Jamil Dyair Steele, a visual artist based in Charlotte, draws from his roots as a proud graduate of West Charlotte Senior High School and his formal education in fine arts at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as a Master of Art Education from Winthrop University. His artistic journey is deeply intertwined with the narratives of minorities, marginalized communities, and the vitality of youth.

Employing painting as his primary medium, Dyair specializes in crafting distinctive portraiture, murals, and illustrations. Beyond his artistic endeavors, he is known to his students as Mr. Steele, a National Board Certified teacher. He channels his artistic career into his teaching, infusing it with a passion that resonates with his students.

Dyair’s creative influences stem from the legacy of his father, Ernie Barnes, along with the artistic mastery of Norman Rockwell and Kehinde Wiley. His works have graced spaces such as the Art House in NoDa, Festival in the Park, Spirit Square, The Art Institute of Charlotte, The Center for the Arts in Rock Hill, Romare Bearden Arts Festival, UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery, NoDa @28th Creative Arts Center, the McColl Center, the Mint Museum, and VAPA.


In 2018, Dyair led as the primary artist for AboutFace Charlotte’s Blessing Box Campaign. The resulting painting, an ode to the kindness and compassion of children, now adorns the walls of Levine Children’s Hospital, a poignant tribute to a former student battling advanced kidney disease.

Throughout Charlotte, Dyair’s murals stand as testaments to his artistry and commitment to community. Notable among these are the “Charlotte, Past, Present, and Future Mural” in Charlotte’s Historic West End, a vibrant community street mural in Charlotte’s Country Club Heights neighborhood, and three captivating sidewalk murals along Montford Drive in South Charlotte. His work also adorns the Amaze Apartments in NoDa with four evocative murals, and a striking 190-foot mural on the underpass of I-77 and West Trade St, commemorating the corridor’s rich history. A poignant Black Lives Matter mural, created on a wood panel in the summer of 2020, now resides within the Mint Museum’s esteemed permanent collection.

In spring of 2023, Dyair completed a mural in Gaffney, South Carolina, paying homage to the historic black business district of the 1940s. He has also designed 11 commemorative markers along the West Blvd Corridor of Charlotte and is set to collaborate with artist Curtis King on another underpass mural in the same area.

Dyair’s artistic prowess has garnered recognition on national platforms, including an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show, and he has been lauded as one of Charlotte’s most influential figures by QCity Metro. His contributions have also been celebrated in Charlotte’s Pride Magazine.