Cassie Manning


United Kingdom

How did you get your start in Art?

I have always drawn from an early age; I think about eight years old. I always loved fashion and fashion illustration so through my teenage years I wanted to be a fashion designer. However, during a careers advisement session in high school, I was convinced to take a different path and was steered away from drawing. After many years of not drawing, having kids, and being home, I decided to start drawing daily again. It's been about 2 years now since I picked the pencil back up and haven't put it down.

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How would you describe your artistic style?

I would say I have an illustrative style I guess. I draw all kinds of women and like to imagine that they have a story behind them. I mainly draw in watercolor but I also l love digital. Often my style is loose lines and bout a vibe. But as of late I have been trying less of the looser style and cleaning up my lines for a different look.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

I think in the earlier of stages of me sharing my work on Instagram, I shared a picture of the beautiful ballerina, Ingrid Silva, that I painted for my daughter that everyone seemed to love. "Brown girls do Ballet" featured my painting and it got over 2.5k+ plus likes. I was in shock that it got so many likes.  

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

I have sooooooo many artists on my fav list but at the moment I enjoy Jacquelin Deleon, she is a cool illustrator who does amazing paintings in watercolor and digital.

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What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist?

Personally, as a mother to small kids it can be hard to find time to fit it all in and find the time to paint and draw, often remedied by a lot of late nights. Professionally it can be a challenge for people to see your work. There are so many amazing artists out there it can be easy to get lost in a sea of artists. I try to not let that worry me and focus on my craft day in and out any opportunities that arise are great.

What's next for Cassie?

Just to keep growing and improving as an illustrator/artist really. In the not so distant future hoping to have more opportunities with big clients as I have done this year, produce high-quality illustrations and content that my supporters and I would love.


What motto or mantra do you live your life by?

I have a lot of mantra's as I am a big believer in words having power. One phrase that is laced throughout my daily life is 'Positive Vibes.


In the world's current climate we are constantly being blasted with negative images and thoughts from all directions. Negative/toxic energy should be avoided. That's why I like to paint/draw my women in a positive light. I want people who view my art to feel uplifted, motivated and happy from seeing my work.

For more information on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @nubianrockchickart

Sean Fahie


Atlanta, Georgia

How did you get your start in Art?

Growing up in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, I would watch my cousin, who is also an artist, draw every day. I eventually picked up a pencil and started drawing because I wanted to be just like him. From there, I went to an Arts high school and then to Savannah College of Art and Design where I received a bachelor degree in Graphic Design and a master degree in Illustration. I moved to Atlanta during the recession, hoping to find some work. I found a small job and tried to freelance on the side. I got contracted to do design work for a festival and that gig paid me enough to quit my job. I have been freelancing now for almost eight years.


How would you describe your artistic style?

I do a lot of my work in acrylic and watercolors. With watercolors, it's more vibrant and conceptual art. The best way I could describe it is... playful. With acrylic, my style is more tight and sharp with stronger concepts.

Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

Just living. Good conversation. Good music. I made a series of paintings based on the titles of jazz and hip hop songs. I would paint whatever I felt the song was conveying to me. Other times I take naps and hopefully have a dream.

What was the first artwork you sold?

The first piece I can remember selling is a piece I called “Hard at Work”, a friend paid for it not knowing that she paid my rent that month because I was broke. I will always remember that.


What is your personal process for creating a piece?

I always start with a pen and paper and write a concept for the painting. Then, I draw several sketches to see how it works out. Once I begin the painting process, I have the skeletal process from the sketches. I try to get it as close to what I visualized in my head. Oh, and lots of whiskey.

What messages do you hope to convey to your audience through your work?

I would like to convey positivity through the art that I make. Many of my paintings are reflections of myself or my friends and what we see and what we go through. I hope through those stories; people can gain some positive energy.


What is the greatest sacrifice you have made in pursuit of your career?

I have two.

One would be financial. When it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s bad, it’s bad. At this stage in my career, I'm used to it, and I can prepare for those bad months.

The other sacrifice would be dating. Since the stability isn’t always there, it can freak the other person out.

What's next?

I’m working on my third book, “Chocolate Covered Honey Buns,” and I’m filming a documentary to accompany it. The book will be comprised of short stories, poems, and one-liners on growing into “Adulthood.”

I also co-host The Influencers presents podcast with two of my friends. It is currently available on iTunes.


What quote or motto do you live your life by?

“If you are going to try, go all the way, otherwise don’t even start"(click for full quote) - Charles Bukowski

It is a really powerful piece of poetry. Along with prayer, friends, and good conversations, it helps me get through those slump periods.

For more on Sean, please visit and follow on social media at @seanfahie

Darron Hodges


Atlanta, Georgia 


At what age did you become fascinated with Art?

My mother discovered me drawing on the walls around the age of 4. I also liked to draw ninja turtles and football players.


How would you describe your artistic style?

Creative energy crossing paths to manifest harmony! (Just check out my signature pattern, and then you'll understand).


Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

Life, death, music, poetry, photography, other artists, women, spirituality, sexuality, cultures, meditation, prayer, sports, God. I think of myself as a cool-weirdo, so like most true creatives, I can draw inspiration from the oddest things.


What has been the most memorable response to your work?

I've had people cry and get overly emotional, and I've had people aroused by my work and proposition me for sex (lol)! I could write a book about my experiences as an artist. Sincerely, It's a great feeling when your art and designs bring joy to people's lives.

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What risks or sacrifices have you made in pursuit of your career?

In 2014 I was convicted of a DUI (for refusing to blow), so I lost my job and my license. Before the incident, I had already been saving and preparing to make art and design the focal point of my life. I had been procrastinating due to the comfort and delicacies that my job provided. I've learned firsthand, when you've convinced your subconscious mind that you're destined for something, things will shift in your life to make your dreams a reality! I was forced to make my dream a reality!


What's next?

I've collaborated with a company named Sweet Fest to produce a series of custom handbags for the holidays. I'm working on new custom furniture for clients, as well as sending proposals to stores for partnerships.   I'm developing pieces for a solo show and seeking representation for 2018. I'm always working on something... It's a blessing!


What quote or motto do you live your life by?

I have several.. "Be positive and progressive!" "Always be an asset!" "Is the risk worth the wager?" "Be distinct or become obsolete!"

For more on this artist, please visit and follow social media @dhodges101

Victor Salina Furio


Washington, DC

What sparked your interest in architectural design?

I don’t have any family member who is an architect or a designer. I made the decision that I wanted to become one at an early stage of my life. It was in high school, when I was 14 years old. My art professor taught me all about Ancient Greek architecture, Renaissance architects, The Golden Number, Fibonacci sequence and its influence, etc. I felt in love in such a way with this art that I immediately wanted to be a part of it in the future.


How would you describe your design style?

I would say that my style is constantly evolving. I try to make sure that all the experiences I have in life, I absorb them and implement them into my style. I pay attention to my surroundings, to what other architects have previously done, and to other expressions of art. The inspirations that I get from them will directly affect my style, slightly changing the final aesthetic of my design. Nevertheless, I do have some preferences; since I am colorblind, I identify myself projecting with white and grey scale materials. Regarding shapes, I enjoy experimenting with unconventional forms; stackable units, diagonal walls, circular doors, etc. One of my main purposes while I am designing, is to create an experience. I would like people to remember my designs for being unique, something that they haven't been able to experience before, and will remember in the future.

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Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

Any representation of art influences me. Contemporary Art, Fashion Design, and Music are constant inspirations. Daniel Arsham, Yohji Yamamoto, and A Tribe Called Quest are some of the artists I admire with a special mention to my life partner, and muse: Laura Arana Castillo.


You also take amazing photos. What is your personal process to capture a great image?

