"NOG Emerges" 2021 Copyright 2021 Turtel Onli

"NOG Emerges" 2021 Copyright 2021 Turtel Onli
Inspired by "NOG" being the Future-Primitif face of the blockbuster group exhibition at the change making, trend setting Museum of Contemporary Art, Summer / Fall 2021 called "Chicago Comics: 1960 Until Now", curated by Dan Nadel. . NOG was mural sized on the MCA's outer wall near the door to its Museum Store which featured NOG merchandise in the form of a Tote Bag, post cards, a ever-cool NOG Sketch Book, plus autographed copies of "Tales From The Rhyhthmic Zone", the Graphic Novel that includes expanded versions of the original NOG stories. So Rhythmistic!

Friday, July 22, 2022

"If you are looking for creativity, you have come to the right place!"

To start click the large arrow then the lower left smaller arrow.
Animation courtesy of R. T. Younger

Afrofuturism includes the musical power of P-Funk & George Clinton in its foundations. Prof. Onli was one of those illustrators who worked on a hit album cover for Clinton/P-Funk back in the day. 

 Onli has contributed much more to the visual arts world.  

Then, now, & later!

Check it out......!

Onli was drawing blueprints for starships in the late 1970s for various magazines that were covering sci-fi and fantasy. They knew his Future-Primitif treatments were the right choice.

(To enlarge for an improved experience simply click on the images.)

NOTE: Be sure to look for the link to older and important posts on this blog. There is so much to experience in the visual art practice of the most important Rhythmistic, Future-Primitif Visual artist, Prof. Turtel Onli, M.A.A.T.  The following images are introductory selections from entire dedicated thematic bodies of work he has produced, exhibited and offers for the right institution or collector.  

Onli designed this dymaxion vehicle for the early 1980s film project, "Fantasy Lifestyle World"
It took Hollywood how long to catch up to that Future-Primitive vision?

Afrofuturism's trending has provided a kindred path to Rhythmism.  Being Future-Primitif, Rhythmism has long been expressed and explored by Onli as the over-arching thesis in his creative practice for decades. 

"The Art Star Denim Installation", 
presented at the DuSable Museum of Black History, Chicago.

"Fear No Maskings" From the "No Evils" Collection. 
Presented at the University of Illinois, African AMerican Cultural Center, Chicago and 
the ETA Foundation for the Creative Arts, Chicago.

"Only wear, ONLIWEAR" one of a kind / limited edition wearable art. 
Presented at the international Limelight Club, Hyde Part Art Center, Chicago.

"Kokopeliart" From the "Rhythmistic Quilts" Collection.

"I Dream of Jimi" From the "Rhythmistic Jimi" project.
Presented at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Musuem Store, 
CAN-TV, Chicago, Ars International, Austria

"NOG: The Nubian of Greatness" Collection is coming from the Rhythmic Zone.

The "Its A Rhythmistic World" globe in the traveling Cool Globes public Art collection.
Presented in San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, Copenhagen, and other cites on its work tour.

"Shorties" From the "Passion Fruit" Collection.
Presented at ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 
The African American Cultural Center, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Onli wants art enthusiasts to think of each collection as a distinct Future-Primitif "production". Visual Art as performance.  Paintings and Drawings as staged characters. Each work a variation on a specific theme. Visual art that is hand-crafted to show the dynamic potential of the human touch and the visual vocabulary.  

They are conceptualized and edited with distinguishable artistic parameters that often go beyond trends, and tastes.  In the tradition of experimental narrative art where the viewer has options for discovery and re-contextualization that transcend like or dislike.  

Each of these Rhythmistic visual art productions is rich in stimulating content.  
Where a work of visual art is still worth a thousand words.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Prof. Onli is deep in the process of creating a new body of Rhythmistic werx derived from the images in his 1981 innovative Graphic Novel, "NOG: The Protector of the Pyramides". 

Not only was NOG the first Future-Primitif character published and created by a Black owned operation, NOG predated the advent of the term "Afrofuture" by decades.  

The trending of "Afrofuturism" has given a lot of folks a path to finally appreciate what Onli has been doing since the early 1970s in Art Therapy, Art Education, Creative Community Building, Illustration, Fine Art, Murals and Graphic Novels. 

During peak COVID lockdown Onli was honored with a commission from the ROCTOBER 'ZINE
to illustrate the late, great, Sun Ra, one of the founding architects of Afrofuturism.

His Future-Primitif narrative and flowing have been a baffling challenge for clients, curators, critics imitators, haters, and instructors.  However, Onli stayed the course over the decades. 

