Art tells the stories of the untold in the most beautiful possible way. This HBCU belle paints the stories of southern belles, gentlemen, and families with her incredible talent as a visual artist. Take a peek into this Savannah belle’s artistry and get all of the feels looking at such amazing bodies of work.
All Images by Mercede B Photography
Savannah State University
What inspired you to begin painting?
When I was younger in middle school, I wasn’t allowed to really participate in normal middle school activities. My dad kept me in the house a lot. So I started drawing to keep myself occupied. One day, my dad brought home two full boxes of printer paper and I would draw every day. Eventually, when I got to high school, I had a teacher who encouraged me to paint. I had been mixing colors using color pencils and she expressed how well she thought I would be if I began to paint. She felt I was ready and would be great at it. Of course, I was afraid because I had never used paint and I was not comfortable with it. I gave it a shot and I fell in love with it. From there I started realizing that the things that I found so fascinating, which was my family, inspired me to create paintings that meant something to me.
What type of art do you create?
I create two-dimensional art. Mainly drawings to paintings which usually includes portraits and figures.
What is your favorite piece?
My favorite piece is “Grandma’s Hands” because it was dedicated to my Grandmother, Zanie Mae Watson. I grew up with my grandmother and the year that I created the piece, she had recently passed a few days before my birthday. So the piece is sentimental and it’s a piece that I thought my family would really love and appreciate.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Frida Kahlo, Lois Mailou Jones, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Do you have any mentors?
I never really had a specific mentor when it came to art. I usually take heed to what my professors help me with and the critiques I receive from them. They are all helpful.
What are 3 things you love about being an HBCU artist?
Three things I love about being an artist at an HBCU is being able to relate to my peers. Being a member of one of the National Pan Hellenistic Council sorority’s at an HBCU, I can use my talents to contribute to different causes involving my sorority. I get to help with summer programs in the arts that my HBCU offers, giving high school students that want to attend an HBCU, a chance to experience college life before they actually attend.
Also in general what I love about being an artist is being able to inspire younger kids. The confidence I had as an artist and the love I had for it, spilled over into a lot of the decisions I made. Choosing to do what I knew was the right thing, or choosing to go to college, all was an act of wanting to be the best artist that I could possibly be. I like showing younger kids that it is ok to be an artist and still be cool and that cool doesn’t mean following what everyone else is doing. Being an artist gave me confident in a way that allowed me to branch off into other arts and be ok with trying new things such as theater or singing.
What tips do you have about being an artist/ painter?
Don’t be afraid to try different things! Different mediums or even if it’s the way you approach a certain art piece. You should never limit yourself even if you’re uncomfortable or uncertain. What I’ve learned is that you are going to constantly change as you grow in your art and being able to loosen up and just go with the flow sometimes will help you rather than trying to create a piece that’s considered “perfect”.
What is your favorite thing about being a southerner?
My favorite thing about being a southerner is the culture. It’s rich and it’s a mixture of so many different cultures in one. Of course, I love the history, especially being a native of Savannah and knowing it’s significant and its history.
What is your favorite southern dish?
I enjoy any dish that is spicy.