UA: That’s tough. It’s a bit like the pop art and abstract expressionism from the modern era, but I think that it’s distinctly contemporary. I subconsciously take cues from today’s graphic design and visual branding. Let’s call it abstract minimalism or something.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
UA: People, mostly. The form and motion of bodies is usually where a lot my ideas start. Those and color palettes. I get really excited to apply a color scheme that I haven’t previously thought of.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
UA: It comes in waves. I usually go days or weeks without liking anything I create, and I hate when the process feels forced. But eventually, a switch flips. It’s like, “okay, here we go”. I come up with a clear idea, and in the process of executing it, it continuously transforms. The drawing is kinda informing me as I make it.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
UA: I don’t really know. Maybe that you can take anything from it — art in general for that matter. But that it shouldn’t feel hard or feel like you need to be at a certain level to do that.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
UA: I still work full time at a job unrelated to art, and do freelance work on the side. I’m hoping to make that leap soon though. But for now, broadly, my life probably isn’t too different from any other black, twenty-something creative that’s still looking for an outlet.
UA: Whichever works for you. For me, it’s both. I usually go in with a broad idea of where I’m going, or what I want to represent. Just know that if you have a set vision in mind, it’s probably not going to come out exactly as you envisioned. I think what matters is learning to use that to your advantage. The art will give you feedback. Work with it.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
UA: One lesson I’ve learned is that no opinion matters more than your own. Even if you think it’s great and people hate it. Even if you think it’s terrible and people love it.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
UA: Uhhh yeah, I think I do. What matters the most too — in any realm really — is originality. Make your style distinct. Be it fashion, music, whatever.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
UA: I think the hardest thing about being an artist is keeping your confidence up. Especially in the internet age. It may already feel like there are a million voices telling you you’re not gonna make it, and now you can watch a million artists making it at the same time. It’s weird. You have to get over that though.
UA: Measuring improvement! It’s so tight dawg. Inspiring people too. Both.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
UA: One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, was an amazing artist. I thought it was cool that he clearly drew for no one but himself. Any artist that does that is an inspiration. I take cues from folks Basquiat, Matisse, and Picasso too.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
UA: Technology has been integral in crafting my own style. I think it’s really important for artists to get the hang of, if not as a medium than as a form of getting their work out there.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
UA: I think creatives are always subconsciously looking for ideas. Where less creative folks might see stuff and hear noise, creatives might see or hear their next inspiration. I hesitate to call anyone uncreative though.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
UA: I do. It’s all I really want to do. I was lucky enough to study for a semester in Vienna. When it comes to actually city layout and amenities, I loved that place. Unsurprisingly, the demographics left a lot to be desired. When it comes to U.S. cities, I love New York and DC.
UA: Vonnegut is my favorite author probably. When it comes to my favorite book, it’s a toss-up between his book Bluebeard and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
UA: I lowkey really want to curate my own show by the end of this year. There’s also a lot of black-owned businesses that I want to collaborate with. Other than that, being able to say I live off my work would be insanely cool. Also illustrating for the New Yorker. Or a book cover. A lot of plans!
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
UA: I’m not sure, but I can guess. I think it means that I haven’t lost touch with a creative instinct. I drew constantly when I was a kid. My friends and I would write comics and plays too. At some point, I feel like I lost touch with that. Now that I’m back at it, it feels good. Like I’m sublimating.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
UA: HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME by Saba.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
UA: I hope that, when you look at it, it feels intuitive.