I attended BlerdsNightOut this past weekend, I had a ball, read our article in our other blog dedicated to women in tech
SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS (@SOCIALMEDIAINF0) tweeted at 8:39 PM on Sun, Jul 28, 2013:
“Gain control of your time, and you will gain control of your life.”
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Makeba is a beautiful being and artist who want to bring peace to others through positivity, read her story and get inspired.
What is your occupation/brand? I am a published Multi-Discipline Career Artist. This encompasses fine art, which includes painting, mixed media, drawing, printmaking, fiber art, assemblage, and installation. I am also a curator, former gallery owner, freelance decorating consultant, and arts educator with over 20 years experience in the industry.
When did you know that you were an artist? It seems I’ve always known, but I suppose in all fairness I’d have to say that I’ve been acutely aware of my artist status since I was about 7 years old.
Were you afraid to call yourself an artist? Never. Being an artist was always something that I thought of as an honor. Artists are the movers and shakers of the world, and many of the people who I admire most are generally creative types. Art is intrinsically connected to everything I do. I am not just and artist, I live art, as art lives in me.
What do you love about being an artist?
I love the freedom of will that being an artist affords me, to impact positive change in the world, change concerning the way we think about topics such as separatism, sexism, and racism, through creative social interaction. I love creating images that blur the lines of all of these topics. Art allows me to bring forth beauty into a world that desperately needs it. Art allows me to touch the lives of children, my students, and teach them to imagine and bring forth the unimaginable. My students have always taught me as much as I teach them, so I love being a teaching artist, as it helps me by placing me in a position to learn to both give and receive blessings.
What do you want the viewer to take with them after seeing your artwork?
A sense of connectedness, calm and peace… Bold colors are my technicians to push the limits of the imagination. Strong lines are my fiery strokes to visually represent the thread that spiritually connects us to one another, while simultaneously exploring the human connection with nature. These components unite as a catalyst to heal effects of racism and separatism by displaying the varying hues of the human race often within a single image.
My mission is to pull viewers into a bigger picture, beyond themselves in order to realize our ONE origin. I view my art as a tool with an ultimate purpose of peace painting with my heart and soul, knowing I am merely a vehicle for Love expressions, from the creator ALL.
Sometimes being an artist can be exciting but fearful, I personally fear that I do not show enough of myself in my art, what do you fear? I guess my major fear in creating art is that I will allow negativity to accidentally manifest through me. I paint from a positive perspective, as we have quite enough negativity in the world already. I don’t need or want to add to this energy. My only other concerns are that I am able to teach what I’ve learned to my student, enabling them to add to what I give them and perfect their own style and not become mini me’s. Being able to support myself from creating art is on the list as well, as without this ability, although I am always and artist, I can’t continue as a working artist.
Did you attend school, or were you self-taught?
I am primarily self-taught. However, while in elementary school, I was mentored by a Jesuit priest, Father James Hasse, SJ. Fr. Hasse was an extremely generous teacher, and surrogate father figure, who imparted a great deal of knowledge about art disciplines, techniques and media to me. I tried taking art classes in high school, but I had a short attention span, and was far too free spirited for a large classroom-learning environment.
I’m a bit of a maverick, and often have difficulty following rules. I’ve always known that there is no such thing as impossible, there is only it hasn’t been done yet. I actually did everything backwards really, lol. I tried college, but had the same problem as with high school. Eventually, after some years of thinking that I wanted to be a fashion designer, jewelry designer, etc., I realized that I painted on everything I created, and eventually, I gave all of those things up and finally accepted that I was an artist, a painter.
After knocking down doors, and working 20 years in the industry in various capacities, I returned to school in 2009, 5 months into a divorce, to study interior design. Not long after, I realized that applied arts were far too rigid for me, but I stubbornly continued on. Several years later, I couldn’t take it any longer and withdrew from my program. I am now once again working full-time as a visual artist, and although I recognize the impact that design school has made on my art, I still know that first and foremost I am a visual artist. I plan to return to school, and although I’ve taught for years, I will perhaps pursue a degree in fine art, art education, or textile design. I must admit I’m a bit of a busy bee.
Were do you see your career 5 years from now?
Five years from now I see myself being the founder and executive director of a multi-discipline youth arts center. This has always been my dream. I grew up in a row house, in a public housing project on the near-west side of Chicago. It was walking distance from what was then called Jew Town, and high-rise projects dense with negativity, but in spite of this, there was still a sense of community. The church that I grew up in, Holy Family, one of the oldest surviving churches, having survived the Chicago fire was also nearby, and my extended family attended mass en masse every Sunday together. Unlike many other children growing up around me, I was fortunate to have attended Holy Family Grade School, a school that provided me with a window to the arts. I would like to give that back to other children who are growing up in similar environments of disadvantage. I am committed to working with children who with all the budget cuts in arts funding these days, would otherwise have no access to an early art’s education. I firmly believe that art is necessary to everything we do, and if it is lacking in a child’s early life, this lack thereof impairs a child’s ability to imagine what some might consider impossible.