He is currently under contract to properly archive his intellectual assets, critical writing and scholarly papers.  Including published works, reviews of his efforts and a wide range of important memorabilia.  This will ensure that insightfully astute students and researchers will have direct access to this trove of experimentation and applications of his Rhythmistic Future-Primitif theories. 

Art enthusiasts and curators will note that Onli is using high quality archival oil paints on cured wood along with some serious acrylic paint applications.  His Rhythmistic flow of ideas and esthetic laces intricately with the narrative of the Nubian of Greatness that is NOG The Protector of the Pyramides!

 Prof. Onli is a vintage visual Rhythmistic Future-Primitif artist whose practice embraces digital and video productions, stage and film along with music and indie Graphic Novels publishing.  
ONLI STUDIOS LLC has provided mentoring and internships over the decades.  

Onli is an advocate of the melding of creativity, culture & commerce.

Thursday, June 16, 2022


Unfortunately for so many folks the term "Black" is an uncomfortable word or term. For others it is a positive way to self-determine and celebrate the profound characteristics of the entire group of African descendants who by way of Africa-to-America-Slavery suffered, then thrived in the Americas.  

These bold unique people had a very successful cultural revolution in the late 1960s.  

They challenged the thesis that all things Black were bad.  Then they decided this entire group of African descendants would be called, "BLACK"!  Not Negro, not Creole, not Octoroon.....nor anti-White........but simply, "BLACK!  That was a bold revolution for the ages!

But secretly many folks still hated having to use the term "Black" and were later relieved when a non-Black man offered the term "Afrofuturism".  Plus this anointed culture-vulture described it as absolutely attached to the suffering legacy of slavery and that these practices were only valued as incidences of resistance to oppression.  Therefore, derived from and forever absolutely bonded to the behavior of the oppressors.  
Where is the Kwanzaa or self-determination in that?

  1. Kujichagulia (Self-determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.)

 But Cool. Here we be.  The above are a few books Prof. Onli is strongly suggesting for folks to take a dive into.

Black is about living free! To be pro-Black is not to be anti-anyone else or oppositional to another culture. Black Culture has long won the global cultural wars as manifested in Music, Dance, and Sports.  It is the continual cultural energizer in contemporary and modern Americana. Blacks evolved on their own terms with a set of dynamic practices and brilliant ideologies that were not linked to oppression or its immense spectrum of pathologies. 

Those who still think of Black as negative and love oppression would never accept or support that there is much more to the Black Experience than suffering, being oppressed, acts of resistance & violence.

 Happy reading and thanks again for dropping by!


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

 ONLI STUDIOS LLC publishes outstanding limited-edition indie Graphic Novels produces highly valued, museum quality,  Rhythmistic Fine Art and creative events.  

This coming Juneteenth, 2022 Weekend we will be in two signings per our Rhythmistic Characters & Graphic Novels.  They will be introducing it free-to-fans over-sized Trading Cards designed & illustrated by ONLI STUDIOS'  hot nu artiste, Johnathan Ford.

June 18th Noon until 3pm: 
At the Alley Cat Comic Book Store. 
At 5304 No. Clark, in the rear.

Signing the impactful historic anthology, "It's Life As I See It!"  which includes Onil's first published Rhythmistic Future-Primitif character, NOG: The Nubian of Greatness.  The book covers important Black Cartoonists from Chicago circa 1940 until 1980. Plus, ONLI STUDIOS LLC's Rhythmistic Graphic Novels. 

 Ford will debut and sign his "Nu-Look" Series of ONLI STUDIOS Future-Primitif trading cards.

June 19th: Noon until 5pm
 At the Trading Post Museum Store of the DuSable Museum
 at 5700 so. Cottage Grove.

Both Onli & Ford will be signing and introducing the "Nu-Look" trading cards.  Each visitor will receive a set of these autographed, highly valued cards free. 

These cards are not only in limited edition but are twice the size of trading cards sold by the mainstream. 

 It is ONLI STUDIOS' way of showing appreciation for four decades of indie publishing and production.


Prof. Turtel Onli M.A.A.T. Publisher / Producer / Founder of ONLI STUDIOS LLC

Monday, May 30, 2022


Free Trading Cards at the Trading Post Museum Store!

 CHICAGO- Juneteenth, June 19th, 2022, from Noon until closing, the Trading Post Museum Shop of the DuSable Museum of Black History will be hosting a special Graphic Novels' and Trading Cards' Signing featuring the "Father of the Black Age of Comics", Prof. Turtel Onli. 


