Creator Series

Creator Series Q&A with James Francis of AfriLux Galleries

Q: Hey James! Welcome to our Creator Series Q&A. Let’s start with a brief backstory of how you got started & the creation of AfriLux Galleries. Also, what motivated you to connect African artists with a global audience through your platform?

The inception of AfriLux Galleries was a transformative moment for me. While engrossed in my online food business, I stumbled upon the remarkable work of artisans in rural areas. Witnessing their talent and dedication, I realized the untapped potential of connecting them with a global market. This realization fueled my passion to establish AfriLux as a platform that not only showcases art but also serves as an economic catalyst for these gifted individuals.

Q: As the visionary behind AfriLux, how did you develop the business model to showcase the diversity and richness of African art and culture?

Crafting the business model for AfriLux was an intricate process that required a deep understanding of the diverse African art landscape. Our aim was not just to curate a collection but to narrate the stories embedded in each piece. The business model focuses on fostering a sense of appreciation for the richness and cultural nuances that define African artistry.

Q: Tell us about your role in building partnerships with artists and collectors. What do you enjoy most about bringing artists and collectors together?

Building partnerships involves a personal commitment to facilitating connections that extend beyond transactions. Witnessing the transformative impact on artists’ lives and the joy it brings to collectors is immensely gratifying. This role is a delicate dance of bridging creativity and appreciation, creating a community that values and supports African art on a global stage.

Q: AfriLux is committed to empowering artists and celebrating the country’s unique culture. Can you elaborate on how this commitment is reflected in your business and its impact on the artists you work with?

The commitment to empowering artists at AfriLux is not just a statement; it’s a philosophy that influences every aspect of our business. We ensure that the economic benefits reach the artisans directly, creating a sustainable impact on their lives. This commitment is reflected in fair compensation, skill development programs, and initiatives that contribute to the overall well-being of the artistic community.

Q: Your passion extends beyond AfriLux to a food e-commerce business focusing on quality, sustainability, and fairness. How do you balance your involvement in two distinct industries, and do you find any common threads in your approach to both ventures?

Balancing involvement in both AfriLux and a food e-commerce business is a dynamic challenge. However, the common thread lies in a commitment to quality, sustainability, and fairness. Both ventures align with a broader vision of making a positive impact on communities while delivering products that embody values of authenticity and excellence.

Q: AfriLux emphasizes handcrafted African treasures. Could you share more about the curated collection and the traditional techniques skilled artisans employ to create these masterpieces?

AfriLux’s emphasis on handcrafted treasures is a celebration of traditional techniques employed by skilled artisans. The curated collection is a testament to their artistry, preserving age-old methods like hand weaving, natural colouring while ensuring that each creation represents the rich heritage of African craftsmanship. This dedication to authenticity adds a unique dimension to the cultural narrative we aim to share.

Q: How many items are in the current AfriLux collection and is there a more popular piece than others? Let us know where your products are available.

AfriLux proudly showcases over 100 handcrafted pieces, ranging from vibrant rugs and tote bags to unique lamp sheds, fruit bowls, organizers, wooden items, laundry baskets, decor baskets, coasters, and much more. Our diverse collection reflects the richness of African art, contributing to a global narrative of creativity. These cultural gems are accessible worldwide, creating a bridge that connects enthusiasts around the globe with the essence of African craftsmanship.

Q: The commitment to sustainability is evident in your businesses. Are any specific initiatives or practices implemented to ensure sustainability in AfriLux Galleries?

Sustainability is not just a buzzword at AfriLux; it’s a guiding principle. Our initiatives include ethical material sourcing, support for eco-friendly practices, and ensuring fair compensation for artisans. By prioritizing sustainability, we aim to make a positive impact on both the environment and the communities engaged in crafting these exceptional pieces.

Q: Persistence and faith are essential qualities for an entrepreneur. Can you share a specific moment in your journey where persistence and faith played a crucial role in overcoming challenges or setbacks?

In moments of overwhelming challenges, persistence and faith have been my guiding lights. Transforming setbacks into opportunities to empower others has been a source of strength. AfriLux’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and a deep-seated belief in the positive impact our endeavors can have. Additionally, at the time I started it, it took us five months of hard work to get our first sale.

Q: What inspires you personally to continue your journey with AfriLux Galleries, and how do you stay motivated during the entrepreneurial ups and downs?

