Brittany “Zola” Baum | Orlando, Florida
I am black and AWKWARDLY UNIQUE.
Tell us who you are and what you do!
I am the creator of Zola Arts Factory, an illustration and design project. I am a visual artist whose love for creativity and pizazz are vividly expressed with each of my Zola Girls. I try to display the beauty in the everyday “around the way” girl with fabulous hair, fashion and GOLD JEWELRY! My artwork is a direct reflection of who I am and what I am interested in. It also shows a lot of my personality. I’ve even been told that some of my Zola Girls looks like me!
I’ve been drawing since I was a child, but never took it seriously until I was in my late twenties. Mainly because I didn’t think anyone would care about what I had to say. When I got into social media, and saw other artists displaying their work, I was immediately inspired to show the world what I got!
Creating and merely seeing my imagination translate through pencil and markers keeps me going and keeps me producing more. Sometimes I hate what comes out, and other times I’m shocked at what I just drew.
What is the inspiration for your work?
“My favorite era of fashion is of course the 80s and 90s, which is shown a lot in my art.”
When I’m in public, I literally get so hype when I see a fabulous black woman with her hair looking right and a dope outfit. I’ve always been into fashion, whether it is the latest trends to vintage and consignment. My favorite era of fashion is of course the 80s and 90s, which is shown a lot in my art. Can you say chokers and bamboo earrings!
I honestly don’t know what to call my art style. It’s just me. I use Copic and Prismacolor markers on bristol. Back when I started drawing, I only used colored pencils (this was in high school) and then in my late 20s I started to dabble into acrylic painting on canvas. I liked it, especially doing my landscape paintings. However, when I discovered brush tip markers I realized it was much easier to handle and I produced work a lot faster! My work looks crisp and it doesn’t require as my effort as painting does. At least in my experience.
The things I wanted to see when viewing art and other artists works, I started to create myself. I love brightly colored designs and illustrations kind of “comic book” style. So, when I started my own art journey I knew the look I was going for. Bold and captivating!
Markus Prime inspired me to showcase my work to the public. When I first started to look for “black art” on Instagram, his page was the first page I saw. That was about three years ago. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
“Stay true, humble and remember why you started.”
Every artist in my opinion is going to make some sort of mistake. Whether big or small. What I’ve learned so far is to not get caught up in likes and comments. That can easily take away from your craft. Next thing you know you’re only creating to be popular and not because it’s your passion. Stay true, humble and remember why you started.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
“When you create art with a message, just be prepared to get some hate.”
Being a black artist can be tough. In my experience, I’ve gotten negative reviews due to certain groups of people feeling “left out” and wondering why I always draw black people. I’ve even had a piece out highlighting the debate on boxer braids versus cornrows. I received mostly great reviews but some, not so great. When you create art with a message, just be prepared to get some hate. Tough skin is essential.
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