While I am taking a picture, I try to emphasize what I see through my eyes. In other words, I attempt to highlight those aspects of the building that inspire me. My Photography work is known for being de-saturated, almost black and white geometrical architecture pictures. As previously mentioned, I am color blind; part of my style consists in de-saturating the photography so people can see and perceive buildings the same way I do.

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Which photographers have influenced you and how did their influence your work?

Jennifer Bin, Minh T, and NIK. All of them have a powerful photography style. Jennifer uniquely captures futuristic landscapes, showing the rest of us the way she sees the cities. Regarding Minh, I love his architecture preferences and the way he selects every shot and tonality. Last but not least, I draw a lot of inspiration from NIK’s work, his minimalism sense and aesthetic are phenomenal.

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What is your dream job?

My dream job is the one that allows me to materialize all my ideas, the one that allows me to take my schemes from concepts to reality, and more importantly, the only that allows me to enjoy and love what I do.


What quote or motto do you live your life by?

Always strive and prosper, everyday aspire to become the best version of yourself.

For more information on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @vcsafu

Aaron Watts

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Washington DC

How did you get your start and develop an interest in Art.

I have drawn as long as I can remember. I had no formal introduction. I never had a desire to design clothing, but I love fashion illustration.  I would look at the clothing catalogs that came in the mail and would draw the clothes while I was sitting around at home. I like trying to duplicate patterns and fabrics and replicating any form of self-expression that's involved in making clothes.

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Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

I draw inspiration from photography and film. I love illustration that has a cinematic quality to it.

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What is your process for creating a great illustration?

I usually take two or three source photos and sketch them out because makes it more interesting. I use the Procreate app for my work. I import the drawing into the app and color in the lines till the piece is complete. I also use the VSCO app. I like their filters and settings.


What challenges have you faced in your creative pursuit?

Working a full-time job and not being able to focus on creating art full time can be challenging but I work to find a balance.

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What’s next?

I am getting into animation. I am creating drawings for an animated short film.

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What quote or motto do you live your life by?

Life is chaos.

For more information on Aaron, please follow on social media at @johnpanic

Exhibition: Still Dreamin + Jermaine Clark


Atlanta, Georgia

Urban Contemporary artist, Jermaine Clark, will hold the 3rd public opening of his Still Dreamin' exhibit on August 11th, 2017 at Studio No. 7 in Atlanta, GA. Still Dreamin': The solo art exhibit is the follow up to his original series Stay Dreamin’ “Will work for Dreams” in 2016. This series will continue to explore Clark's process behind finding beauty in the struggle of going after your dreams and how circumstances can fuel motivation towards your success.

We spoke with Jermaine about his upcoming exhibition. 

What made you decide to do a follow up to your highly successful Stay Dreamin exhibition?

The response and feedback [to Stay Dreamin] was beyond even what I imagined. People gravitated towards the message, so I had to do a follow-up.

What should viewers expect from Still Dreamin?

Still Dreamin' is more personal. This exhibit centers on my new journey as a full-time artist and how I want to use my story and pursuit to inspire others to take "the leap of faith" as I did.

Where did you draw inspiration for the pieces?

The inspiration behind the actual work came from a Kanye West lyric "Reach for the stars, so if you fall, you'll land on a cloud." Clouds are one of the themes throughout the collection. Also, the red helium balloons are common through the exhibit to represent the uncertainty of where you'll go once you let go of fear. If you've ever watched a helium balloon travel, you never know its final destination; you just know it soars in no direction until unseen. On a more personal note, the balloons also represent loved ones I've lost and how my family celebrates their birthdays. We release balloons with notes attached as our way of speaking to them. I want to continue this tradition and keep them with me as I grow as an artist.

What messages do you hope your audience will take from Still Dreamin?

I genuinely believe we are all destined for greatness and do not have to be victims of circumstance. In fact, the most trying times should help you focus even more on the end goal. I know from first-hand experience; life can seem unfair. I also know if you are focused on what you want, that is your motivation! Just relax, be patient, and trust things ALWAYS work out in your favor.

For more on this event, please visit StillDreaminTour.Eventbrite and follow on social media @xmaine

Jamar Logan


San Francisco, California

How did you get your start in Graphic Art?

I got my start in graphic art way back in 1994.  I took multi-media courses in college where I was introduced to Photoshop and Illustrator.

How would you describe your artistic style?

My style is similar to animation cell art.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

I draw inspiration from other artists and current events.  When other artists create dope artwork, it motivates me to create even doper artwork.  Also, I like to illustrate my opinions about current events and issues concerning black people.

What are some notable projects you have worked on?

I've worked on a Filipino animation called The Nutshack which ran for two seasons on a Filipino channel called MYX.  I was the Chief Storyboard Artist on it and got a chance to do a lot of cool storyboard artwork.  I also got to work with some very talented people, most notably Jesse Hernandez, who was the Art Director and a very talented artist.  I learned a lot from him.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

I've had two memorable responses to my artwork.  After Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States, it inspired me to create an image based on the official Star Wars - The Force Awakens poster.  I drew my version and called it "Trump Wars - The Racist Awakens."  This work of art caused a few arguments on several blogs. The second memorable response and largest of any artwork I've done were inspired by the movie "Get Out," which was directed by Jordan Peele.  The image depicted Kanye West being sent to the sunken place.  The image was shared from my Facebook account over 31,000 times.  With the help of Chocolate City Comics, who tweeted it to Peele's Twitter page, the image went viral.

What risks or sacrifices have you made in pursuit of your craft?

The only sacrifice I've made in pursuit of my craft has been sleeping.  Sometimes I'm up late into the early morning drawing.

Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite artist has been and still is Joe Madureira.  I've always appreciated his fusion of the Disney-style with Japanese anime that gave birth to a very stylized high-impact visual treat often imitated -never duplicated.

What’s next for Jamar?

I'm currently working on newer episodes of an animation series by Injunuity as a background artist.  Injunuity is a collection of interviews with Native Americans brought to life through animated shorts about contemporary Native American life.  Newer episodes of this series will be aired on the PBS network.  Other projects I'm working on are William Satterwhite's stealth graphic novel that is written by Robert Jeffery. Also, I will be releasing my comics sometime in the near future.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"Things are not as they appear to be."  

For more information on Jamar, please follow at @artofjamarlogan on Instagram

Cecil Reed

cecil-reed-creed- art

Atlanta, Georgia

When did you get your start in Art?

At the age of 7, I loved to draw from magazines and books. The visual artist Bob Ross was like my childhood artist mentor. He made painting landscapes look as easy as making pancakes. This was very intriguing to me. By the time I was 15 my parents knew I had a gift. I was a big fan of Tupac Shakur and DMX. They let me use chalk pastels to draw them on my bedroom wall. They told me if it didn't look right that I had to remove it. It stayed on my wall until I graduated college in 2007. I am now in my 30's and have a fully functioning business CREED Art.

How would you describe your artistic style?

My style is simple and direct but with a taste of realism. I only use acrylic paint, and I plan on incorporating other mediums shortly. I like to capture images in their purest form. I want the viewers to focus only on the subject with no distractions.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

To take a blank canvas and turn it into a beautiful piece of art is inspiring. I'm inspired by looking at a masterfully crafted piece of art and understanding what it took to get there. It doesn't matter who the artist is, the only thing that matters is that it's beautiful. This inspires me to create beauty.

On fun projects:

My painting of Jimi Hendrix was nothing but pure fun and has been very successful to date. This project was the largest painting that I have completed thus far. It is 6ft x 4ft. I only used three colors of acrylic paint throughout, my plan was to go crazy with it, and that's what I did!

What are some risks or sacrifices you have made in pursuit of your craft?