My personal inspiration stems from the profound passion I have for art and the fulfillment found in helping others achieve their dreams. The journey with AfriLux is more than a business venture; it’s a commitment to contributing positively to the lives of artisans and making a lasting difference in the world of African art.

Q: What’s your favorite quote, mantra, or words of inspiration & why?

A favorite quote that resonates deeply with me is, “Empower the hands that craft, and you’ll uplift the spirit that creates.” This mantra encapsulates the essence of AfriLux, emphasizing the transformative power of supporting artisans and their remarkable craftsmanship. It’s a reminder that our efforts extend beyond commerce; they are a means to uplift spirits and preserve the cultural heritage of African craftsmanship.

Connect with AfriLux Galleries



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Pouring Creativity: Unique Ways to Enjoy Cream Based Liqueur

Liqueurs made with a creamy base are a welcome addition to any bar. These liqueurs range from traditional Irish cream to chocolate, coffee, and even fruit infusions, all of which are silky, smooth, rich, and decadent. You can try different flavor profiles and pairings by creating unique Cream Based Liqueur concoctions. It’s a chance to try new things, broaden your taste buds, and deepen your appreciation for liqueurs.

Caramel Irish Coffee

Caramel, coffee, and Irish cream liqueur make for a delicious flavor combination. The velvety texture of the Irish cream liqueur balances the bold flavor of brewed coffee and the subtle sweetness of the caramel. Because of its warmth and softness, this drink is perfect for a night by the fireplace.

All you need is hot brewed coffee, Irish Cream liqueur from Thirst: Philippines’ First Online Liquor Marketplace (you can browse through their wide selection of options, too), and a drizzle of caramel sauce. It’s a quick and hassle-free drink you can whip up quickly, perfect for casual gatherings and personal indulgence.

The caramel in Irish coffee makes it appear as good as it tastes. Layering coffee, Cream Based Liqueur, and caramel offers an attractive visual appearance. To make the beverage more visually appealing, top it with whipped cream, caramel sauce, or cocoa powder for a finishing touch.

Winter-Warmer Drink

The Winter-Warmer Drink is great for Christmas parties or other winter gatherings. It’s a delicious and unique drink you can give as a welcome drink or warm nightcap.

It often incorporates spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves, which are synonymous with winter flavors. You can try out different Cream Based Liqueurs, like Irish cream or vanilla cream, to make drinks with unique tastes. You can also change the amount of spices to fit your taste and add a splash of your favorite spirit, like rum or whiskey, for an extra kick.

The Cream Based Liqueur in the Winter-Warmer Drink adds a luxurious and velvety texture to the beverage. It creates a creamy and indulgent mouthfeel that enhances the overall drinking experience. The silkiness of the liqueur makes the flavors more robust and rich.

Mocha Martini

The Mocha Martini is a coffee and chocolate liqueur cocktail that mixes the bold flavors of each with the silky smoothness of a Cream Based Liqueur. The ultimate result is a delicious combination of flavors. The cocktail’s exquisite balance comes from the coffee’s sharpness, the liqueur’s sweetness, and the chocolate’s richness.

It’s a drink that makes you feel fancy and rich, perfect for parties and celebrations or whenever you feel like treating yourself. The martini’s appearance and flavorful combination make it an enjoyable drinking experience.

This cocktail is a visual feast served in a martini glass and topped with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. It’s a classy touch that may make a big impression at social events.

Irish Cream Shooters

Irish Cream Shooters are easy to change to fit different tastes and events. To give the shooters a unique twist, try different liquors, like chocolate, mint, or Cream Based Liqueurs with caramel.

You can also change the amounts of liqueur and other ingredients to get your desired flavor and strength. Because the recipe is so flexible, there are many ways to make it your own.

Their small size makes them perfect for sharing and encourages guest conversation and interaction. Serving shooters in creative shot glasses or small dessert cups makes the experience more fun and visually appealing, making it a drink that people will remember and enjoy.

Coffee Slushie

A Coffee Slushie is a refreshing drink that mixes a chilled slushie with a Cream Based Liqueur. It feels cool and refreshing, so it’s great for hot summer days or when you want something cold. The liqueur’s creamy texture gives the slushie a touch of luxury, making it a delicious and rewarding drink.

