Tell us who you are and what you do!
I’m an 18 year old student moving onto university to study art and design in media production. Growing up in South London, to society I am labelled as a thug, troublemaker or pretty much just another black youth who is at a disadvantage because of where he comes from.
When I told my parents what I wanted to study, they were not very supportive because they thought that it would lead to a dead end in the future and that it wouldn’t make me happy. The amazing thing is that through photography and drawing I found myself and began to discover that there are more opportunities in life, and I have to take the step in doing what I love.
Starting out with photography I felt like I could do more and make myself stand out. I thought maybe adding some graphics in my work would make my work unique. Even though I didn’t know how to develop my own style on the graphics tablet, I had to work at it and find something I enjoyed creating. So, now my work consists of taking photos of people and using them as subjects for my graphic artwork.
What is the inspiration for your work?
In this day and age, I believe that we, as a society are fixed on associating with someone based on how they look, dress, the color of their skin, gender or size. Based on these preconceptions, we quickly begin to judge and categorize one another before even getting to know each other. We should learn to be more open minded and accepting of those who may appear a little different than ourselves. In my first year of college I was frustrated because I had a hard time drawing facial features on my illustrations. My best friend told me to forget the faces. She said that it made her more appreciative of the persons other features such as their body shape and hair. From that day forth, people began to be more interested in my work. A classmate of mine would ask, “Why don’t you give people faces?” My reply was that there is more to an individual than their face alone, appreciate what’s in front of you and take them for who they are!
I mainly create my work with no faces, however I am still training myself to include them as it may become useful in the future. Thanks to Adobe Illustrator it has helped me to develop my skills with drawing facial features on the computer. It is much more straightforward than photoshop in terms of drawings, so I do try to improve my style even further.
An artist who inspires me is Rebeca Maria (@rebecccamaria on instagram). She also doesn’t include faces in her paintings. Viewing her work made me feel much more confident about not drawing faces in my own work and to use it to my advantage. I have learned that art is the expression of the imagination. I do have this vision to break barriers of how “art” is perceived by most people who think art is only art if the concept is complex. I want them to realize that there is power in simplicity.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
Never doubt your style of art. It represents you. If you do, you’re only doubting yourself! By creating that positive attitude, you begin to realize that what separates you from reaching your goal is the matter of time and hard work. The feeling you get when you believe in yourself increases the chances of you reaching your goal. Always believe in yourself and keep moving up and onwards regardless of what other people have to say. Remember that everyone has their opinion, but it’s up to you to stick with your gut and passion. It will take you far.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
As a black artist I would not say that I have experienced any obstacles, but one that I do face personally is gaining my parents’ support with my art. I want them to see how far I could take my passion. For some reason, according to them, becoming a doctor seems to be the only job on this earth. To deal with it all I had to do was convince myself to have faith in my own work and surround myself around the right people who motivate me. Something about being around supportive people makes you see the bigger picture and it’s a reminder of why I love doing what I do.