It is very tough to pursue your dreams of being an artist when you work full time with a wife and kids. It’s all about time management though. Some days, it's either you paint and run the risk of hearing your wife complain about not spending quality time with her and the kids, or you do not paint at all. There are many days where I am just so eager to paint, but I don't because I don't want it to look like I'm choosing art before family.  The situation is real and can be very confusing. My goal as an artist is to add substance and value to our lifestyle. Being neglectful is never the intention. I have an understanding with my wife now that will allow me this time. But just know that an artist mind is always on the hunt.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

 “Wow! OMG, did you paint this?”

Who is your favorite artist?

I have several very talented artists that I like. One, in particular, Kevin A. Williams, he has mastered the anatomy of people. His ability to mix mediums and the message behind each of his painting are extraordinary. Another artist is Frank Morrison, his graphics and attention to details is what amazes me. His illustrations are fun to look at because they capture moments in time. These two artists are so great; I feel they forced me to change my approach as an artist. I've changed the way I capture images, and the type images I capture.

What’s next?

I don't have projects lined up. I enjoy being at peace and in harmony. In those moments, I tend to come up with my next masterpiece. I call each project I tackle a masterpiece because it challenges me to overcome myself, it teaches me something new, and it gives me a new vision to see things differently.

What is your dream project?

My dream project is the one that I do that sells for 6 or 7 figures. To me, that is a dream project. If not, as an artist why do we paint and create? I believe we all as artists will paint for the joy, for a stress reliever or mainly just because you can, but at the end of the day, it’s for wealth or a form of income. God has blessed me with a skill set, and with that, I have developed a hobby, and with this hobby, I hope to be someday financially free. From what I hear, all it takes is that one project to get you over the hump.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

We were all put on this earth for a reason; we all have a particular set of skills. I believe we should discover ourselves. Don't wait until life passes us by, and don't accept doing what you don't love. Be Happy, be free at heart and be who you were meant to be.

For more on this artist, please visit theArtistCreed and follow at @creed_art_

Andre Trenier


Bronx, New York 

How did you get your start in Street Art?

I have always drawn and had a sketchbook with me. I started during murals about 15 years ago. After a friend of mine had been murdered, everyone looked to me to do the mural. I wasn't all that great with spray paint, but I sort of winged it to get that wall completed. The wall led to other walls and through two other artists, I connected with Sean Bono with Art Battle International. I started traveling with that community, and the rest was history.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

A lot of inspiration comes from my experience, but I try to draw a lot of inspiration from the location I'm painting. I take into consideration the historical references and the people of the area when coming up with images.  

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

I did customized sneakers for a TV show called "It's the Shoes" hosted by Bobbito Garcia where he would interview celebrities about their fascination with sneakers. In the end, he would give away a pair of custom sneakers that one of my associates or I did. Biz Markie bugged out, Chris Paul went crazy and called his whole family to see them. Those are moments are pretty memorable.

What are your thoughts on graffiti vs. street art?

Graffiti is a term given to "writing" from the outside media. Street writing is a whole different culture in itself and has its rules. Most artists that are herald as a street artist do not come from the world of writing, so they do not abide by those rules. I have a love for both, but currently, I'm more in the lane of street art because most of my work is on legal walls. They are two different forms of expression that coexist in the same space.

How has the introduction of social media changed the street art world?

On a positive note, social media has made your work accessible to the point where you can reach the whole world. You can communicate and share ideas on a large scale. On the downside, it gives people what feels like a street art or graffiti starter kit. Some people believe they skip certain steps that usually take years of dedication to craft because certain things are so accessible. All in all, things balance out, the same way you quickly gain attention; you can quickly lose an audience if there is no substance.

Do you have a favorite piece?

The favorite piece I have done is the last piece, a wall in honor of Kool Herc and the elements of Hip Hop. The piece is located on the front of the building where my studio in the Bronx on the Grand Concourse. It's pretty special because I got the opportunity to collaborate with some legends in the writing world, Skeme, and Luzeone. 


What’s next for Andre?

I'm doing a mural for the Kevin Durant Foundation and a big project coming up with Bronx Brewery. I also designed baseball caps in conjunctions with Pepsi and New York Yankees for a fan competition called Caps Off to the Yankees, where fans can go to Pepsi's website and vote on their favorite cap. Every month I paint the gate of a friend's ice cream shop to match their Flavor of the Month.

What advice would you give a young street artist?

Be a student of your craft. Pay attention to your craft, be diligent, and do your homework.

What are some sacrifices you have made while in pursuit of your career?

As an artist, you are sacrificing time, job security, and relationships. It's a constant give and take, to balance things. I've had my struggle with trying to find a balance with maintaining relationships, earning a living and also wanting to make art but getting away from why it was important to me.

On the loss and regain of Motivation:

I went through a period where I was tired of the process. I was doing pieces where I felt like I was a photocopier-- just repainting photographs and in my opinion, not bringing anything different to the picture. After a few of those, I felt like I could get a regular job and just paint what I want for myself and not live off of my art.

A friend at the time was painting in my studio and watching him work and enjoying his process inspired me. At first, it felt like a slap in the face that he was here in my studio having more fun than me while I'm painting pieces I can't stand but were paying the bills. I told myself I was going to paint something that I enjoyed in my off- time. I worked on this one canvas for months, and I added to it every day in between paintings. It ended up being a piece I really liked, and it inspired a different process of working.

For more on this artist, follow on social media at @andre_trenier

Danielle Mastrion


Brooklyn, New York 

How did you get your start in Art?

I have been painting and drawing since I can remember. I was in afterschool programs and always excelled in the arts there. My mom and I would visit museums on the weekend and I would draw from the master paintings when I was six-years-old. I was in an art curriculum at a public high school in Brooklyn where I was taking college level oil painting, which leads me to Parsons School of Design where I majored in Illustration. After college, I was working in graphic design and as an art assistant in galleries. At night and on the weekends I was live painting at events all over New York.

What lead to you being a street artist?

I started live painting with Art Battle International, a large, live painting organization which pretty much changed my life. I got to travel all over the world and met some of my best friends through the group. A lot of the artists who paint live happen to be graffiti artists and muralists, due to the canvas being so large and you only have a short amount of time to complete it. As I traveled to places such as Paris, Germany, and Poland, it opened my eyes to how these international artists are using walls like a big canvas and using aerosol the same way I use oil paint. My paintings have always been really large, and I know how to paint fast, so I thought, "Why am I not putting my paintings on a wall?" The first mural I ever did was a Beastie Boys tribute that I did all with a brush, and it took me forever. Another artist name Bishop was working next to me and told me "You know if you use aerosol you can cut your time in half." I totally winged my first aerosol piece, a tribute to rapper MCA (Beastie Boys), on 5POINTZ  in Long Island City Queens and that set off my mural career.  

From where do you draw your inspiration?

Hip Hop always has a big inspiration. Along with the Beastie Boys mural, I did a Biggie mural with the Bushwick Collective in 2012 and it's been up for five years. When I'm painting, I'm usually listening to 90's Hip Hop. I'm a Brooklyn girl, so the art form of the aerosol is one of the five elements of Hip Hop. So I think it all goes hand in hand. 

My work has shifted to more community-based projects. I paint a lot of strong female figures. One of my first was Malala Yousafzai with the Bushwick Collective in 2013 -- this was before her winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Knowing that she risked her life for an education, I thought this is someone that deserves a memorial. It was the first time it clicked that I can use artwork as an educational tool. I have a responsibility on what I'm doing and the community for which I'm painting.

What message do you hope to convey with your work?

I'm very pro-education and equal rights. I tend to do a lot of pieces to educate young women. While I am working projects around the world, little girls will come up and say "I have never seen a girl do this." That has resonated with me. I work in a male-dominated field, like many others. I want to encourage more women to paint, so I want to send a message of female empowerment through my work.

How do you prepare for a big project?