You can blend coffee, a Cream Based Liqueur, ice, and other flavorings or sugar. You can quickly whip up a refreshing and delicious Coffee Slushie with just a few ingredients and a blender. Serve it with a fun straw, some whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a dusting of cocoa powder to the top, and on tall glasses or mason jars.

Bourbon Irish Cream

Adding bourbon to Irish cream liqueur makes for a more subtle and exciting cocktail. Bourbon’s complex flavor combines vanilla, oak, caramel, and spices.

Different bourbon brands and varieties give their unique flavors and aromas. You can customize the cocktail to your liking by changing the proportion of bourbon to Irish cream, resulting in a more robust bourbon flavor or a smoother, sweeter drink.

Irish cream’s richness works wonderfully with bourbon’s nuanced caramel undertones to produce a delicious and satisfying drink. Indulgent and pleasant, combining these two different spirits creates a new flavor profile.

Experiment with New Flavors and Combinations of Cream Based Liqueur

Discover new flavors and let your bartending imagination go wild by mixing up some of these unusual Cream Based Liqueur concoctions. Sipping on a dessert-like drink with an Irish cream base from Thirst will satisfy your sweet tooth while offering a delightful boozy twist. These one-of-a-kind drinks will surely please your taste buds and bring a touch of elegance to any event, whether you’re hosting a party or just indulging a little.

Creator Series Q&A with Jameka of CROWNTHEM

Hey Jameka! Welcome to our Creator Series Q&A – Tell us a bit about your background, your artistic vision and how you got started with the launch of CROWNTHEM.

My name is Jameka, I’m from Okanogan, Washington (Colville Reservation) – a small country town in North Central Washington… about 30 minutes from the Canadian border and 3 hours west of Idaho. I’ve always been a music head from Hip Hop/Rap to Classic Rock to Country to Grunge, RnB, Jazz, Ranchero, etc – but Hip Hop / Rap always tugged on me a bit more.

I created CROWNTHEM ENT. for myself and keeping track with all the albums, videos, etc. of my favorite artists and new ones I was coming across. It was/is a way to organize my personal vault of contemporary Hip Hop / Rap music. My artistic vision for CROWNTHEM ENT. is to highlight and uplift acts that are often overlooked by major/mainstream platforms to the point that those major platforms are looking towards CROWNTHEM ENT. to truly have a pulse on the state of contemporary Hip Hop / Rap. 

CROWNTHEM has always been this idea of highlighting what isn’t being highlighted but is imperative for the goodness and strength of Hip Hop/Rap culture and evolution.

Q: We love the overall authenticity and artistic brilliance of CROWNTHEM and the uniqueness of your platform within the Hip Hop & Rap community. Can you describe the moment or idea that ignited the concept for this visual playlist and archive?

2016, just finished volunteering for AmeriCorps, CityYear – San Jose and had moved to Oakland for graduate school. I was on YouTube watching different cyphers and I came across an all women cypher out of Chicago, Set It Off (The Cypher) featuring Freddie Old Soul, J Bambi, Brittney Carter, Henri Mayhem, Syd Shaw, Bella Bahhs and DJ Lisa Decibel. I watched it over a million times then went and posted it on Facebook saying, “yo these women are so inspiring // crown them!” – and it’s been on since that moment even though I didn’t put any action towards it until 2018 after I graduated from my MFA program. It was a pivotal moment for me in terms of women in Hip Hop really infiltrating on all levels on all cylinders. My mind was constantly trying to think of a way to support all these new emerging artists who had something important or unique to say.

The concept of the visual playlist really was a more recent idea. I always create playlists of all the videos I watch and enjoy (just for my enjoyment or if friends come over and want some music and visuals in the background.) But there were 7 from the first half of this year that stayed on my mind and I wanted to figure out a way to support them beyond just highlighting an LP or EP type thing. I came up with the editorial design and wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about the videos or not. I rewatched the 7 that moved me and the poetry blurbs just flowed out. I pasted the poetry onto the editorial design and that was that. It was really for me – I always want to share my playlists and make them public but I don’t want to share without context, words/brief editorial piece. Many folks are making playlists nowadays, mostly audio, so I wanted to do something a little different that still highlighted a different aspect of artist craft and delivery.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Editorial design – the most enjoyable aspect for me is taking all the content, the artist, albums, reviews, interviews and finding a form for them to live in. Form is exciting for me, I like to see how I can switch things up or make things look like the little drawings on my piece of paper (I write everything out by hand before going to my computer – words, design, etc.) I have yet to actually execute a design like I imagined in my mind so that is a large piece of my inspiration to keep trying until I figure out how to create what’s in my mind’s eye.

