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Recent University of Tampa grad’s art featured on cover of Time magazine

Nneka Jones is the artist behind the cover of the upcoming issue, "The New American Revolution," a series of essays about equality and racism in America.

TAMPA, Fla. — Nneka Jones thought the all-nighters of her college days were behind her.

But then the recent University of Tampa grad received an email from the art director at Time magazine.

“I couldn’t believe that it was real,” Jones said during a live interview Sunday on 10 Tampa Bay Brightside. “I actually had to do some research on him just to make sure everything was legit.”

The magazine’s director, she says, discovered her work through her Instagram account. Her previous work focuses on race, and awareness about sex trafficking and abuse. The 23-year-old calls herself an activist artist.

Jones’ latest piece—an embroidered American flag on canvas—is featured on the cover of Time magazine’s upcoming Aug. 31-Sept. 7 issue ‘The New American Revolution,’ a series of essays about racism and equality in America curated by recording artist Pharrell Williams.

“I stenciled out the design of the American flag and had the fading effect of very dark at the top,” Jones explained. “And you see these stitches remaining at the bottom and the needle is left in the piece to reinforce the symbolism of hope and remolding and reshaping this bright future we’d all like to achieve."

Jones, who grew up in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, says it usually takes her weeks to produce an embroidered piece. It's painstaking, intensive work. But in this instance, she had just 24 hours to complete it for Time’s deadline.

“It’s so much detailing and each detail is hand-stitched,” she said. "It’s not a sewing machine, it’s my fingers so it was really shocking to me I was able to achieve this.”

Her fingers were raw by the time she finished.

Jones graduated from UT in May. She plans to stay in the area and is currently searching for a studio space while she contemplates potentially pursuing her master’s of fine art, according to the university.

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