Any future events or shows that you will be featured in?
At the beginning of the year I had two shows planned. My first show was to be with Sapphire and Crystals, a group consisting of professional African American women artist that I am a seasoned member of. The show was scheduled for June at Prairie State College. I had to pull out of this show due to unforeseen challenges that were beyond my control, but the show went on, and it was fantastic!
My second show of the year is a show produced by Diasporal Rhythms, an African American collectors group that collects art by artist of the African diaspora. I was one of the first 5 artists that this group publicly honored in 2003. This exhibition will highlight the art of artists who members of the group have collected over the years. I am in the collection of all of the founding members, as well as many new members.
My work was also selected and published for the cover art of Diasporal Rhythms Co-Founder Daniel Texidor Parker’s book, African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond. The exhibition will take place at the Logan Center at University of Chicago in October of 2013. I have had such a heavy exhibition load over the past 10 years, that I am taking it relatively easy, and investing much of my time in producing new work for the moment.
Advice for future artist?
The key word is persistence. Stick to your dream, as outside of being a parent, art is one of the most challenging career paths one can be chosen for. The ones who persevere are the ones who most often do well.
Continue to perfect your craft, and get it out there by all means necessary.
Take criticism graciously, and use of it what you will to better your work if it makes sense to you.
Don’t take no for an answer.
Learn the business of art, because one without the other won’t cut the mustard unless of course you have a wealthy or famous relative out there somewhere who is willing to support you along the way. Although I myself did not in the beginning choose the academic path, I can tell you that it is helpful in the potential connections and support systems that it may afford you. Believe me, you need all the help you can get.
As the old adage goes, do what you love, and the money will follow. I will say this too, remember that many seasoned artists are still waiting for the money part, so I will leave you with, do what you love if it makes you happy, even without the financial gain, so that at the very least you have happiness.” KNOW it! Knowing your worth is very important. Knowing that you are a gifted and successful artist helps too. Remember, don’t think it, don’t hope it, don’t wish it, KNOW it. There is a great deal of power in knowing. Knowing is the beginning of BEING. It may or may not happen overnight, but remember that anything good is generally worth fighting for, working hard for, and waiting for.
Remember to manifest prolifically in a disciplined manner, so that when the opportunity appears, you are ready. You can’t show your art, or sell your art, if you have not already created it. KNOW it!
What’s your legacy, what message would you like to leave behind? I am still working on my legacy, but if I leave nothing else behind, I hope that I leave an enduring message of peace and love for ALL. I’d like to leave the message that we can not know the true meaning of God, by whatever name each may call this energy that is us, until we accept ALL, and become one with ALL. The message that there is only ONE, and we are the many pieces that comprise that which it is, regardless of our differing points of origin or perspective. If any piece of the puzzle is left out, lost, or missing, the puzzle is incomplete, and this in turn creates imbalance, and an incomplete state for all.
My work mimics the stained glass windows of the church that I grew up in as a child. The windows always puzzled me, as the images did not resemble any of the members of the mass that my family attended. There were no black faces, no brown faces, no Asian faces. Too many were missing. My mentor, the Jesuit priest who I mentioned earlier painted beautiful biblical images that depicted ALL people, including the faces of those I noticed missing. This helped me to imagine that which was considered impossible in the 1960 and 70′s. Something else that struck me as odd was that women were never mentioned in positions of power, and he painted this too. Growing up in a family that was dominated by female members, I viewed women as innately powerful beings who bring forth life, thus I could not understand this exclusion from what is considered holy. I did not understand the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. I constantly inquired and was hushed when I asked over and over again, “But where’s the Mother?” I realized that there was an imbalance in this exclusion, and promised myself that I would be one to create this balance later in life through my art, by returning those who had been removed. I was determined to assist in completing the puzzle for the good of all concerned. When I speak of the plight of women, I do not imply that I have no regard, respect, or love for men.
When I speak of the plight of people of color, I do not imply that I have no regard or respect for those who are not. I simply want to complete the puzzle so that we can all be present, learn from our combined mistakes, and be one again.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blog, portfolio?
I am in the process of building a new, updated and improved website, but in the meantime, you can find my work at the addresses listed below, or simply Google me.
For those who craft and are looking for simple ideas to make beautiful pieces check out Eleven Magnolia Lane http://www.11magnolialane.com