Old art and aesthetics magazines like ArtNEWS or The Journal of Art and Aesthetics. The Catalyst, you know this idea of using other arts outside of Hip Hop and Rap to inspire the way I address and support the Hip Hop / Rap realm. I work in the archives/periodicals department at an HBCU so I’m coming across A LOT. I also find inspiration from jazz musicians’ album covers of the 60s and 70s. Aesthetically, I love the mid/late 60s and 70s in the art realm. A lot was created that hadn’t been seen before and also the designs they were able to create without the programs we have today – out of this world!

Additionally, who comes to mind is Chedo! from The Come Up Show really was my main inspiration for doing interviews. I loved the rapport he had with artists, even if he just met them. His interviews helped me figure out how I wanted to create my INNERVIEWS and the type of energy I wanted to have within them.

Q: As an entrepreneur, you must wear many hats. How do you maintain your creativity and vision for CROWNTHEM while managing the business side of things?

It’s quite the challenge but a challenge I invite. A lot of the time I just want to create. I have all these different things I’ve drawn out or wrote about that I want to create and make tangible so a lot of my energy is there. But oftentimes my energy is siphoned from the creative side to the business side like, “okay, so marketing and audience identification… let’s look at the CTR from the last few published posts, etc.” I’m trying to find a way to mesh them so it’s not two separate things. It’s a huge learning experience.

Balance is the key. Recently, I learned about human design and how I’m a manifesting generator and a piece of that looks like creating “shortcuts” and extreme multitasking within the process. Some of my best work comes when I’m multitasking and some of my biggest errors come when I’m multitasking. So, as of late I’ve been leaning into that and solidifying different processes that can be almost automated while I can put energy somewhere else and lessen errors.

Q: Curating content for a platform that promotes both contemporary and groundbreaking Hip Hop & Rap must be challenging. How do you decide what makes the cut, and how do you balance emerging voices with established artists & lyricists?

It’s a part of the process that is still being fine-tuned and might be forever as the landscape continues to change. It’s probably the most difficult aspect of everything I do simply because I have to think outside of what moves me and what could possibly move others as well. Of course, I can pick 10-20 albums each month that I found value in whether that’s lyrical ability, lyrical content, production, collaborative efforts, artwork, videos, etc – but, what I’m going to choose is more than likely holding up a positive, elevated and and growth mindset. That’s what’s important to me – that we are supporting the music that has a positive message and delivers the message in words that aren’t always as familiar to us (that allows us to expand and think of our life and begin using different words, phrases and philosophies.)

I just published INNERVIEW 019 with Houston artist OQ and there’s a part in there where he says, I have that unpopular Hip Hop sound –  meaning he’s speakin’ on real things that aren’t clouted out. There’s a positive message, there’s energy there that can uplift and words that can become your everyday mantras to success. 

You know, but on the other hand… There is music that doesn’t necessarily have a “positive” image or energy but it ends up motivating someone anyway. Sometimes, that’s the music that makes you move your body and that’s just as necessary as moving your mind. What I might find motivational and important to present to those that tune-in and those who care about the artform isn’t always what others will find motivational. (And this ain’t a knock on anyone and their taste of music,) I just want people to analyze and be more critical of what they’re supporting and listening to – that shit has an effect. I mean, another recent example is that part in the film They Cloned Tyrone and the scientists are playing all these different kinds of frequencies/music and they’re watching the ways in which it makes people want to fight, love, use substances, etc. It’s all energy and wavelengths.

Are you allowing someone else to tune your station or are you in control of your frequency? I want to make sure I’m highlighting and supporting the music and artists that can help society heal, move forward, imagine and create new possibilities.

Q: What do you believe has been CROWNTHEM’s most significant contribution to the Hip Hop & Rap culture? How do you envision it evolving over the next five years?

