Tonal (tuh-nawl) Simmons

Tonal (tuh-nawl) (they/them), is a bi-racial Black non-binary Photographer from the Midwestern city of Kalamazoo, MI, where tall grass and even taller trees first nurtured their creative spirit. Currently based in the vibrant city of Chicago, IL, Tonal's artistic journey is a testament to the power of self-discovery and passionate exploration through community.

Their travels and the depth of the diaspora inform their resistance and work. Educator turned artist, Tonal revels in expanding and learning.

Meanwhile, their art attempts to depict the vast uniqueness of Black and Brown personhood in their element.

Inspired by the Black Queer art scene, their artistry is a symphony of colors, emotions, and storytelling, as they skillfully weave vibrant and authentic narratives of Black and Brown 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

Within each frame, Tonal unveils the beauty of love, community, and joy, infusing their work with a touch of nature's grace and the delicate charm of blooming flowers. Their photography stands as a celebration of resilience, empowerment, and the rich tapestry of identities that make up their subjects.

A testament to the transformative power of art, Tonal Simmons' photography sparks conversations, ignites passion, and leaves an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to witness their vision. As they continue to share their art with the world, they invite us all to partake in a journey of self-discovery, understanding, and above all, love.

With every click of the shutter, Tonal reminds us that photography is more than just freezing moments in time.


Heaven Gallery. (2023). Our Black Experience. Chicago, IL.


Pilsen Arts & Community House. (2023). Divine Masculine,  Divine Feminine. Chicago, IL.

Side Street Art Center. (2023). h a b i t a t. Elgin, IL.

Engine Coffee. (2022). A Black Mood. Chicago, IL.


Quibble: Issue 12 - outlook.lookout, Fall Issue, October 2023 (virtual)

Metonym Journal - Connection, Spring 2024 Issue (print)


For more information on Tonal's work, to get in touch about collaborations, interviews, exhibitions or other opportunities, please use this form.


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