artnet’s Alex Benrimon sat down with New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas (American, b.1971) in her studio in Brooklyn. Thomas, well known for her rhinestone, enamel, and acrylic paintings, as well as her Blaxploitation-style portraits of black women, explores modern notions of beauty and sexuality, drawing heavily from pop culture and Pop Art. She received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in 2000, and earned an MFA from Yale University in 2002. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and The Renaissance Society in Chicago. The artist famously painted the first individual portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. During the interview, Thomas discusses her experiences as an art student, how interiors factor into her works, how being a mother has affected her, and her various recent projects, such as her mural at the Barclays Center. Watch the interview now to learn more about the artist.