So far, CROWNTHEM ENT.’s most significant contribution is lighting a fire under many curators, platforms, writers/journalists within the contemporary Hip Hop / Rap realm. Several times a week people will say, “Hip Hop is dead,” or “There isn’t any good Hip Hop and Rap anymore” – my response is compiling all this Hip Hop / Rap that is supposedly “dead” and sharing it. I think what CROWNTHEM ENT. has done (so far,) is to influence these other curators, platforms, writers/journalists to do better. To dig more deeper and thoroughly. To innovate their processes and performance. Besides that, CROWNTHEM has helped elevate many artists who were getting overlooked. I have only officially interviewed 20 artists in the last couple years and of those 20 artists over half of them have received more notoriety after those INNERVIEWS released. This is only the beginning though – there’s a lot more to come. 

As far as the next five years… CROWNTHEM ENT.  will have artist shows, cyphers, putting everything into print, a solid team of writers, artists, designers, movers ‘n shakers. Getting a storefront in a city I decide to root in. CROWNTHEM compilation albums. Bringing contemporary Hip Hop & Rap into the school districts as curriculum, classes in colleges – there’s an educational piece that needs to be further established. 

Q: Who are your personal heroes or influences within the Hip Hop & Rap world, and how have they shaped your journey with CROWNTHEM? What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a mark in the music industry?

Off top, KRS ONE, spiritually, culturally. He put out a book a while back, The Gospel of Hip Hop and at the same time as watching the Set It Off Cypher I was reading that book. It’s like 1000 pages and full of inspiration and Hip Hop History. There was a section where he speaks on how everyone wants to use Hip Hop as a vehicle to get to where they want to go then often abandon it in some regard – but who is doing the maintenance and upkeep of the Hip Hop vehicle (?) I said to myself, “you love Hip Hop, where would you be without it? How can you help maintain, sustain and evolve it?”

Business mind / motivationally it’s definitely Nipsey Hussle. He was laying a blueprint for independent creatives 10-15 years ago that now a lot of creatives are realizing the brilliance behind the P2P model and how we can make it our own.

Not within the Hip Hop / Rap realm, but Octavia Butler, world-builder. Being able to step outside of the society or self imposed paradigms and perceptions to genuinely and authentically create and build and express.

Also, not within the Hip Hop / Rap realm, Paris Review is a huge one – I spend hours just reading through their different interviews with various poets and writers. Their format and getting to the nutrients of a conversation with an artist is something that inspires me. It’s so easy to interview anyone about anything but to take the time to let their work sit with you and create questions that bring out inspiration and ideas.

I’m sure many people think I’m inspired by Source or Vibe or Word Up or whatever Hip Hop / Rap magazines were prevalent but the truth is I didn’t grow up reading those – I didn’t have access unless I traveled 4.5 hours West to Seattle to even have stores that held magazines like that. So, it wasn’t the Hip Hop magazines and platforms that inspired me, I never looked towards them because I’ve always heard better music and artists from what I was able to find myself.

For aspiring entrepreneurs – Stay true to you and your vision(s) – many won’t see it until you’re collaborating or receiving sponsorships from prominent people and brands, BUT what matters is that you don’t allow others’ perceptions of you to dim your light or capabilities. My aunt posted this quote earlier in the week, “if it was their calling or vision then they would’ve received it too.” Do the proper research and work and allow yourself to grow and evolve.

Q: We appreciate you visiting with us on Creator Series! Before you go, tell us your favorite quote or mantra and why.

I actually have it tattooed on my inner arm: “unfamiliar with impossible.” It’s been my mantra since about 7th/8th grade and at first it was how I made it through soccer, basketball and track but as I’ve aged it’s changed meaning every year. Everyday of my life since I arrived here on Earth has been defeating the “impossible,” what had been told to me that I could do and achieve from a small age I have conquered and prevailed. It’s a similar thing today – everyday I prevail against some of the toughest realities and hurdles. I’m unfamiliar with the impossible because what’s familiar is how I make things possible for myself and others.

Connect with Jameka & CROWNTHEM



Proven Knowledge Podcast of Music Producer Host – Creator Series Q&A with Anthony Church

Hey Anthony! Welcome to our Creator Series Q&A – Tell us a bit about your background and how you started in music production and Proven Knowledge podcast. 

A: Thanks for having me first! I’m a music producer and podcast host out of the northeast Ohio area. I began producing in the summer of 2016 after starting with my friend and artist named JayTrey and have been active ever since working with a lot of amazing independent artists. In 2020 I started my show The Proven Knowledge Podcast where I interview different musicians and creatives each week. So overall it’s been 7 years of twists and turns but I’m happy with where things are headed after finally feeling like I’ve got some footing and experience to keep going!