I like to visit the wall first, touch the wall and the size of it, and check out the condition of the wall. I do a ton of research working with the business or neighborhood to get ideas of what they want painted. I will lay out a sketch, so I know what I'm working with when I get there. The sketching and image research process can take longer than actually painting the wall. The day of, I make sure I get a lot of sleep, make sure all my devices are charged, and I have a ton of music.

What’s your take on street art vs. other styles of art?

I think knowing as many techniques as possible is always better because you can pull different techniques into painting murals. I learned glazing techniques, the layering transparent colors of areas of light and shadow to bring out the colors, which is an oil painting technique. For example, I will hit a black aerosol with a transparent blue, and it makes the color black pop. I pull from every skillset that I can when I paint.

 Do you have a favorite piece?

My favorite mural happens to be a little piece that is on Lafayette Street between Grand and Howard in SoHo; its two iron doors I painted for a friend's business. It took me 3 hours to paint the image off of the top of my head. That piece has been up for three years. The business has been shut down, but the piece is still there. I get more emails and feedback from that little piece than any of my other murals.

My second is the massive mermaid piece I did for Coney Island last year. It is the biggest piece I have ever done. I was on a boom lift for two months working on it. It is the largest mural in Coney Island/South Brooklyn, which is special to me because I grew up in that area. It’s like my love letter to my neighborhood.

What’s next for Danielle?

I'm lining up all my projects for the spring and summer. I have two more murals with Luna Park in Coney Island, one will be completed by Memorial Day, and the other one will begin after Labor Day. I have a few restaurant commissions upcoming and a mural for an anti-gun violence organization.

What motto or mantra do you live your life by?

My mantra, while I'm working, is to repeat "Just keep painting"

If you are tired, have a lot on your mind, or stressed, "Just keep painting."


For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @daniellebknyc

Jeff Manning


Philadelphia, PA

How did you get your start in graphic art?

I was introduced to graphic art while in 2009 at the age of 16. To be honest, I've always felt like graphic art is something that found me. Being a huge fan of music, I've always been inspired by cover artworks from some of my favorite artists.

 How would you describe your artistic style?

My style would be described as being a cross between Afrofuturism, Minimalism, and Surrealism.

Where do you draw inspiration?

The majority of my inspiration comes from music, more specifically the Neo-Soul, New Age, and Chillwave genres.

On notable projects:

The most notable project that I've worked on to date would have to be my recent collaboration with 20th Century Fox. I had the great opportunity to be selected as 1 of 5 artists to create digital marketing artwork to promote the AMAZING film, Hidden Figures. I also did a collaboration with NYC- based creative agency Street Etiquette and Adidas NYC. The project involved creating promotional material for the launch of the Adidas NYC Instagram page.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

Wow. I've received tons of memorable responses to my work. So, this is definitely a tough one to answer! But, if I had to choose, I would say a time when someone told me that my work was used in their college presentation project in Cape Town, South Africa. That was an awesome feeling. I honestly appreciate everyone who views and appreciates my work.

What are some risks or sacrifices you have made in pursuit of your craft?

Recently, I left my part-time job that I loved at a graphic design agency in pursuit of creating bigger opportunities for my career as a digital artist. It was a tough decision at first. But, risk-taking has to be a part of my journey if I plan to reach my ultimate goal.

Who’s your favorite artist?

One of my favorite artists at the moment is a London-based graphic artist by the name of Samuel Burgess-Johnson. I love his usage of minimalism, typography, and mellow tones in his work.

On upcoming projects:

Share my thoughts and ideas with my audience through my work, and experimenting with new ideas for the Jeff Manning brand. I also have a separate Graphic Design/Web company that I will be starting with my girlfriend later on this year.

What is your dream project?

A dream project of mine is to create a workshop for people of all ages who want to learn the craft of graphic art. There is no better feeling than helping others reach their goals and full potential.

What motto or affirmation do you live your life by?

"In Due Time" is one of the phrases that I live my life by. I believe that if you really want something in life and you're willing to work hard to create an opportunity for it to happen, it will happen in due time.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @jeffmanning_

Lee Driskell of Rosco Biscuit

Atlanta, Georgia

You have an interesting background. You helped create an eyewear line and then started a film service company. What was the creative spark that led you to make art?

Art has always been my first love. I remember winning my first art contest in 4th grade and enjoying the feeling of being able to evoke an emotion from something that I created. In 1996 I was asked to be a part of an Olympics Kids Art T-shirt Competition to promote arts through the City of Atlanta. I won this competition, and the feeling of being recognized on such a level for my art was more than one could verbalize. I look at my eyewear and film company as a natural addition to what I do because it still requires a certain level of artistry.

How did you come up with the name Rosco Biscuit?

Rosco Biscuit was given to me by a friend of mine five years ago. She felt that my Gemini ways often showed in my personality. Lee Driskell is sophisticated, conservative, minimalistic and the other gritty, bold, social butterfly which she named Rosco Biscuit. I felt like my artwork was very representative of my Gemini Twins hence why I call my company Rosco Biscuit.

Some people would describe your work in the vein of abstract minimalism. How do you describe your artistic style?

I would agree. I feel that my art is representative of my lifestyle and things I love. From my house to my car, down to the way I dress. I guess you can say I'm a minimalist; less is more.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

My home.

I look at my home as my little “High Museum.” Any art that I've created has always, ALWAYS, been created for me first.

You have a great use of the color Black. Do you intentionally use the color for a lot of your pieces?

Yes, Black is my favorite color. It's such a dominate color. Being that I typically will start with a white canvas, black is usually the first color I envision first.

Do you have a favorite piece or collection?

Forbidden Fruit is my all-time favorite.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

Grace Miguel, Usher's wife, fell in love with one of my first pieces, Displeasure. We are planning a sit down to discuss my paintings further.

What are some risks or sacrifices you have made as an artist?

Some people may say it's a financial risk, but I don't know if I look at it as a risk or sacrifice because art is something that did more for me mentally than any financial gain I could ever receive from it.

Who is your favorite artist?

Dali and Basquiat.

They were both innovators and trailblazers in the world of art.  They have impacted me just as much artistically as they have in their business. They are strong examples that we, as creatives, don't have to be considered "starving artist." From their pieces being sold for hundreds of thousands of dollar to their works being featured in world-renowned museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to Musée du Louvre in Paris.

On upcoming projects:

I am working on some new pieces now. Not sure if they will be a part of a particular collection, but I am scheduling a release at the top of May. I'm planning to attend Art Basel Miami but I have a very tight schedule with my other business.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media @roscobiscuitart

Amy Stone


Birmingham, Alabama

How did you get your start in Art?

I didn't start painting and producing fine art until about three years ago. I've always been artistic, though, I grew up dancing and singing and writing. At university, I was an English major but was introduced to fine art education through one of my favorite professors as well as my baroque art studies abroad in Italy. Right after I graduated, I started working for a small publishing company as an assistant and got promoted to a prop stylist position within that company. About three years ago, I quit my full-time job to pursue a freelance career as a prop stylist for food magazines. Somewhere along the way, I picked up a paintbrush and here I am. It's always been natural, like an extension of myself. My painting and sense of composition are influenced by my love of dance, movement, literature, and styling.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I'd have to say my style is some form of abstract expressionism.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

I'm inspired by a story. I've always been a reader, a learner, and relational, so my natural place for inspiration is a story, whether that's the people around me, the city around me, or the book I'm reading. I've recently been inspired by film and score, thanks to my film loving husband.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

I sold my first piece through Instagram! It was a figure I had done right when I first started painting, and I posted it on Instagram (as one does). It was a special piece to me. I was so honored someone else saw beauty in it, too.

