BIRTHPLACE: AKRON, OH
Q: Why is creating art important to you?
A: For me, art is being alive. Art is a part of my individuality, which is important for me to live my life authentically. Art has shown me the importance of human freedom in being, as well as nothingness. My essence is art. It is what has created meaning for me when nothing else has. My self-indulgence with art and creativity is what pulled me out of a downward spiral of low self-esteem. It is what compelled me to bring beauty into a world that I felt was so dark. Art made me passionate and engaged, and it is an important aspect of living my life truly and unapologetically.
Q: What inspires your art?
A: I never know how to answer this question, because I am inspired by so many things. What inspires and influences my artwork is a mystery. I have always had an inquisitive and curious mind. My art is an expression or, a distillation, of the impressions made on my psyche by the auras around me. It is an embodiment of my life experiences.
Q: What are your favorite things to depict in your artwork?
A: I wouldn’t narrow it down to anything specific, because my art is constantly evolving. Sometimes, I go through different phases of experimentation with a specific subject, but nothing too specific.
Q: Who or what has had the most influence on your artistry?
A: Getting involved locally has opened me to many opportunities. I’ve networked myself the best I can in hopes to find people like me who love art. In my search, I’ve found many mentors and friends who have influenced my work and career. My mom is my biggest supporter, and my sisters and brother have pushed me along this journey and their support is truly what drives my passion to keep creating.
Q: Have you ever explored any other art forms?
A: Yes, I have tried my hand at almost everything from music to dancing and acting, but visual art is the only thing that was consistent for me. Music has been very influential in my work.
Q: Do you have a favorite project that you have completed?
A: Over the summer of 2016, I participated in the University of Akron’s Art Bomb Brigade. They partnered with the Akron Sustainer Project and created a public mural for the city of Akron. As a collaborative group, we drew mock-ups and sketches and then, we discussed a final design. We would work right after school until the sun set. Even when it was dark, we set up spotlights to work late. We would play music and paint until we dropped for two weeks straight. It was during one of the last few nights before the unveiling that I felt complete euphoria from my sense of accomplishment. In that moment, I realized this feeling would never get old.
Q: How do you want people to interpret your work?
A: I want people to interpret my work however they perceive it. When creating, you have to internalize that people can view it however they want; it’s for them to decide.
Q: What 3 songs comple3te your best summer playlist ever?
A: Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty by Nature, Harder Than You Think – Public Enemy, Mr. Carter – Lil’ Wayne & Jay-Z
Q: What are your future goals and aspirations?
A: My long term goals would be to travel the world, become international, and do it all through my art. My dream is to paint murals the size of buildings for the better of the community and the people. I feel I can use my artistic abilities to help others. I’ve thought about pursuing art therapy. I always felt like I was put here to help people, and in return find meaning in my existence.
Q: Was there ever a point in time that you were discouraged about being an artist? How did you overcome this?
A: Often, I get discouraged about being an artist. Almost every day it’s a battle. I learned that there is a cognitive dissonance that arrives when it’s time for you to evolve as a person. As excited as you are, you almost believe you aren’t worthy. You soon learn to claim your blessings, though.
Q: In what ways has art impacted your life?
A: Art has impacted my life in every aspect. From my schooling and education to my job and my personal enjoyment. Art is how I make most of my income. Soon, I plan to quit my 9-5 and freelance my art and live off that. I plan on furthering my education and studying art for the rest of my life.
Q: Do you have any favorite artists?
A: When I was younger, Salvador Dali was my favorite. As time has passed, I have enjoyed artists like: Shepard Fairey, Mr. BrainWash, Retna, Ben Eine, Blek le Rat,
Invader, Anthony Lister, Banksy, Frida Kahlo, Mobstr, and Laurie Lipton.
Q: Tell us something about your art that a viewer might not know at first glance.
A: Most of my human forms and portraits are photo reference of myself or my friends.
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