Monday, January 27, 2014

Just Reflecting: Art Sisters

On October 12 three young ladies by the names of Kira Dixon, Shanina Dionna and Ameerah K., came together and put together "one of the dopiest events this year" quoted from some of their peers. It takes a strong mind to come together, set ego's aside and honor each other as individuals, women and Artist's coming from the "City Of Brotherly Love" even though one may think no love exists amongst one another. These three women lead by example and the title "Art Sister's" definitely is more than just an Art Gallery and Title for these three.

The MaYoR: Ladies neither one of you are strangers to painting and doing events Ameerah, you have had the privilege to work with quite a few well known people and Shanina and Kira you both have done many events and paintings as well. Where do you gain your inspiration while creating these beautiful images?

Ameerah: I get inspiration from my surroundings, current events, music, just about everything. I'm always thinking about the next piece i could do and what message I want to convey. It's a great feeling when something inspires you.

Shanina: Purpose. It drives everything I put my hands, heart and mind to. Without it the piece just feels empty. And so, empty it remains until I have essentially been thrusted in spirit to release what has billowed its way out of me and onto a canvas, through the lens of a camera or a digital piece on my computer screen.

Kira: Well, I started painting last year in April and when I started it was an outlet at first and then when I began getting the attention from my work, it kind of just dawned on me like “hey maybe I can do this….”. I was really in need of something new in my life anyways so, creating is very important to me, it started out as an hobby now its in fact without a doubt my WHOLE life. I can't see me stopping anytime soon. Painting has brought me to new heights and I’m learning so much about myself. Like I never knew I could be so driven and passionate. I realized there is a power I possess and I use it when I paint. I’ve been told I paint from a very pure place and that makes painting even more important for me because all I ever think about is sharing my vibes with the world. Good and pure vibes at all costs.

The MaYoR: One thing that I took notice to is the importance you ladies have with unity and sisterhood. Assuming that is one reason why your upcoming event "Art Sisters" Gallery is entitled that. Can you give a little background of the title and event and where do you see this event going both long and short term?

Shanina: For some time now I held a longing to exhibit a collective body of work to be exposed to the people. Initially, I wanted to partake in a co-ed exhibition featuring myself and a few of my good friends that exercise different forms of artistry. (photography, fashion, skate deck art, etc.) When I learned that Ameerah was also interested in a collaborative work it was a no-brainer to accept the invitation and be apart. Having realized that it would be featuring women only yielded a greater excitement and a fonder attitude toward what this exhibition would stand for both now and surely years to come. Women, especially women of color, can come together and build something beautiful that is worth taking heed to; that can help encourage, enlighten and empower the masses.

Ameerah: Well, even though I didn't have a name at the time, the concept of an all-female art show was something I had in mind for a while. I believe there are so many women in the arts who are extremely talented and even if it was for one night, I wanted to help create and be a part of an event where we could come together and support each other. At the time when I was really obsessed with seeing this happen for real, I had recently met Kira of Nebulus Flair and Shanina Dionna at their individual exhibits and they also shared the same vision I had in mind.

Ameerah: Short term, I hope October 12th will show that even in Philadelphia, women who are constantly encouraged to compete with each other, can come together with sincerity, mutual respect, and work together supporting each other. Long term, I hope other artists of all forms will do similar events with those in their network. But that's a mentality problem that will take time. Most people don't want to "win" together. They want all the glory, and anyone in the same field is automatically a threat. Hopefully, Art Sisters will challenge that mentality.

The MaYoR: Very well put. Shanina, how long have you been doing events like Art Sisters?

Shanina: This will be my first collaborative exhibition, period. I am ecstatic to claim this portion of my journey considering the fact that I will be joined by like-minded, strong and beautiful women whom both share the idea of spreading love and unification by way of our artistry.

The MaYoR: Now Kira, I notice Jazz is enjoyed tremendously by you, when did you fall in love with the genre and what type of influence does Jazz have on you as a person and as an artist?

Kira: Jazz is a fairly new thrill of mines. I love it. I listen to it more than any other music when I get down and create. A friend of mines actually threw me my jazz life line lol I guess I can say. I heard this one Miles Davis song and after that I started looking up all of these different jazz musicians. My fav so far is Don Byas!!! Love love love Don lol. There’s nothing like an early morning with tea and jazz playing. It motivates me to create so much. It makes me calmer as a person. I think it makes me sharper. I can correlate bands playing back in the 60’s and the discipline they would have had to have and I apply it to myself. It also reminds me to STAY RAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The MaYoR: I can agree. Now being as though Art is your passion, I know there are times when being Independent and making a strong positive name for yourself while competing in a positive way with your peers may be slightly challenging. One work that sticks out to me when referring to those in the Art's is "Starving Artist" if you have any relation with that word can you explain what it meant and why?

Ameerah: "Starving Artist" to me means one who is talented but under-valued. I can relate to this term. Many people love viewing art but not many have embraced the idea of actually paying for it. I think it's up to the artist to reject this label. The formula on NOT becoming or continuing to be a "Starving Artist" is to simply know your worth and enforcing it. It's really that simple.

Kira: I’m going to try my best to answer this question without confusing anyone lol but I don’t consider myself as a artist…. Let alone a starving artist. Before anything, I’m just a woman who paints. I don’t like adding titles to myself that aren’t directly linked to, I guess I can say nature’s way of things. So when I think of the term “starving artist” I think about someone painting and not getting paid for it. I just don’t indentify myself with it. Sure I don’t always sell paintings or get paid for the events I do, but people have to understand the way I came into this art scene, I just wanna have fun before anything lol. I don’t want pressure added to me about anything I create or sell or don’t sell. If it does sell then great! If not then cool, you saw what I painted though! Lol…. This is a touchy topic….I'm not starving…I'm getting exactly what I'm supposed to be getting out of painting and creating. Which is life. So im not starving at all…. This is touchy….

The MaYoR: I can completely understand both viewpoints on the topic Starving Artist. Now let me ask this. If you could contribute one specific characteristic of yourself to Art what would it be and why?

Shanina: The only characteristic I can think of that could be a contribution to Art would simply be my truth. My testimony. I have learned to wear it like a crown and simply "pay it forward" everything that has helped me grow not only as a woman but also as an individual occupying a niche in this community.

The MaYoR: Much respect. Now Kira I'm one to believe that a name is the most important idea one is given. I noticed you Repping Nebulus Flair. Where did that name come about and what does it mean most to you?

Kira: I came up with the name Nebulus Flair, using a dictionary and a thesaurus. ‘Nebulus’ is my twist on the word Nebula, which is space matter that comes together and makes these really pretty dust clouds in space, the views are always spectacular. ‘Flair’ is just another word for art. When I put both names together in my head, I always get a sense of my art and my essence I’m leaving this world through my art is space like. Above and beyond.

It was a pleasure being able to understand and help those who may not have really understood where Art Sister's came from and I am extremely proud of these three young ladies. Much love and respect. Cant wait for the next one and I know the "City Of Brotherly Love" can not wait either.