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Valley artist blends historical black icons with contemporary leaders

PHOENIX -- February marks Black History Month, and one Valley artist has created an organization to help today's youth focus its anger through art.

"A lot of times when you see a Black History exhibit, you just see Harriet Tubman, you see MLK, you see the regulars," says T.M. Noel, CEO of Angry Houze of Sketch. "But what I do is I put (Notorious B.I.G.) next to MLK, or I put (Tupac) next to Malcolm X, or I put Left Eye [from TLC] next to Rosa Parks."

His work bridges the gap between generations, so that the youth can stand beside the adults and view it, he said.

As a graffiti artist who painted legal murals for money, Noel specializes in sketches of black leaders.

"What we're about is brushes and pencils, not bullets and pistols," Noel said. "(It) is curbing the violence and the anger and putting it on canvas and expressing yourself."

Noel's art is currently on display for Black History Month at Phoenix City Hall in the atrium. It's also on the second floor of Arizona State University's downtown campus.

For more information or to see some of Noel's work, go to AngryHouzeofSketch.org.

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