A lot of artists have a specific piece or “magnum opus” that they truly believe is some of their greatest work. Do you have any piece that fits that description for you right now and if so, can you explain the significance of it?
With where I am right now in my art career it is hard to pick a piece that truly embodies me in a way that I would want my magnum opus to. If anything, I would consider every artistic endeavor I embark on to be so. To me, art is not a series of pieces where one is better than another. The essence of my art is believing that every piece is something new and interesting in its own way, embodying a variation of my mind’s ability to create physicality from mental processes.
Inspiration can sometimes be hard to seek out. When that happens, how do you usually deal with the “Artist’s Block?”
After my first year of being an art major, I had the privilege of talking to many professors and interact with many other art students that struggle with the problem of “art block”. The best piece of advice I have received from one of my professors is to just get to work and start doing something no matter if it is just a doodle in a notebook or a full-fledged Picasso esc painting. Art is all around us all it takes is the initial energy to start creating and letting your brain do its thing like muscle memory.
The Arts have been an incredible tool to convey personal and cultural themes. What message do you want to convey and have people to think about when they see your work?
I would like myself as an artist to speak more for my message than my art itself. Growing up and still today, I rarely encounter artist that look like me and represent myself as a queer black artist. I want to inspire others who look like me and allow them the space to be seen and represented. This is a large reason as to why I want to go into art education. I want to inspire youth and offer representation as a queer black artist and a queer black teacher that I never saw. I guess I’d say I want my message to be representation itself.
It goes without saying that the Arts have been an instrumental tool to the Black Struggle and Civil Rights as a whole. What has been your experience as a Black Artist and how do you channel that experience into your work?
Being a black artist is trailblazing in my opinion. Black artists have the capacity to take on a major role of storytelling that resonates with the black struggle and can inspire change and inclusivity. Representation matters and having artist express cultural themes that can translate across all demographics is integral in our communal growth and cultural integrity.
What or who are the greatest inspirations that have pushed you to become a better artist?
Though she is not a visual artist in the way that I am, Beyonce is a major inspiration for me. Following her music and her projects closely, I have been inspired by the force of her willpower and work ethic. I cannot comprehend the amount of time she spends detailing everything she does, but I want to work hard enough to resonate with that energy. Being admired not only for my art, but for what I do for my community and what I represent is what I idolize in her and seek to achieve in my own career.
There are a lot of inspiring young Black Artists out there with dreams of reaching the skills that you have. Do you have any advice or lessons that you want to pass on to the younger generation about being an artist?
No judge or jury can take away the importance of your art as long as you yourself are confident in what you have created. Being able to take positive constructive criticism is great, but do not let it overtake what your intuition tells you is right for yourself. Art is bringing your internal side into the physical realm and who can do that better than yourself? Work hard and you can achieve whatever dreams and goals you set for yourself!
What process do you go through when creating art? What are the steps you take to ensure that the idea you have is illustrated perfectly?
My creative process usually starts with a random idea that pops into my head. The hard part comes with the execution of it, but you have all the time you need to create so try, try, and try again. It is okay to make something that you do not like as a draft, but the point is to create. Everyone makes prototypes and drafts, learns from them and makes changes where you feel they are due. Do not let insecurity and negative thought patterns dictate your inspiration!
How have you expanded your collector base and developed your career as an artist?
I am currently developing my career by being an art student and working towards my B.F.A. in Art Education. I am making strides in learning new art techniques and viewing art in alternative ways. Another important way I am developing my art career is by interacting with other artists at my school. Building interpersonal relationships in the art field is extremely important for personal development as well as expanding your networking connections. Having friends that you can put together shows with or be in contact with commissioners is a great plus in developing an art career.’
Art is a constantly changing medium with new trends seemingly coming out of nowhere. How do you keep up with these trends?
I follow art accounts on all my social media and follow various types of art that interest me even just for visual pleasure and aesthetics that I probably would not try on my own. I like to view art just as much if not more than creating it. Seeing other people create inspires me to go out and try trends for myself and see what I can do with my abilities. It is also fun following my university’s art department social media as they spotlight my peers, and I can keep up with works they make as well.
Do you have any new pieces that you are currently working on that you would like to preview or mention? Can you explain the significance of that piece?
Unfortunately, I am in the middle of moving and do not have access to most of my art supplies beyond my sketchbook and pencils, so I have not taken up any new projects. After a long semester of learning and developing my art skills I do have ideas for new projects. I would like to work on pieces that relate more to my own personal life and circumstances. I would like to play with more mediums other than my usual drawing and painting, so I’d expect some more 3D elements and alternative mediums in my future projects. Who knows fibers might be the next endeavor!