Q: How did your journey as a music producer lead you into podcasting with the launch of The Proven Knowledge podcast? And, what inspired you to pursue production and explore the world of podcasting simultaneously?

A: The two really go hand in hand as my show is primarily music-based. I began reaching out to artists I was working with or had connected with on social media to request interviews and had amazing feedback which in turn has also led to me receiving more clients and collaborations as a producer. Both are separate paths that feed off of one another strictly because they both center around music which is something I love so much that it was only right to go full force into. I feel my passion for it has allowed me to do both with more ease and peace of mind knowing I’m fulfilling my true purpose in both areas and getting to meet a lot of cool people along the way!

Q: Who or what inspires your creative process as a music producer and podcaster? 

A: I think what drives me most is the chance to positively affect someone else’s life and give them hope to pursue or keep going with their passion. I feel no matter if I’m in a high or low point on the journey myself I can always look back to that as the catalyst for why I do what I do. It’s really just to give back to the next group of people who want to make a change and spread more good into the world which is all we really can ask for at the end of the day.

Q: Mixing styles from multiple genres is a fascinating approach. Could you walk us through your process of blending these genres to evoke different emotions in each track?

A: I feel it really just comes from an appreciation for different genres and also admiring other producers with versatility. I think you really just aim to make good music that people can feel on an emotional level. That’s the end goal which is more of the focus than the genre itself for me. I just aim to bring that out as much as I can and if I feel good about the end result chances are the artist I’m working with or the listener who’s consuming it will feel the same.

Q: Are there any particular musical instruments or elements you often incorporate into your tracks that contribute to the distinctiveness of your sound?

A: I’ve always been a big fan of the piano so a lot of my work has those more melodic elements. I don’t play but I do my best to whip up simple chord progressions and use samples to stack together in order to create interesting soundscapes. I still aim to keep it simple enough for artists to write to but also intriguing enough for people to feel by itself as an instrumental.

Q:  The Proven Knowledge podcast covers a wide range of genres & artists. Do you have a favorite genre or subject matter that particularly excites you when planning for those episodes?

A: For me I get most excited by the individuals themselves no matter what their background is. I love being able to talk with like-minded people and hear about their stories so as long as we both share the common love for music and helping others then it’s always a great and inspiring experience!

Q: We appreciate you visiting with us on the Creator Series! Before you go, tell us your favorite quote or mantra and why.

A: Every day I just try and aim to enjoy it as much as possible and live in the moment as well so I feel that’s something that could benefit anyone regardless of your goals or career path. Once again, I appreciate you for having me!

Step into the world of music production with the Proven Knowledge Podcast’s latest episode featuring the talented host and creator, Anthony Church. In this illuminating series of Q&A sessions, Anthony shares his insights, experiences, and expertise as a music Proven Knowledge Podcast. Join the conversation as he delves into the intricacies of the creative process, offering valuable tips and tricks for aspiring producers. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your musical journey, the Proven Knowledge Podcast provides a unique opportunity to gain insights from one of the industry’s brightest minds. Don’t miss this engaging episode that combines the best of knowledge sharing and music exploration.

Connect with Anthony & Proven Knowledge Podcast

Proven Knowledge Podcast



Creator Series Q&A with JáSki Watkins – Contemporary Abstract Artist & Designer

Hi JáSki! Welcome to our Creator Series Q&A – Tell us a bit about your background, creative mission, and why Art & freedom of expression are priorities for you. (Creator Series)

A: As a child, I created these Abstract pieces that resembled the stained-glass windows in churches. I’ve always had a love for colors and beautiful spaces. 

I started at the Art Institute of Washington as an Interior Design student. After being offered a low-paying interior design internship, I decided to look at other options to generate income. It was important for people to be surrounded by beautiful things in beautiful spaces, so I wanted to inspire colorful and vibrant spaces for people to live and work. My professors loved my Abstract artworks and thought they were unique enough to be viewed publicly. I decided to take it further and explore providing original art pieces and paintings to influence and complement design and decor. I knew I wasn’t going to be an Interior Designer – I didn’t want to anymore – but maybe I could provide items and inspiration to the world’s designers.