 Added guest will be Johnathan Ford, the dynamic illustrator per the ONLI STUDIOS' "Nu Look" over-sized, limited-edition highly valued trading cards. 


ONLI STUDIOS LLC provides its fans readers, customers, and collectors with free, over-sized, limited edition Trading Cards of its Rhythmistic characters to express its appreciation for the independently minded support these enthusiasts demonstrate.  

This bold move to buy and embrace fresh, expansive creative characters that are robustly independent of the predictable orthodoxy of the mainstream is worthy of encouragement.

The mainstream's trading-cards are often less than half the size of the ones from ONLI STUDIOS and usually are not free!

Ford will be there signing the release of these cool hot cards for fans, collectors and lovers of art & history.

Prof. Onli is called the "Father of the Black Age" for coining the term, The "Black Age of Comics" as an affirming genre that celebrates material, concepts and creators derived from the Black, Urban, African and Alternative experience in 1993.  Plus, ONLI STUDIOS produced the world's first open source, indie Black Age Comic-Con

in 1993.  It was the first event of its type.  Since then, many have scaffolded on the ONLI STUDIOS model.  

Due to COVID considerations this event is now an annual virtual production and has been rebranded, "Black Sankofa"!

FACT CHECK: The ONLI STUDIOS event is the first of its kind to be open to all folks, Black, White, Brown, Gay, Queer, Bi, Disabled, and Hot. 

This started in 1993 at a time when the mainstream comics world would never do such a thing and the current rash of imitators would not have been that bold and resourceful to expand the industry with both a radical new genre and a model event for those to learn and be safe in exploring and sharing of themselves.

Friday, May 20, 2022

In 1983, for the 25th Anniversary convention of the National Conference of Artis, Onli was selected to create an illustration for the convention's program book.  Onli took this as both a great honor but also a fantastic opportunity to display Rhythmism.  They gave him a one-day deadline, which was something in his illustration practices was very common. Unfiltered Future-Primitif it would be.  Looking both ways.  Forward and backward. learning and retaining. Planting and harvesting.  From one's collective primary consciousness to one's bondless untold productive imagination.   

(Onli had launched the term Rhythmism in the early 1970s when he was the Founding Director of B.A.G. " The Black Arts Guild. They were so not ready for that.  Plus coming from a youthful 20-year-old. NOPE!)

Needless to say, in 1983, there was still this incredible continued push-back from most of the prime participants of the "Black Art Movement" and the Cultural Nationalist types. They were intensely orthodox.  They robustly insisted it was simply "Black Art"!  That Rhythmism could not be since art should or could not be categorized. 

Then as now, their thesis of "Black Art" was often a nexus of poor to limited technique and skill.  With the subject manner derived from traumatic episodes of Black and African suffering from slavery, exploitation, or colonialization. Plus add images of selected Black or African historical figures or personalities.  They valued a lack of skill as being more authentic.  More powerful?

"Iman" circa 1978 Copyright 1987 Turtel Onli. Ink on vellum. 
Created in the library of the Centre Pompidue, Paris.

Thus, really "Blacker"!  That having competitive skills and technique fit for an Oba or a Pharoah was actually being caught up in a "White Art Thing".  And taking on the challenges of commercial competition,,,,,well that was totally demised as "selling out"!

"Femme Chat" Circa 1977. Created for MODE Avantgarde Magazine.
 Copyright 1995 Turtel Onli

That was so not him. Onli was always looking at every option to display aspects of Rhythmism as a Future-Primitif genre to expand the constricting canon of the international visual art world, Fine and Commercial. Illustrating the cover of the program book was a rare iconic moment.  The NCA / National Conference of Artist was the oldest organization for the celebration and promotion of Black and African Visual Artists.  This was its 25th anniversary celebration. 

Rhythmism would be its face. Future-Primitif all the way!

"Rhythmistic Fatherhood" circa 1974.  Acrylics on canvas. 18" X 40".
Copyright 2022 Turtel Onli.
 Destroyed in a studio fire in 2001.

But beyond the novelty of being a Black person making art about the narratives of the Black experience, it was pretty stale to me.  Onli was bringing the heat.  The fire, flow and funk plus his world-class cascading skill-set that included illustrating for some of the largest publishing & broadcasting companies of that era. 

Published in the Paris Metro American English Magazine in 1978 as the "Punk" scene was exploding.
The insert in this illustration credits Onli at age 26 for creating the term
Rhythmism ani exhibiting in a solo showcase in Paris at the FIAP 1978.

 Onli was seriously taking the artistic and creative fight to the belly of the beasts,,,,known as systemic racism, heterophobia, classism, orthodoxy, tribalism, and agism.