For BmoreArt’s Conversations Podcast #4, Jermaine T. Bell interviews wood carver, illustrator, muralist, and teacher Espi Frazier .

Espi Frazier was born in 1951. She grew up in Chicago and completed a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she became a member of the influential Black Arts Guild. In 1993 she came to Baltimore to attend MICA’s Hoffberger School of painting on a Philip Morris Fellowship.

Over the past twenty years, Frazier has given much to Baltimore’s art community as a longtime art teacher at the Friends School, the Creative Alliance, and Howard University and also as a muralist. Her contributions as an exhibiting artist in Baltimore and elsewhere are significant and numerous.

Epsi Frazier and Jermaine Bell.

Espi Frazier and Jermaine T. Bell



Frazier with large wood relief carving.


Frazier invented a technique called ‘wood graphics,’ which uses colored inks to stain and embellish hand-carved, wooden relief sculptures. Her stylized, yet sensitive, portraits are inspired by great American artist Charles White, as well as African, Caribbean, Egyptian, and Japanese art history. In addition to her wooden figures, the artist creates mixed media collage and illustration. No matter what the media, Frazier presents the female figure as a goddess and life giver and emphasizes the integral beauty of African people.


Carved figure. Photo by Jermaine T. Bell.

Carved wood figure. Image courtesy of the artist.





The wall in Espi Frazier’s home/studio.






Portrait of the artist with large drawing, in her home/studio.



Collection of Frazier’s African Masks.



Ink drawing . Image courtesy of the artist.


Coffee table in living room. Photo by Jermaine T. Bell.

Coffee table arrangement in living room.



Corner wall of home/studio.


Drawing Image courtesy of the artist.

Drawing Image courtesy of the artist.



Espi shares watermelon with her BmoreArt guests.


“Conversations” is funded by a Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant administered through The Contemporary of Baltimore.

All photos  by Jermaine T. Bell unless otherwise noted.