The Bronzeville-based 47-year-old has had his figurative paintings shown in local galleries like Guichard and NYCH, but after losing his job as a computer programmer, and inspired by the George Floyd protests, Carter decided last summer to commit to a new style he’d contemplated for many years. Envisioning a three-dimensional painting, he began his series Toy Figures, in which he renders an influential Black individual like James Baldwin or Nina Simone in acrylic on canvas, then affixes to it action figures he’s spray-painted. The result is a highly textured, distinctly lambent portrait that pops in photos. (In the past year, Carter has added nearly 6,000 Instagram followers.) Why action figures? “I’m a huge Star Wars guy,” he says. “Luke Skywalker is my dude.” And there’s a deeper reason: Carter points out that the figures stand atop the portraits, conveying that even famous Black people throughout history have been oppressed. Now a full-time artist, Carter has recently sold works to celebrities like Lena Waithe, Anthony Adams, and India Arie. How long will he continue this format? “This is the longest [series] I’ve done, and I’ve honed it. I’m getting better and better and better at each one. But I get bored, man. I want to do something else.”