Vallejo Lee | Little Rock, Arkansas
I am black and DIVINE.
Tell us who you are and what you do!
I’m Vallejo, a photographer, graphic designer, poet, creative writer, vocal musician, model and painter from Little Rock, Arkansas. I am an artist! I like to think the word “creative” sums me up.I’ve had a creative touch since I was young. I was interested in sounds and the aesthetics of objects.
When I was 13, I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Living in a faster paced environment opened my eyes to many new things. It helped me to realize what I am now and what I could be in the future. It made me want more. It made me want to go harder. I began to experience things I never thought I would. Little did I know, the changes made would mold me into what I pursued to be.
From the 7th-11th grade I was “the new kid” every year at a new school. I moved back to Arkansas during my 11th grade year. Being back with all of my old friends was the weirdest experience for me. It was as if everyone was completely different; the connections were strange. People treated me like they never knew me. So, during my last years of high school I was pretty much an outcast. I became used to it by then. The good thing is that around that time I began to find myself. I didn’t care how people viewed me anymore.
I began experimenting with writing, fashion, designing, cameras, and so much more. I started planning, investing and pursuing those new interests. I wrote things down that I wanted to do, things I wanted to see, stuff I wanted to have. My goals for the future are to live comfortably and serve a good purpose for my people.
What is the inspiration for your work?
“I tie things such as positivity, creativity, individuality, and eloquence into my art by being honest with myself, through music and visions.”
Just going through life itself. Nobody lives the perfect life. I speak on the life I live and the things I desire. Growing up, I was inspired by the women who raised me. My aunt taught me to pay the price for the things you want. My mother and grandmother were both entrepreneurs. Seeing articles from the late 60’s in newspapers of my grandmother being recognized for things she’s done in fashion and seeing my mother building up her business successfully for years was motivation for me. Their work ethic is what made me want to be a business owner and entrepreneur someday.
Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Michelangelo, Tupac Shakur, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Nas, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar are major inspirations for my work. They are all men who stood for a purpose. Both, African and European descendants who pushed positivity, creativity, and/or individuality.
I tie things such as positivity, creativity, individuality, and eloquence into my art by being honest with myself, through music and visions. Perspective is what sets artists apart.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
“Be consistent, starve your distractions and feed your focus.”
Taking breaks will leave you broke. Be consistent, starve your distractions and feed your focus. I say this because consistency is key. I would continuously start and stop on my “great ideas”. Eventually, I would lose my drive for things because I never followed through with them. I allowed other things to consume my time. That led to me procrastinating with finishing what I started. Procrastination is bad habit that we all have, but must break away from. I remember created a blueprint of a clothing line. I dedicated so much time to building up all these visions and ideas for it, but when it came to executing the moves needed, I waited for the “perfect time”. Time after time I did this and nothing was accomplished. That goes to show that NOW is always the perfect time.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
“People won’t take you serious until you show them you’re really about something.”
Being underrated, “slept on”. People won’t take you serious until you show them you’re really about something. Push and promote yourself first! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY will do anything you won’t do to better yourself.
Stay connected with Vallejo:
Instagram & Twitter: xvallejol
Facebook: Vallejo Art Files