Artistic excellence comes in many forms of creative expression. Akio Evans, a graduate of Northern High School, hails from East Baltimore. His ability to use his gift to merge art with fashion, history and culture has gained recognition in celebrity circles.
“I’m a designer, filmmaker and a storyteller more so because I try to tell stories when designing art or doing film,” Evans said. “I do commission pieces, but in recent years since 2020, I’ve been commissioned to do projects for HBO Max, STARZ, Peacock. All of these are for commissioned pieces from either wardrobe or stylists.”
Evans founded his company called AkiO’s Glorious Heroes in 2015 after formally acknowledging his calling. According to his website, Evans “taught himself how to put art on clothing” at the age of 17.
The creative Baltimorean spent time in the state of Washington and Phoenix, Arizona. He knows what it is like to be a young man having to clean up personal scrapes and bounce back from obstacles because of them, including legal issues and homelessness.
“I was always making things, even when I was homeless. I would get kicked out of the Phoenix, Arizona malls for trying to sell my shirts that I would make. I would go to the malls into the bathrooms early before they opened at nine o’clock, take my iron and things that I printed out from the library and make shirts before people would start to come into malls around 10 or 11 o’clock,” Evans said.
People who discovered that Evans was from Baltimore asked him if he knew about “The Wire” television series. Evans ultimately returned to his hometown in 2007 after being away for several years. Upon returning, Evans ended up meeting a few people who were affiliated with “The Wire,” including a notable semi fictional character who played on the show.
“I met Snoop [Felicia Pearson]. It was funny because it was like a manifestation. It was the last season of “The Wire” that was being filmed, and I said, ‘Man, I’ve got to make it to Baltimore to do something.’ And then I applied to this Craigslist posting, and they called me back and said, ‘Hey, would you like to be an extra?’” Evans said.
According to Evans, he ultimately gained the attention of Snoop’s manager after posting one of his tennis shoe designs on the social networking site, MySpace. It led to an opportunity for Evans to create a shoe for Snoop to wear during the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend that was held in Las Vegas. He later filmed parties and ended up shooting a documentary for his friend.
The project led to other opportunities. He recalls interviewing Spike Lee for his first documentary feature film in 2014. Snoop reminded Evans that he could be a filmmaker and return to creating designs on clothes. He designed Timberlands that caught the attention of some of Snoop’s friends. Evans’ new career picked up. Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle is among well-known people who have worn Evans’ custom designed shoes, blazers and shirts. Imagery that Evans selected for shirts manifested while bringing them into his life.
“With all that and even now, I was innately channeling trying to find what I was attempting to do in my gift. It was like I was guided and I just listened at those small, small whispers in the ear,” Evans said. “Creating art is really a manifestation tool. It’s been some magical moments.”
When the time arose to officially name his creative ventures as a business, Evans wanted to commemorate his late mother, Glorious Taylor. She was a seamstress, deep thinker and single parent. She died of a heart attack. Evans named his company AkiO’s Glorious Heroes. Evans’ creative process requires an ample amount of research when he creates items for individuals while including minute details.
“I do airbrushing and painting. I’ve added materials like glass,” Evans said, reflecting on projects that he created.
And now, Evans has completed orders for a long list of celebrities and movie sets. Work of the abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be shown on “Swagger,” Season 2 that will stream in the future. Evans works part-time, manages growth of his business, and shows up to work on sets when he is contacted for a project that may require him to make a specific number of products. His website offers pre-ordered merchandise that anyone can purchase. Orders can be made based on availability of his slots.
Evans attributes his positive progression and manifestation success to utilizing prayer and his decision to stop drinking in 2019.
“I think discipline is what activates the manifestation,” he said.
Visit https://www.byakioevans.com for more information about Evans and his work.