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Finding a Purpose as a Black Artist

If you haven’t met me before or saw any of my videos, there’s one thing that sets me apart from many people…

…I’m…I’m black. *GASP!*

All jokes aside, there is a lot of under representation of people like me in the black community and in the art community. Where I come from, I don’t see many, if any successful black men and women during my commutes. I don’t see them happy and thriving. I see them surviving, downtrodden doing what they can to keep their bodies afloat.

I remember riding the bus on my way home one day. It was 12:30pm, lunchtime for those that work Downtown, and with the hustle and bustle of professionals coming from their offices to grab a bite I noticed something… Not a brown person in sight.

I happened to look around in the bus, and surrounding me were people of dark hues.

That got me thinking. I started making observations during my commutes in my city.

A majority of homeless men and women in my city are black.

A majority of people that take the public transportation are black.

I remember recalling only two teachers of mine in my entire school career that were black. This includes middle-school all the way up to college.

It’s something to easily gloss over, but when something like this is prevalent in your everyday life, where you aren’t surrounded by successful, happy people of your kind: Teachers, professors, artists, role models, it can twist your psyche. Whether you realize it or not.


I went to a minority business expo last Saturday and it was… phenomenal. Words couldn’t explain my feelings as the day progressed. Excited? Enlightened? Empowered? All of the above and then some?!

To see so many black and brown faces, dressed for success, with degrees, professions, business names, and business cards, God, It was such a breath of fresh air.

To see people, like me, making something of themselves.

To see people, like me, carry themselves with poise, with articulate speech, yet never forgot where they came from.

To see people, like me, exude so much love, positivity and.. business sense! Ugh, the business sense!

That. In of it’s own was life-changing. To meet and be a part of a large, influential group of strong, black men and women. Older, and my age, doing what it takes to succeed. To change our community. So many bright ideas, untapped potential. Some people were blossoming, and others were just starting to bud. Words could not explain the high I got just from being a part of #MBEES.

I realized due to us being so underrepresented in our communities at home, in the art communities abroad, I need to be someone known to other girls and black artists like me. Because believe it or not, growing up with a role model that looks like you, speaks like you, and understands you can be the most powerful thing in the world.

~PK

Networking

Networking is Crucial for Illustrators. Here’s Why.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “it’s who you know” in show biz. Well, that applies to the illustration biz as well. Making connections is the best thing you can do for your business and your quality of life. When you make new friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, not only can you bring value to them, but they can do the same for you.

Continue reading “Networking is Crucial for Illustrators. Here’s Why.”

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Sharing Value as an Illustrator

When it comes to sharing value, I thought it would be easy to type everything I know about illustration down and share it in a blog post format. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but I never thought leveraging video would be easier.

Continue reading “Sharing Value as an Illustrator”

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Believe in Syracuse Recap

On January 29th, an event called Believe in Syracuse’s 4th Birthday Party was hosted. Held by a group who wants nothing but innovative business and economic growth for the city of Syracuse. With that being said, they gave out opportunities to network and meet other locals in the area! Who knows? Maybe I had something of value to someone, and someone else had something of value to me! The beauty of networking. I had my best friend with me and the boyfriend for emotional support. I’m so happy I didn’t do it alone.  Continue reading “Believe in Syracuse Recap”

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I’ll be at the Winter Maker’s Market!

What’s better than that? There’s going to be 19 other artists struttin’ their stuff alongside me! There’s going to be art, live music, and a cash bar located at the highly renowned Dinosaur BBQ in downtown Syracuse.

Now, I could go on and on about how kickass this event is going to be, but that ruins the surprise! It’s 100% free to attend, so if you’re in the area, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t see you there!

Come give some of that local love <3

Date:        Saturday Feb 04, 2017
Time:       5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Address: Dinosaur BBQ – 246 East Willow Street, Syracuse, New York, 13202

Please check it out!

 

 

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PK’s Going Local and Vending!

Awww yes! I’m heading over to Believe in Syracuse’s 4th Birthday Party! And what’s even better? I’ll be vending with my best friend Ashanti Bell Art! January 27th, we’re double teaming this event, and we’re about to make this the official kick-off of 2017. If you’re in Syracuse, you need to check this event out. It’s a great way to network, meet new people, and stay in tune to the local art scene in Syracuse.

Come drop by and say hi, trust me, we ain’t shy ;D

Date:         Friday Jan 27, 2017
Time:        5:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Address:  Museum of Science and Technology – 500, South Franklin Street, Syracuse, New York, 13202

 

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Local Art Opportunities

If you’re like me and you might not know where to go next with your art, why not reach out locally? Explore your city, scope the stores, check out the art scene. You might find out there’s more than you thought. And who knows, all that aimless wandering can lead you to an artistic adventure right in your backyard!

Yesterday was a prime example of just that. I attended two events on a last minute whim. One is called Art on the Porches which is an annual event where local small businesses, vendors, painters, and artisans sell their work and wares to the community. Everyone’s works of art displayed on beautiful residential porches.

Three days prior I saw a flyer calling for art. This lead me to a great opportunity to partner with the Public Arts Task Force and submit two paintings to their silent auction fundraiser. Now, I’ve been working digitally for a while but I have the softest spot for traditional media. Not only haven’t I worked with Masonite before, but I also picked back up acrylic as well! Talk about an evening of experimentation!

After finishing this one, I started having an internal war with myself. I fell hard and I didn’t want to let this kitten go! *UPDATE* She’s found her forever-home!

 

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“Tea and Company” Acrylic on hardboard 8×8

 

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Come on now, how could you say no to that little face?

The internal struggle continued every time I looked at that piece. I ended up creating a second one just in case. After much coaxing and prodding from my family, I caved and sent them both in. Not bad for three days worth of work. Though I’m sad to see two wonderful pieces go, I’m so happy that I was able to contribute something to a great cause. I hope they go out to great homes.

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“Spring Aromas” Acrylic on Masonite 8×8

 

After that event wrapped up, Plazapalooza was next on my to-do list and I met some more amazing people there. Everyone at both locations were so kind, exciting to talk to and had valuable information to share. I love that about art communities. There were people that were just starting out to those who have been in the market for decades. Everyone was willing to answer my questions and chat with me. It was an honor and a pleasure to fill my day surrounded by so much talent.

I’m telling you, if you want to try something new, go outside! Explore! I would have never found out about these local art opportunities if I didn’t wander around and end up at my art store. This was such a rewarding day and I could have never asked for anything better. I’ll start doing that now. If I feel artistically aimless, I’m going to explore my surroundings and see what’s happening around the community.

I wrote another post with 4 more tips on what to do when you’re stuck in an art rut. Check it out!

Have you taken advantage of your local community to do something new? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

~PK