Background and Beginnings:

Can you share with us your journey into the world of painting? What or who were your early influences?  

"I have been serious about art since I was 4 years old. My sister was an early inspiration because she could draw very well. She is 7 years older, so her drawings were way more advanced; looking at her work inspired me to work harder with my skill. As I got older, I was inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat because of his uniqueness and strength to stand on his own no matter what others of his time were doing."


Artistic Process:

Could you describe your creative process? How do you decide on themes, colors, and materials for your work?

"I like to work alone in my studio. I base my work on current events or personal interest or my life. I usually draw and paint people. I enjoy vibrant colors and shades of dark. I use acrylic paint because it dries fast and its durable. Its vibrant and it’s what I enjoy using."

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Cultural and Historical Influences:

In what ways does your African American heritage influence your art? Are there specific historical events or figures that inspire your work?

"African American heritage influences my art because it paved the way. I’ve learned about the passion, struggle, and ambition that my ancestors pushed through just to share their voice. I, now have the opportunity to share my work and a piece of myself with the world in a more accepting way than my ancestors. I see myself in my creative, artistic ancestors. When I create it always connects to the African American culture in some way." 

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Themes and Messages:

Your paintings often explore complex themes. Can you talk about the key messages or stories you aim to convey through your art?

"I aim to bring out emotions in my art. I hope to paint pieces so dynamic that each person can feel something from it. Whether it be happiness or just enjoying the colors or aesthetics or connecting with the actual image."

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Challenges and Triumphs:

As an artist, what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them? Have these challenges influenced your artistic expression?

"Some of my biggest challenges I’ve faced is having time to create in this environment. Working a fulltime job and at the same time trying to be a full-time artist is challenging. I have paid commissions from Business and private buyers and there is not enough time to complete them all at times. There have been some opportunities missed because I have a career job."

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Representation and Visibility:

The representation of African Americans in art has been a critical issue. How do you address this in your work, and why do you think it's important?

"I try to highlight African Americans by painting scenes and stories in their experiences. I have a history of making portraits of all medium of African Americans. I also paint scenes from current events that involve African Americans. I think it is important because America was born on the backs of African Americans and our stories, and the depth of our experiences needs to be heard and seen."

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Community and Engagement:

How do you engage with the community through your art? Do you see your work as a form of activism or social commentary? 

"I engage with the community by donating artwork to special causes, I paint live for poetry nights at Bus Boys and Poets, I have hosted sip and paint events. I have also collaborated with public and non-profit business in community projects and fundraiser events. Sometimes it is a form of social commentary and sometimes I just like to paint feel good pieces that takes us away from the daily pains of the world."

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Evolution of Style:

How has your style evolved over the years? Are there any periods or experiences that have significantly influenced your artistic direction?

"My style has evolved over the years. I used to only draw pencil portraits and colored cartoons. I began evolving my pencil portraits into acrylic paintings in 2015. With the advancement of computers and graphics over the years I also paint digital portraits. I think that every experience I have at art shows and other artists influences some part of my artistic expression."

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Advice and Reflection:

What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists, especially those from underrepresented communities?

"Continue to work on your art and make it your first priority, no matter what others may say otherwise. Find people that believe in what you believe and find people that you can learn from. Surround yourself with others who have successful experience in what you are trying to achieve and continue to create. Never give up on your goals and dreams."

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Future Projects and Aspirations:

Looking ahead, are there any projects or themes you are particularly excited to explore? What do you hope your legacy as an artist will be?

"I have some collaborations with the Washington Commanders. I am about having my painting in the Artist at Work exhibition for the Smithsonian Staff, and I am looking forward have my paintings in a few shows this spring. I plan to paint more abstractly with figurative images involved as well. I want to stick with people as a theme for now, but my art will evolve again and I’m not quite sure where that may lead. I want my legacy as an artist to be remembered as an artist that loves art and life and her creations show that I want to be in museums and remembered for hundreds of years."

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