Let’s talk: Black History Month


When I stepped into the role of CEO and owner at talkStrategy, I knew that I had the huge responsibility to foster a brave space coupled with an inclusive agency culture open to all perspectives. I don’t take this responsibility lightly. I am proud of the team we have built, each person bringing their own perspectives to the work, to the enrichment of the agency and to each other as individuals. Beginning this month, we will embark on a year-long journey to learn more about each other, explore new perspectives, and have candid conversations. As communications professionals, our role is to help brands navigate the modern channel ecosystem. We hope this endeavor will introduce new thinking, making us better communicators, better stewards of the ecosystem, and frankly better humans. To ensure we have diverse perspectives, the exploration will be spearheaded by rotating members of our team of talkStrategists. I hope you join us over the next weeks and months, as well as join in the dialogue.

Let's talk: Art Sims

During this Black History Month, we are taking the time to acknowledge and honor Black professionals who have made contributions to the Marketing and Communications industry as a whole, as well as recognizing those who are history in the making. Next, we’re highlighting the distinctive graphic art and entrepreneurial spirit of Art Sims.

Art Sims, CEO, graphic designer and art director

Born in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan, Art Sims is a graphic designer and art director well known for his film posters championing the stories of Black Americans. Working with the likes of Spike Lee and Steven Spielberg, Sims has designed for Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, The Color Purple, and, more recently Black Panther.

From his first foray into the art world, Sims excelled. He attended Detroit’s Cass Technical High School and gained acceptance to the University of Michigan on a full scholarship. Before his senior year, Sims landed a job with Columbia Records to produce a series of album covers. After graduation, Sims felt drawn to Los Angeles, California and made the move.

Sims scored a job in LA with EMI, although he was ultimately let go for pursuing his freelance work. He went on to work for CBS where he continued building his independent portfolio. This time when he was let go, he had already prepared a new office space for his own design and advertising firm.

Do The Right Thing, movie poster, Art Sims, 1989

Independently, Sims began designing his most famous work. It began with Spike Lee’s iconic movie She’s Gotta Have It, which inspired Sims to seek out the legendary director. Despite having never designed a movie poster before, the connection between Art and Spike marked the beginning of a long relationship and resulted in a multitude of emblematic graphic art for some of Spike’s most beloved films, including Malcolm X and Do The Right Thing. The popularity of Sims’ movie posters was a result of his dedication to research, thought, and creativity.

Sims’ work is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the National Mall. He is the CEO and co-founder of 11:24 Design Advertising in Los Angeles, the first Black-owned design company in Los Angeles. The company is a full service entertainment communications agency that specializes in developing game-changing strategies and creative that compel young Black American consumers to act. Ever the entrepreneur, Sims is now also developing his own greeting card line and writing screenplays, while teaching middle school graphic design.


Art has explained that the meaning behind 11:24 encompasses his search for spiritual purpose through craft. The name 11:24 refers to a Bible verse in the Book of Mark: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Thank you for taking to the time to learn more with us about the impact of Black professionals in the field. Stay tuned throughout the coming months for more moments of reflection and homage. Follow for more talkStrategy storytelling at @wetalkstrategy.

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