THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER WE WILL BE CELEBRATING AMAZING BLACK ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY.
Otis Brown, Jr.
Author: How Did We Get Here? + Things We Don’t Talk About
Author: A Diamond In God’s Dirt
VFTS: When did you first begin designing? Why did you decide to start?
HD: I started designing as a child. I was always into creating art with different mediums. It was something that came easy to me. I remember starting to develop my personality considering myself a girly girl, one who liked dolls, the color pink and nails. My mom used to take me to the nail salon with her and I would pick up the nail tips on the floor and go home and paint them with nail polish. Eventually I got old enough to get my own nails done and my fascination grew. I would practice on myself and friends until I went to school for it and learned the trade in depth. A classmate of mine from the Bachelors program I was in at the time actually encouraged me to go and made the call for me to get more info about the classes. I thank her because I’ve been doing nails ever since .
HD: The process can be a struggle but definitely well worth it with the many lessons you learn along the way. I just knew my passion was bigger than my fears . I just went after any opportunity that was interesting to me . I used all my networking skills from a previous fashion school I graduated from and thought the sky is the limit so just do it. I started to brand myself with my Instagram @honeydippednaildesigns and then created my website/blog Honeydippednaildesigns.com which became my mini portfolios. I also continued to talk to people and ask a lot of questions to learn the industry . I am still learning. Obstacles were mainly lack of patience and becoming discouraged and gaining financial stability. This isn’t the type of job that is economically enticing or one that you’re given a work load for the day and start when you clock in and finish when you clock out. This job defines success when you have a great clientele which takes time to build and also takes the right atmosphere for your style . Some jobs may not pay you for sitting there waiting for a client. Many times the money only comes when you have someone in your chair. Being someone who has two degrees there were times where I would stress that this isn’t stable and I don’t get paid enough for my experience and credentials. I wasn’t moving fast enough but I knew I was more than capable to do the job. Fortunately I had a great supportive people around me to continue to motivate me and I began to push through and really believe in myself and my talent. I now realize timing is everything and you will get opportunities when you are well ready. When you believe in yourself no one can tell you different.
HD: My inspiration comes from first and foremost my dad and his artistic traits that were passed on to me. His support to allow me to be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do inspires me to not be afraid when something seems unconventional. But, other creatives inspire me whether it’s photographers, artists, stylists, bloggers, hair stylists, make up artists, fashion designers and ultimately God because he is the creator of all.
HD: My advice would be to continue to follow your dreams. You often know when your passionate about your craft because it’s something that takes up most of your time no matter what else is going on in your life. You will work towards it , for it and through it. Don’t allow others to tell you different. Surround yourself with positive energy and likeminded people for example going to events, seminars, classes and offering your assistance for free. Don’t be too good to hear someone else’s story. Struggles make for greater lessons and ultimately success.
HD: Well new opportunities out of state hopefully. I freelance now in New York City so a lot of my energy is focused there in hopes of expanding my brand but learning from a bigger pool of talent. NYC has many mediums of art and tend to be the first with new innovations in the industry. I just want to soak it all in and critique my talent.
Queen Applebuuum Art
VFTS: When/how did you first begin with your artwork?
QA: I originally started painting for myself. I wanted to invest in me, I wanted to inspire something within me, to light a fire, to be a better person. I felt the need to appreciate the woman that I was at the time, as well as the woman I wanted to become. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” is a quote that resonated with me at that time, I was going through so much, and I needed some brightness in my life. So in combination with the famous Shakespearean quote and my obsession with Basquiat, I decided I wanted a crown. A big bright Jean- Michel Basquiat inspired crown. I painted my crown and hung it over my bed and I’m still in love with it until this day.VFTS: In general, where does your inspiration come from?
QA: My first painting inspired me to continue to create. I knew I wanted to put out content that would inspire because art is what inspired me. The “Chocolate Drop” was another painting I did for myself. I needed to embrace my curves and appreciate my chubby bits for what they were and still are. From the moment I started selling my artwork, I knew I wanted to share this self-love I was feeling. I had the instant desire to empower women and how they should appreciate their curves. Crowns, curves, and queening are my frequent themes. Being a woman is such a beautiful thing and no matter the size, you should love yourself.VFTS: What messages (if any) do you try to get across in your art?
QA: What I want people to take from me, is to unapologetically be yourself, and don’t forget how great you are. Be the queen that you are! Wear your crown and thrive! Wearing the crown requires a lot of responsibility; responsibilities that can make life uneasy and complicated…but no matter what, respect yourself, hold your head high, and inspire.VFTS: What does the process look like for you from the time you get an idea to the time it comes to life as a finished piece?
QA: I simply just listen to music and sketch.VFTS: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
QA: Be prepared to be misunderstood. Your art might not be for everybody and that’s ok. Commit to your style and never stop creating. Always be authentically you.VFTS: What’s next for you?
QA: In the future God-willing, I would like to be married with kids. I want to be surrounded by family and friends, still doing what I love. At some point, I would like to have my own art studio. A place where I and other artists can cultivate. A place where I can share the beauty of art with children and inspire them to never lose their creativity. A safe space. In life, we can take a beating sometimes, and art to me is like a beacon of hope. It’s honestly my saving grace and I could only pray that my art carries the same meaning for others.
Tia Russell Dance Studio
Recording Artist: Kayla Shea
Music Available: Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify
Recording Artist: Bugatti203
Music Available: Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify
Poetess: Alexis Pettway
Journey Thru Love & Journey Thru 2
Designs By Taty
Designer: Tatiana Ashanti
Recording Artist: Shiwan
Donald Thomas, Sr.
Author: I Dare You