On memorable projects:

Honestly, the one that sticks out in my mind as my most fun piece "Show Up" was the first time I'd worked on a larger scale before, and that piece was transformative for me. Everything about that piece felt right. There's an arc to every piece for me; I usually hate it for a while before it starts feeling like what I want it to feel like. But that piece was so fun, and it was a breath of fresh air. It just felt right.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

One of the most memorable responses was a lady who'd seen my work at a show. She kept coming back to events and looking at this one piece of mine. She finally bought it because she couldn't stop thinking about the piece. To see other people moved by my work is such a gift to me as an artist.

What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?

My greatest challenge and critic is my inner monolog. Learning to show up and work hard, to be vulnerable with the canvas, even when my inner critic says otherwise, is essential to my work. It's hard work to show up and face yourself every day. I count it as a tremendous privilege as well as a tremendous challenge.

 Who is your favorite artist?

Picking a favorite is hard. So many artists that inspire me, but I'll give you my first favorite and then my most current favorite. The first piece of art that ever really moved me was "The Dance" by Matisse. My current favorite is Helen Frankenthaler. I love her work, and I find myself coming back to it.

On upcoming projects:

I'm currently working on a series based on home. My husband and I are buying our first home and are pregnant our first child, and I've loved thinking about the functionality of family and those little moments in childhood that are formative. I've been doing a lot of writing and work to start preparing for these pieces, and I'm excited to see where they take me.

What would be your dream project?

A mural in my neighborhood! I love the concept of public artwork and beautifying a city, beautifying the everyday. I love my community and want to find ways to give back to it. I'm working on making that a reality someday!

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

"Ring the bells that still can ring / forget your perfect offering / there is a crack in everything / that's how the light gets in" Leonard Cohen

For more information on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @amyhstone

Miya Bailey

Atlanta, Georgia

How did you get your start in Art?

I was a child artist. I began drawing when I was two-years-old and started selling art when I was ten. If my mom was having a party, I would draw someone's portrait for fifty cents. Back when everyone was breakdancing, white people would pay the black kids to breakdance, and I would draw the breakdancers and get a dollar. It became my hustle, but it was also my passion. I was making a little money, but I knew at an early age what I wanted to be.

Tattooing became another medium. When I was 17 or 18-years-old, a friend came back from the Job Corps, and he had this homemade tattoo on his arm. That was rare to see in the black community in the early 90s. He showed me how to do it using a needle and thread, a jail technique of tattooing. I gave myself a tattoo using the same method. People began asking me to do tattoos for them, so I started going to the library and began reading books on tattoo culture. I picked up this book by Don Ed Hardy, and it contained all these different tattoo styles, Japanese, tribal, Polynesian, but I didn't see any black people or black culture in the book. I knew that in African culture people got body modifications, scarification and were tattooing way before Europeans. I began studying African art and how it related to tattoo culture. I started hanging around a tattoo shop named Liquid Dragon in Asheville [North Carolina], and there my friend Rob taught me a lot about the technique of tattooing. I decided to move to Atlanta to find an apprenticeship. I came in contact with Julia Alfonso who was sparking a culture by teaching young black men how to tattoo. She was one of the first artists to start teaching a generation black tattoo artists, and I became one of her students.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

I dream a lot.

I can’t front, sometimes I might take a psychedelic [a mushroom] and dream these beautiful visions.

Photo by Omega Ruth Jr

Photo by Omega Ruth Jr

How would you describe your artistic style?


I have a lot of different styles, and each can be considered its own category. I tattoo differently than I paint, I paint differently than I illustrate. Each artform has its own different expression. You may not always understand the subject matter, but you can feel it.

What is your favorite project or collection?

My last collection, Before I'm Gone Vol.2, was the largest collections of work I've done in one series (42 pieces that spanned sculptures, paintings, and illustrations). It was my most exhausting project and tested my physical abilities. The project taught me a lot about my limitations.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

When people say my work is "beautiful.”

I know it seems basic, but that means the most. [The word] beautiful surpasses physical attraction. There are things that might be “pretty” or “nice,” but if you say something is beautiful, you can see passed the physical and feel it from the inside out.

What is a common misconception of tattoo artists?

A common misconception is that every tattoo artist is equal.

Some people think a tattoo artist is the same as a tattoer or a scratcher. Everyone has their specialty and things they like or don’t like to do. There are different categories to the artform like in any career. You have to know what you are looking for when you are ready to get work done.

What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?

I think the number one challenge for me at this time is "energy vampires." Sometimes you don't know if someone is sincere or if they are trying to drain your time and energy. Friendships should be an equal exchange of energy. If it gets to the point where you are repeatedly giving [time and energy], and someone is repeatedly taking with no reciprocation, then they are probably an energy vampire. Those are people I have to actively avoid.

Photo by Jamani Chavis

Photo by Jamani Chavis

What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?

I think the number one challenge for me at this time is "energy vampires." Sometimes you don't know if someone is sincere or if they are trying to drain your time and energy. Friendships should be an equal exchange of energy. If it gets to the point where you are repeatedly giving [time and energy], and someone is repeatedly taking with no reciprocation, then they are probably an energy vampire. Those are people I have to actively avoid.

On managing the demand of being a sought after artist:

I remain disciplined and very anal about my time. I have a schedule, and I stick to it. There’s a time to socialize and a time to work. On Mondays, I take care of business, conduct interviews, etc. Tuesdays, are my days off, I talk to people, go out to eat, or I may stay home and read comics all day. From Wednesday to Saturdays, I'm tattooing, and at night I'm painting. On Sundays, I'm with my family.

I could actually work all day. I enjoy working more than anything. I love work more than having company.

On current projects:

I hooked up with an organization called Goat Farm, and they sold me a building down the street from City of Ink. I agreed to keep the building art-related, so I'm working on a neighborhood coffee house, community library, and art store. People will be able to buy art supplies, drink coffee and draw right there on the spot. There will be a speakeasy art gallery behind one of the bookshelves. The top floor will be where elite artists can come and work. It will be a hub for inspiration.

 What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

I never adapt to the environment... I make the environment adapt to me.

I'm not sure where the quote came from but it's been with me since I was a kid. I stand firm on my principles and my discipline. I don't depend on another human being for anything. And I don't mean that in an egotistical way but it helps me stay morally grounded.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @miyabailey

Traci L. Turner


Reno, Nevada

How/when did you get started in Art?

I was introduced to drawing by my oldest brother when I was young. He was a self-taught artist and did amazing freehand drawings. I thought it was the coolest thing and I wanted to be just like him! One day I asked him to teach me something, and he showed me how to draw bubble letters. Once I figured it out, I kept wanting to draw other things. As I got older, I would doodle here and there. Mostly anime babes and drawings of my friends and crushes (à la Napoleon Dynamite, yes). I never really thought about it as a possible career path or presence in my life until senior year of high school [2002] when my mom suggested going to art school instead of a standard college.

 How would you describe your artistic style?

In a nutshell, my style is all about color. I am particularly interested in its expressive and technical qualities, so I like to leave it mostly undisturbed on the surface. My love of color influences the kind of staccato application of the paint which gives the textured, unblended look in my paintings. Only in the last few years has that style begun to stick with me and become a defining trait. It's expressive, it's a little bit abstract, and it's bold. Years ago I picked up the term "broken color" when reading about Impressionist painters, and I think that the phrase aptly describes what I do. One of my friends described my work as deceptive because the bright, bold colors betray the fact that some of the subject matter comes from a vulnerable place.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

I'll be the first to say that my approach to my work is self-indulgent, as I'm sure it is for a lot of artists whether they admit it or not. The majority of my work is deeply personal. I'll pull themes or phrases from my journals or from conversations with friends that touch on various aspects of the human experience. To express myself is what motivates me to create, but probably even more than that is to make a substantial emotional connection with the viewer. Perhaps that need to connect comes from the heavy presence of isolation throughout my life, especially since leaving my hometown. There's a vulnerable, humanistic element to my work that I think comes from noticing how many of us either choose to avoid dealing with complex emotions or process them in unhealthy ways. So by choosing to be very open about my struggles and harsh truths, my hope with my work is to provide an opportunity, if only for a moment, for someone to address their truths and allow us to feel less alone in the similarities. The blog on my website is also a great source for understanding some of my work, who I am as a person/artist and for initiating a dialogue. I have to plug hard for it because a lot of artists don't do that extra step and write about their work! So I always invite people to check it out and chime in.

