Karissa Tolliver: Expressing Myself Through Design

Karissa Tolliver, 21, is a young graphic designer from Logoff, South Carolina. She sells prints and other products of design that she creates in her free time.

Tell us who you are and what you do!

My name is Karissa Tolliver. I’m a young graphic designer and a budding entrepreneur. I attend Winthrop University where I major in Integrated Marketing and minor in Visual Design Studies. I learned design skills and software as a high schooler in the 10th grade. I realized that I might actually have a gift when I placed third in a national student design competition my 11th grade year. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever accomplished at that age and it made me want to keep going! Today, I sell prints and other products of design that I develop in my free time. I also do freelance work like creating logos and artwork for clients every now and then. I’m constantly finding new ways to get my name and my talents out there. I’ve always had a passion for creativity. I love taking a something that is nothing but a concept and bringing it to life.

What is the inspiration for your work?

Music, culture, other designers, and my experiences through life in general are inspirations for my work. When I have an idea, I immediately want to develop it on my computer. I’m typically a quiet person, so design has always been a way for me to express myself. Design has given me a way to speak up and be loud without saying anything at all.

What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?

I encourage all upcoming artists my age to continue to keep school as a priority. You can get lost in your art and lose focus, but your studies should always come first. Your dream will always be there, but make sure you get your degree in the meantime.

What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?

Starting a business as an artist has shown me how valuable my time really is. You gain a lot of attention and many people bring in suggestions and make promises that they will support and buy something, but when it’s time to pay, those same people aren’t around and that time has been wasted. I’ve just learned to follow my gut and make decisions that are best for myself and my business. I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone.

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