Tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Eddie and I am a Creative. I currently work at Sterling College (KS) and also do freelance work on the side. I am a graphic designer and photographer but I also have started to do more videography. Growing up I did not do a lot of art, I mainly focused on sports. Basketball was a big part of my life and I was fortunate enough to be able to play in college. For some reason at the end of high school I told myself I wanted to be a graphic designer. I believe God put it on my heart because I had never done anything design related until college. Long story short, I tried it out in college and loved it enough to stay with it.
I also thought it would be cool to take photos so I tried that out, loved it and ended up getting my Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Photography (May 2014). After graduating I started to work as a graphic designer but also got really serious about photography. I was already doing freelance graphic design work but started to do portraits and captured some events. I learned a ton in my four years in college and the almost three years I have been out of school.
Being a creative is not only my job, it is also my outlet. As you can see on my instagram, city and street photography is a hobby of mine. I love to create and capture and always strive to deliver strong work that communicates to the targeted audience. My desire to succeed and grow drives me to refine my work so that the end product is effective and visually engaging. In the near future I look to be a full time creative for a college or company and continue to take on more freelance projects. God has blessed me with the abilities and skills to make art and I ultimately just want to glorify and serve him with what He has given me.
What is the inspiration for your work?
The inspiration for me comes from a lot of different places. God is the dopest artist and I often just admire His creation. Imagination is an ability that is often underrated, it is not just something that only kids should use but a tool we can use, especially when creating. Sometimes I’ll get inspired by the music I listen to and start to imagine a photo, video, or graphic that goes with it. Social media can be a distraction at times but a lot of really good art and artist can be found there. I definitely get inspired by a lot of the artist I follow on Instagram and some of the other social media platforms.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
I would say humble yourself and learn from artist that have been doing it longer; ask them questions and even shadow them if they let you. It is good to just be around other creative people and just feed off one another, even if the other people are not more experienced than you. If you are wanting to make money off of your art start doing some work free first. Get as much practice as you can with just doing free work so when it comes time for you to charge for the art you make, the client will see that you have plenty of experience and you are more than capable of producing great work.
Also challenge yourself to do more and try new things; for example, If you are a portrait photographer, do not be afraid to step outside of the box and capturing things other than people. You can capture food, cityscape, landscape, wildlife and more; the list goes on but just try different things and get out of your comfort zone. This may sound cliché but do not be afraid of taking on a project and failing or not doing as well as you would like. Failure is part of the growing process so just learn for your mistakes. If you are an art major in school right now use the class assignments and project to get better and stretch your abilities. Along with that, do your own projects outside of class to retain what you have learned and grow even further.
Lastly as a freelance artist do not overbook yourself. You are one person and you cannot do everything at once, yes you can multi-task but know your limits and manager your time well. Just like any other thing you do in life you have to take breaks and not run yourself into the ground; taking breaks will prevent you from burning out as much or as often.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner? How did you overcome them?
My obstacles are probably something any artist might deal with regardless of their race. At times I have compared myself to other artist that I think are better and then I start to doubt myself and lose confidence in my abilities. What has helped me at those times is realizing that God did not make me to be someone else, he made me to be me. I would do a terrible job at being someone else but I am the best me this world has ever seen.
We just have to continue to “be us” and stay in our own lane, be ok with being different. Sometimes when someone does not love my work that can be discouraging to me, which is a really silly if you think about it. I have to remind myself that I do not create for recognition; I create because that is what I am passionate about and to serve others if possible.