She received a BA from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2008, and her MFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. In her artist statement, she reveals,
What I am creating is literally black portraiture with ballpoint pen ink. I’m looking for that in-between state in an individual where the overarching definition is lost. Skin as geography is the terrain I expand by emphasizing the specificity of blackness. From there, the possibilities of portraying a fully-fledged person are endless. (Toyin Odutola, 2012)
In 2012, Odutola participated in the project AFRO: Black Identity in America and Brazil at Tamarind, and produced five editions that reflect on the complexities of racial identity.