On notable projects:

I have a series that I started about two years ago called "Flyy & Kinky,” and it focused on black women's natural hair. The exhibition that I had for it heightened my awareness of the importance of cultural representation, and it ended up being something that threw me into a whirlwind of attention that I didn't expect. I totally underestimated what a series of art centered on black women, and our hair specifically, would mean in the larger scheme of things. I definitely will be diving back into that series. I also enjoy any portraits that I get to paint, especially my self-portraits. I think I like portraiture because it's an opportunity to present a person to the world, either as they are or as they may want to be seen. Portraits can be intimately collaborative, and I take to heart the fact that someone would entrust me to paint something so personal for them. 


What has been the most memorable response(s) to your work?

There have been a couple of people so far who have negatively criticized my work, and I love that. It stands out because I find it amusing and weird! It doesn't hurt my feelings at all. I think I just don't care enough about what they think to bother me. I'm going to lump my answer for the most memorable positive response into anytime someone has personally expressed a strong emotional or intellectual reaction or attachment to anything I've painted or written. There are many things that I think and feel in those moments, but for now, I'll just say that those moments affirm what I'm trying to do as an artist.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist?

Recently I've been dealing with feeling like I'm spinning my wheels a little bit. It seems like I'm doing everything "right" career-wise. I do think that my work is good and has something to offer, but I haven't yet figured out how to get all the elements to click for me to be at the "next level." I've done very well locally, but figuring out the right method(s) for me to expand beyond that has been tough. I suppose that I don't expect to be super famous or live solely off of my work yet, but it'd be nice to figure out how to get closer to that. It's very tempting to try to change my work or hop onto a trend to try to garner attention or go viral or something like that, but I know that it's not sustainable. I'd like to think that people follow my work because they can sense something deeper there. I don't know if I haven't caught a bigger stride because the time hasn't come yet, I lack the luck factor, or if my work just isn't good enough for whatever reason. The questions and uncertainties surrounding that have been killing me lately. I just hope that it's a temporary setback. Another thing I struggle with sometimes is being a black artist who doesn't necessarily make "black art."

Who is your favorite artist?

Damn, it's tough to name just one! I'll list a few contemporaries at least, in no particular order:

I love Gerhard Richter. Based off of some of the things that I've read about him, he seems to have such an intelligent approach to his work. The color and textures he achieves in his abstracts leave me spellbound.

Kehinde Wiley is a fantastic black male portrait artist. I read once that many people consider portraiture a dead art form because at this point there isn't much room to do anything "new" with it, but I think that Kehinde is an artist that has been able to elevate the genre and further its relevancy.

I also have to name Françoise Nielly because her color sensibilities and paint application is just magnificent.

On upcoming projects:

Right now I don't have any immediate upcoming shows, which is great. For the last few years I've been making artwork solely for exhibitions, and I felt like I had to say something different with each show. Unfortunately, that left me feeling a bit unfocused and burned out. Now I have time to create work on my terms and continue to fine-tune my mission as a creative. I also get to experiment a little bit with different materials and scale. I want to go back and add to a few series that I started, such as my human heart series and natural hair series because I think there's still a lot of potential with some of that. There is a series that I want to start that would be portraits of my friends and other important people/influences in my life. I would also love to get some commissions. Other than that, I'm turning my attentions to revamping and building my online presence to gain more exposure and to maximize my opportunities for acquiring future work. One of those efforts includes an idea for a YouTube series that I keep playing within my mind. Despite any uncertainties I feel, I do acknowledge and appreciate that I'm in a good place creatively right now.

What is your dream project?

This is a timely question! Honestly, I think that's something that I need to redefine at this point in my art life. I don't task myself with "thinking big" or dreaming too often. Usually, I just prefer to think more localized than that. For so long, just making the work, putting myself out there and staying sharp was the "dream" and I'm living that now, which is an amazing thing to be able to say. As great as that is, it's still a very broad goal. I think the next step for me is to narrow my vision and figure out what else makes me happy and motivated within that wide net. Straight off the dome, I'd say that a dream project would be to have a fruitful and accessible art blog that would be a resource for emerging and aspiring artists, or anyone who is an art lover. I like the idea of being a kind of curator that can inform, encourage and motivate newer generations of creatives in an entertaining way. I'd also love for it to be a project that allowed me to travel around to various events so I could write about them and connect with other artists and professionals in-person. I started a blog sort of like that a few years ago when I was living near DC, but writing about others' work made me realize that I wanted to give myself a chance at being a professional artist first. So the project fell by the wayside after a while. I do have plans to pick it up again eventually, but I need to clean it up and nail down a plan I can stick with. It's very out of date now, but if anyone wants to check it out, it's a blog called Purple Paintbrush (

What motto or affirmation do you live your life by?

"Do you, boo. F**k the rest!"

Maybe it's because I'm so fiercely self-reliant (perhaps to a fault), or because I've been living life solo for the past seven years, but I'm a firm proponent of getting right with the Self above everything else. I just think that a lot of the shit we face in life could be avoided when a person knows who they are, is truly comfortable with it, and is committed to protecting it. Too often do we seek or expect external validations that are ephemeral and fickle.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @tracilturner

Matthew Muir


Tucson, Arizona

How did you get your start in Art?

As early as I can remember, I have always been creating art in one way or another. My father was an artist, so naturally, growing up around it, helped to shape my craft early on. As a young child, I spent most of my time in my room drawing. I can remember no test or homework arrived on my teacher's desk without doodles filling the sides of the white border. I would argue with the teachers about how it's a waste of a page to leave that edge uncovered with art. I was defiant even at a young age. If you were my teacher, I'm sorry. I realize now you were just trying to do your job.

How would you describe your artistic style?

If I had to put it in a box, I would say pop-surrealism with a dash of symbolism.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

The world.

For me, and this goes for all of my paintings, it's always about what do I want to say with this piece. How can I transcend the language to convey another issue that needs to be addressed?

What is the significance behind the TV substitution for the human head in most of your paintings?

Believe it or not, the TV substitute for the human head is a relatively new concept that I created for my show in Miami at "Art & Sol Studios." Coming up with the idea for the series titled "conclusions," I was in search of a concept that allowed me to cover a lot of different topics while keeping a cohesive concept throughout the artwork. Cabinet cards inspired the attire. In the late 1800's, there were cards that you would have your picture printed on and then you would visit your friends' houses and they would put your card in their album. Everyone would gather around to see who had come by the house. It was like Pokemon cards for their time. I like that period because of the Industrial Age. For the First time, the World sees that machinery can help humanity become free, and a great change happened. Another time a significant change happened was during the 1950's, and 1960's when we had the hippy movement and power to the people. The gears were turning and then the TV comes out and gets us all stuck. I feel the TV is a complete misuse of that technology. So, I hijacked the concept, and I am using it to challenge the viewer to rethink all that were doing to ourselves and the planet. Something you won't find on TV. The bright colors I use for my backgrounds create a sense of urgency in the piece.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist?

Not having four arms. Makes it hard to get the amount of work done I want to while I'm here. However, you have to take the good with the bad. I would probably look stupid if I had four arms and no one would like me. Life is all about balance.

What has been the most memorable response(s) to your work?

Well, I'm blessed to have so many great memories that it's hard to pick just one. The most recent one I can think of was in Miami while I was there during Art Basel. After explaining my painting titled "I am you" some of the people were moved to tears, and one person asked if we could do a circle group hug with the 14 or so people there at the time… and we did. Some of the people were strangers to each other, but in that beautiful moment, we were one. I loved that reaction.

