Children.

After graduating from the High School of Music and Art, Leo S. Carty attended Cooper Union School of Art and later, Pratt Institute to study design. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as an artist in the Department of Training Aids in San Marcos, Texas.

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.

In 1968, Leo founded and ran a successful African American greeting card company called Anton’s Studios. The cards were an inspiration to the Black community because the images featured African Americans in 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.

From New York to the Virgin Islands

Leo moved his talents from New York to St. Croix and began to expand his style and mediums. Leo taught at the Golden Grove Correctional Facility, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Dunstans’ Episcopal School, and then devoted full-time to painting.

Leo’s impressionistic paintings adorn the walls of various buildings throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands including the Alric L. Christian federal building and Orange Grove Courthouse. Leo was only the third African American artist to receive and complete a general services administration commission. 

In 1996, Leo received his highest honor as a recipient of the Governors’ First Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

Son Strives to Continue His Father’s Legacy

Following in his father’s footsteps, Stefan Carty started painting at a young age. Though he has no formal training, Stefan learned to paint watching his dad.

In 1982, Stefan won a borough-wide art contest in Brooklyn, New York and his work was on exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Being an accomplished artist as well, Stefan was highlighted by the 2005 commission of Secretary of State Colin Powell by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Stefan specializes in original commissioned portraits that capture the soul and essence of the subject in order to evoke an emotional attachment to the piece. Stefan also has an MBA and is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He currently works as a business consultant and freelance artist.

In 2020, Stefan founded Carty Fine Art Studios in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of his father’s death. Carty Fine Art Studios is your marketplace to explore art through the lense of the African American and Caribbean West Indian experience by father and son.

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