Elgin Bokari T. Smith headshot

Elgin Bokari T. Smith

Teaching Arts
Graphic Artist & Educator

Elgin Bokari T. Smith (aka Kari the Illustrator) is an artist, social activist, and educator who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Discovering a passion for art in elementary school while drawing his favorite cartoon characters on his homework, Elgin was encouraged to pursue art by his sixth-grade teacher. He then attended Central Visual and Performing Arts High School where he studied visual arts, ceramics, and piano. In 2009, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Illustration and Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduation, Elgin worked as an assistant for Chicago artist Theaster Gates.

Elgin has collaborated with Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and Northwestern University School of Law on projects around juvenile justice, including producing the zine Youth Stories and creating illustrations for Your Guide to the Juvenile Justice System. He has worked as a teaching artist for organizations including Changing Worlds, Columbia College Chicago, Gary Comer Youth Center, and Kuumba Lynx. Elgin is the Program Director of Free Write Arts & Literacy and President of the activist and artist collective, Elephant Rebellion. He is also the co-creator of Pocket Con, an annual comic book convention that celebrates characters of color.

Featured Artworks

  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork
  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork
  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork
  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork
  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork
  • Elgin Bokari T. Smith artwork