Who is your favorite artist?

I f*%king love Banksy... Alex Grey, any other artist that pushes the viewer to think, to me, making art with no meaning is like growing a lawn instead of a garden. Both look good, but only one serves a purpose. I love this quote by Ernst Fischer:   "In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the World as changeable. And help to change it."   

On upcoming projects:

Currently, I have a show going on in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona with a pop-up gallery called "monsoon collective" I've taken over two rooms and a hallway in what used to be a doctor's office that closed down but has now reopened as an art collective. I'm showing alongside 26 other artists and each artist took over one or two rooms and was allowed to do whatever they wanted inside. The show started on October 1st and runs until January 30th. At the same time, I have my show in Miami with "Art & Sol Studios" that ran December 1st until December 31st.  After the New Year, I'm going to be working with galleries from New York, Los Angles, and the United Kingdom. No dates have been posted, but I hope 2017 will be a great year for me, having two shows, in two states at the same time is not a bad way to bring in the New Year. . . A total of 46 paintings on display right now. 

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would have to be to create something that inspires great positive change in our world but collaborating with Banksy or Alex Grey is my second place.

 What is one motto/phrase/mantra you live your life by?

No one can do what you can do better than you can do it. So let go of the self-doubt and just create.

For more on this artist, follow on social media at @artbymuir

Christopher Clark


Jacksonville, Florida 

How did you get your start in Art?

I got started in art when I was a child. In elementary school is when I knew I had a real interest in it.

How would you describe your artistic style?

To be honest, I don't really think I have a style, even though everyone else thinks so. I experiment a lot and try new things, so my style to me is being able to combine many styles in one. Most people excel in one or two styles that they've mastered. I haven't mastered any just yet, but I'm good at many.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

I draw artistic inspiration mostly from life. Things going on around me inspire me. My environment, family life, work, current events, and my people. Black people are all things that you can see from looking at my artwork.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

I actually first sold artwork when I was 18 years old. I used to do hand painted apparel, t-shirts, jeans, hats, shoes, and things like that. But the first time I sold a painting was actually in 2013 at Art Walk in Jacksonville. I think it was an abstract piece, with silhouettes of birds and different shades of green paint. After that I was hooked. I never thought my work was good enough to sell before that. I love proving myself wrong.

Detail some of your notable (or just plain fun) projects or collections.

I have fun with all my projects, but I think some of my most notable pieces dealt with issues of Black people in America. I like to touch on things that are going on around us, similar to how a journalist writes articles on what's going on in the world, I just draw it. One of my biggest pieces of 2016 was one I did called "Please". It depicted a young boy with his hands clasped in the praying position. In the painting you see a side profile of his face and the top half of his hands. That painting showed a child who has gone through a lot at a young age. From poverty and growing up with only one parent around, to seeing young Black boys being gunned down on the news and being scared to go out, I imagine this is how many of our children must feel. The inspiration to this piece comes from my own upbringing as well. I can remember having my hands clasped asking "Please" many times.

What has been the most memorable response(s) to your work?

It's crazy, but I never thought of myself as being a great artist, even to this day, I’m just alright. But everyone sees me as this motivational, inspirational, and prolific artist. I get messages via social media every day of people telling me how I inspire(d) them, or how I motivated them to start creating again, how they look up to me as an artist, and how I'm their favorite artist. It's an amazing feeling to know that your imagination can have such a major effect on people. People really feel my art. I think it's because I keep it real and raw, when you see my art I want you to think, not just see a nice picture.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist?

My biggest challenges as an artist are being consistent, pushing myself to be more creative, and time management. These are all things I plan on improving on in 2017.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

I don't think I have one favorite artist; however there are many artists whom I admire. One of them is an artist named Alim Smith (@Yesterdaynite). I've been following Alim for quite some time and the thing I like most about him as an artist is his creativity and willingness to try new things.

On upcoming projects:

I just completed my first children's book titled, "Glonda's Hair!” It's a short story inspired by my oldest daughter about her natural hair and all the things it can do. It is due to come out this spring and I can't wait to share it with the world. I also have a joint art exhibition coming up in February with two amazing artist, and it's going to be epic! Right now I'm working on a new collection of illustrations to use in my next book, a book of poetry.

On dream project:

My dream project would be to do a piece for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)! It would be an honor to be among such talented Black artists.

What is one motto/phrase/mantra you live your life by?

"Give 'em something great to be like" is my mantra!

My dad said this to me some years ago and I’ve been doing my best to live up to it ever since.


For more on this artist, please follow on social media @cooli_ras_art

Yoyo Lander


Los Angeles/ New York

How did you get your start in Art?

I consider myself a cultural enthusiast mainly because I'm into a lot of different things, I plan special events, my family runs a cultural travel experience called Encounters with African Religion, where I take a group to Ghana and Ethiopia and of course the painting.

I've always been an artist, whether I like to admit it or not. I've always known how to draw. When I was younger I made sculptures out of old gum. I didn't realize I had a true skill until 2 years ago when I sold my first piece. A friend of mine saw some of the paintings I created on the walls in my apartment and he said "Wow you are a really good painter. I want you to paint something for me." He wanted me to paint a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. because they share a birthday. I was hesitant at first but I went to the warehouse, got canvases, paint, acrylic and other supplies; then I locked myself into my apartment for almost a month. It was the most therapeutic experience of my life. I wanted to make such a great impression on my friend that I committed 500% on that wall. I totally transformed his space and he loved it. I don't think I had ever been so dedicated to a project. After that experience, I thought to myself "I'm in this thing... I'm doing it."

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would describe my artistic style as cubism* mixed with realism. I paint people as they are but it has this cartoon-ish cubism twist to it as well.

Where do you draw your inspiration for your pieces?

I draw my inspiration from whatever surrounds me when I travel abroad. I'm definitely more drawn to painting women. I can see the story in a woman. I think women are complex and beautiful, so I definitely get my inspiration from them.

On notable projects:

My first solo show, When Joy Overcomes Pain, is when I realized I was serious and how hard it is to develop a body of work around a theme. All my paintings are pretty big scale, all of my work spans from 72x85 or 48x60, I spent about a year creating all of the pieces. There were times when I wanted to give up and just didn't want to do it anymore. I kept pushing through because I knew I had something I wanted people to see. And the response that I got from it made it well worth. Someone at the show told me "You really know how to capture a person's soul and I feel them." And that's really what I want. I want a person to feel an overwhelming sense of joy when they see my artwork because that's what I feel inside.

What messages did you want to convene to the audience with the When Joy Overcomes Pain theme?

Perspective is a really big thing for me, especially when it comes down to a person's happiness. All my paintings are of real people. I have traveled the world and I know there are people who did not eat today or yesterday. Meeting these people gave me an understanding between "riches and wealth" and "the things that you think make you feel joy and the things that really make you feel joy."

I had been painting this piece I named "When Joy over comes Pain" of three women who are all married to the same man. I'd seen them before on one of my journeys and I noticed I never saw them smile. On this particular day I saw them smiling and I wondered, "why are they smiling?" Other travelers were speaking about how the woman in that particular village were oppressed due to having to married the same man and take care of the many children. What I found is that the women weren't oppressed they were living together in harmony, operating this whole village effortlessly. Everyone ate everyday and everyone got along. The way they were embracing and helping each other was beautiful to me.

What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?

One of the challenges I face is getting bombarded with a lot of opportunities to collaborate with other artists. I have to take the time to think about what baskets I want to put my eggs in. I have to think of things in a year span. It takes about a month for me to create a piece not matter how big or small. Just saying no to certain things has been one of my challenges.