The more Abstract Artwork I created, the more I realized that the creative process was transforming me and my thoughts. I had to think beneath the surface when viewing my paintings. I had to ask myself, what did I see? How did I feel about it? It made me better, and I identified a pretty complex person within. Art has been a catalyst for me to explore my thoughts. Art, in all of its forms, should be something that causes everyone to take a look within. It doesn’t matter if you are the creator series or just observing and enjoying. It’s something that happens automatically. I wanted to invite people to take a moment away from all the world’s distractions. Those distractions drown out the little voice inside of us. To connect with their inner selves, to hear what that voice was saying. 

I started having Art exhibitions in some of the local galleries and got an idea while walking past a rug store in downtown DC that I could turn my Art into rugs. I wanted to see how my Art would look on the floor. Couldn’t the floor be Art? I created the AmberRugs, and they sold out! That was my 1st successful Entrepreneurial debut. It came with errors, lessons learned, and a hefty price tag. But the clients that own these rugs are beyond happy with the product. I like to say that they are the best Abstract designer rugs! (Creator Series)

Q: How does creativity play into your goals as an artist and what do you enjoy most about creating new artwork? (Creator Series)

Creativity is everything. It’s a spirit that requires boldness to follow, and the nature of creativity has genuinely been a blessing in my life. As I navigated Art school, my confidence increased with each piece of artwork I completed. Some liked it, and some did not. I listened to those who “got it” and developed a style encompassing the best aspects of my work that they reacted positively to. Those were my people. 

With creating new artwork, I find it best to create when I feel inspired strictly. I don’t want to be paid to paint a particular thing or way. I want to create what I feel inspired to see. I can’t rush or force creativity because it’s a slow journey unfolding before me. I never have an idea of what I will paint next. I truly enjoy and thrive on freely creating things, especially CRAZY-looking things people like and relate to. I love to hear what people see in my Art. The viewers often give me different definitions that they believe apply to my Art, and I love hearing the feedback. It gives meaning to my thoughts and creations. 

Q: Tell us about your latest collection! Abstract Eye Art Collection (Creator Series)

A: The Abstract Eye Collection is a creator series of 40 original works dedicated to examining the human eye at a microscopic level. I always felt that creating a cohesive body of similar but not the same artworks was important. The thought of examining a human eye and how different each eye would be fascinated me. It’s the attention drawn to the various colors, lines, and shapes that could make up the windows of the soul.

It’s one of those things I imagine I would see under a microscope. Then there’s a spiritual element in it relating to eyes. Things in space look like eyes to me. It’s an open-ended concept. 

Because no two eyes are the same – not even your own, each artwork is uniquely different. The color contrast is fun to follow in every piece, and when shown together in a pair or more, their uniformity – amid each singular expression – can be awe-inspiring. 

Q: What’s your go-to exercise or an inspiration tool that you use to stay motivated on the days you don’t feel inspired? (Creator Series)

A: A good love life, high kicks, good music. Being constantly surrounded by Art keeps me inspired. I also read and listen to inspirational and educational things daily.  

Q: As a creative, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of challenges – how did you overcome any obstacles that have gotten in the way? (Creator Series)

A: Every day can be a challenge sometimes, right? I remember dealing with little to no money early in my art career – the normal struggling artist! My car broke down once, and I had to travel to Eastern Market in DC on the train with my Art. My young daughter and I trekked on the train with my canvasses, hoping to get lucky enough to sell a piece of Art to get us through. A few times, I remember leaving the Go-Go in DC late at night and going straight to Eastern Market to sleep in my car for a few hours to get the best spot for my Art to be seen by the most people. The earlier you got to Eastern Market as a vendor, the better your spot. We would start lining up at 5 am. That grind shaped my career and allowed some prestigious eyes to view my Abstract Artwork.

A certain grit is required to keep going and creating, whether you sell your work or not. I’ve stood outside with Art under a tent in the hot summer and even in the cold of winter. I believed in it that much. You must show up for yourself and your Art every chance you get. I’ve embarked on creating things with no idea of how I would fund the project, but with boldness and determination, everything is possible. You have to keep going. (Creator Series)

Q: We appreciate you visiting with us on the Creator Series! Before you go, tell us your favorite quote or mantra and why. (Creator Series)

A: A quote I developed very early in my Art career is, “My Art is as Abstract as life is…”.  Different things can look very different when you look at them from varying distances and perspectives. An onion looks one way in the store, another way when you cut it, and yet another way if you were to put a sliver of that onion under a microscope. It’s best not to judge anything that you see until you can examine the different aspects of it. (Creator Series)

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Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!