Personally, the "Jack of All trade, Master of none" moniker has been something I've always struggled with. I don't struggle with it anymore because I've made a name for myself, Cultural Enthusiast. It's a person who is into many things and can monetize based off their interest in all things culture. That's what I am.

Who is your favorite artist?

One of my favorite artists is Ab2ether. His style is so unique to me. I love what he paints, his colors and messages are so beautiful. Picasso and others have been world renown for so long because they were the first to create what they created, and this guy has his own style. He doesn't use the most expensive paint or the most expensive canvas but it works . It makes a statement that I'M HERE.

I also like Kerry James Marshall. His portrayal of African life and use of bold colors. He is a master at what he does.

And I love Kara Walker, a lot of artists might not agree with this choice. As an artist you have to make people feel something and I love her unique medium. Her art, particularly her silhouettes, are very beautiful and uncomfortable at the same time. It makes you wince but you can't help but look at it.

On upcoming projects?

I'm currently in the process of conceptualizing my next solo show. The title as of now is "The Problem with Going Nowhere".

I have been thinking about all the people in my life who are in this cycle of living and working, living and working, having a little bit of fun, living and working. I began to wonder what is life going to be like if they stay in this cycle where they aren't going anywhere. I'm not sure where this project is going to go but something amazing will come out of it in a year.

What is your dream project?

I would like to collaborate with a company who makes composition notebooks and produce customized notebooks with my Black American Girl image. I believe it is important to have affordable visuals such of this available for young girls. 

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

If want to go where you've never been, you have to do things you've never done.

Whether it's your dreams, professionally, or even dating, you have to go out and get uncomfortable.


For more information on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @yoyolander


*cubism - an early 20th-century style and movement in art, especially painting, in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage.

Jessica Herbert (JHerb)


Tallahassee, FL 

How did you get your start in Art?

Art has been a presence in my life since my youth. I had no idea at the time that I had a craft. I was just creating this work to release emotions. Initially, I started sketching and opened up to painting two years ago.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I like to stay away from labels so I don't identify my art with one particular genre but more of a collective of genres infused with my inner vision. I tend to gravitate towards natural aspects of our universe such as, the sky, the female & the "beyond". My color palate usually consists of earth tones with hues revolving around Chakra's.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

Inspiration pretty much meets me everywhere. I always have a journal on me to write or draw ideas that I use as references for paintings. I have noticed that I get the best inspiration after a good mediation session. It's like my higher creative displays the vision in my pineal gland and then I deliver it.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

Ironically, it was not on a canvas but custom painted timberlands.

On notable projects:

My most notable artwork, "Iris", is one for my private collection. I was a dedicated artist for only 3 months when "Iris" was selected for Tallahassee's most respected art exhibition, Waffles and Brews 2015. This was my first piece in an art exhibition and the first time my artwork would be noticed on a larger scale. I tested myself with this painting by trying out new skills that I had picked up and applied with full passion. The whole process really helped clarify the meaning of accomplishing your goals and believing in your craft.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

Recently, a supporter purchased a painting of mine with the words "I Know I Can". She later shared that she bought this painting to hang in her hospital room during recovery after surgery. That feedback was so humbling, it ignited even more of my flame to continue to inspire other people through art.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist?

When I started painting, I would give my artwork away for free or at a very low cost. I loved openly giving my art, however, I knew at some point I would need to see more of an income for the work that I was dedicating my time to. It was uncomfortable for me not only to begin charging but also to increase my value. I decided to come up with a pricing system based on canvas size that has helped me stay on track & gain more confidence with the exchange of my pricing.

Who’s your favorite artist?

Sue Tsai is the closest in relation to my personal style and has sparked new direction within my creative process. I like how her work is original, clean, and colorful. I can see any of her collections and automatically name her as the artist. That organic style is very valuable to me.

On upcoming projects:

Currently, my work is on display for the Chromotherapy Exhibition located in the Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery [Tallahassee, FL] until December 2, 2016. I am also working on my submission piece for the 4th annual Waffles & Brews Art Exhibition on December 10, 2016. Both Exhibitions are located in Tallahassee, FL.

What is your dream project?

I would like to open a multifunctional art facility.

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Do the work that meets the desire

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media

Christopher Paul Dean

Atlanta, GA 

When did you get your start in art?

From a young age, creative processes were introduced to me. Coming from a family with little money, the act of making was always used as a device to keep me busy. From the age of 2 to 21 I had always drawn, painted, and built things, but I never really focused on art with rigor until I was 21. At that age, after being removed from school at 15 years of age, and working in warehouses etc. I was ready to begin study again. I applied for an Art and Design course using the portfolio my grandmother had helped me put together, 12 years later and I’ve just completed my Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Sculpture.

Where do you draw artistic inspiration?

Working in the studio with my wife keeps me inspired. When we are busy making, thinking, and creating, there is always positive energy to keep both of us nourished. I think, though, that the important part of inspiration is being able to process the inspiration in the best way possible. For that I remain open minded to the potential of the world around me, and importantly, I trust that art will direct me in the appropriate direction. Sometimes we work hard and nothing feels like we are making progress, at that point we have to focus on the fact that even those things we may consider to be failures, have many important and positive elements that can be extracted and utilized to inspire and move us forward.

On notable projects:

I was recently commissioned to install some work as part of the SCAD Atlanta (Peachtree building) renovation. It was an interesting process because I was working with an interior designer. The work I installed was a mural, which is the first I have done, and it was on a floor in which several other objects of mine are present. That commission allowed me to understand the logistics involved with creating work that was so site-specific. The interior designer had an idea in her mind, and I had mine, but ultimately we reached a place where both ideas came together to create a really fun space for students to both walk through, and relax.

You recently had a gallery showing, FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER. What was the inspiration behind this collection?

Each piece of art I created for my show, FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER, reflects a keen interest and belief I have in the potency art has to be a device I can utilize to distort, clarify, deconstruct, reconstruct and expand perception and logic. The results of these interests, one hopes, is a body of work that has becomes a platform for a critical re-evaluation of past, current, and future interactions with familiar objects, and the varying contexts in which we experience the familiar

What do you hope viewers of the collection take from the pieces?

It was absolutely imperative that I provided the viewer with a body of work that explored the limits of not just art, but also of the perception they have of art and where it exists. I enjoy creating work that has this tension, it’s not agitated at all, but there is this internal tension that is derived from the work slipping between two modes of existence; one being that of the personal narrative we develop with objects through past experiences, and then the distortion and need for a new form of interaction plus understanding when the familiar object is now under the framework of art. It is my hope that, when viewing my work, the spectator is encouraged to consider their body not just in relation to how they perceive the object at this time, but also how they engage with the world around them. It's a tall order, but I feel my work assist in providing people with alternative way of experiencing themselves experiencing. 

What are some challenges you have faced as an artist?

Personal challenges usually come from my mental state. This can be up and down and is something I’ve really tried to understand over the last few years. Anxiety seems to be present in many peoples’ lives, and I am not exempt from this. There is also a long line of depression in my family. With all of this, I make sure to pay close attention to my mental wellbeing. I utilize art, and the varying process associated with making it, to keep me in a stable place. It’s never easy, but I’ve found a way of enjoying the ‘ride’ as best I can.

Who’s your favorite artist?

At present my favorite artist is Madlib. He is not considered a Fine Artist, because he isn’t. But musically speaking he is an incredible artist. Not just because of the catalogue he has produced, but because of the dedication it takes to create said catalogue. In my opinion, he is the perfect example of what happens when a creative individual is 100% committed to what they do, and intent on pushing the boundaries of their particular genre.

On upcoming projects:

Having just installed, and de-installed, my solo show for my MFA, I am now beginning to make new work that is in response to all I discovered during the process. I wouldn’t like to give too much away at this point.

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Always trust art.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @cpdean