Check out our exclusive interview with UK based artist and entrepreneur Neeky, founder of NeekArt!
1. What inspired you to become an artist?
Well I’ve had many different jobs, a lot of them I hated. But I always enjoyed drawing or painting in my spare time. So, I guess it was the desire to make a living doing something I genuinely enjoyed.
2. You are a very skilled painter, can you say what contributed to your success?
Up to this point I’d say talent and practice. I haven’t actually reached my desired success yet, but one undeniable contribution is the time I was able to prioritise to really work on and develop my ideas. Also, I have always been very creative and particularly enjoyed drawing and painting, so I’d also have to attribute whatever success I’ve achieved up to this point to my natural talents.
3. Looking at your work I see you have a strong love for your culture, has this passion of yours influence your work in any way?
Yes definitely. But not just my culture but my general surroundings and upbringing. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by black women, and my mum had a lot of African/Caribbean figurines and art of black women, so I became very fond of African art, particularly of black women and that’s been one of my biggest influences.
4. What are your thoughts on black artists in the UK?
Honestly, I only know a few Black UK artist and I’m not very involved in the black UK art scene. But I do follow a few pages on Instagram, and I’d like to see more of it, but its definitely growing. I see the up and coming generation of black uk artist making moves and I’m really impressed by the talent and skill. Digital artist like @shans_art.x on Instagram for example. I enjoy seeing the growth and development of the younger artist and I’d love to see more of that.
5. Can you share the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome since becoming an artist?
Personally, my biggest challenge is prioritising my time to be creative. My head is full of ideas but with so many other personal responsibilities, I often struggle to free my mind and allow myself the time to really work on those ideas.
6. Who are your artistic influences?
Growing up, I often used to see the work of a local artist named Gloria Ojulari in and around Bristol. I remember seeing her murals and greeting cards in the community and she also done a project with my art class in school which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve always admired her work so I would say Gloria was one of my earliest influences.
When I was in college I went through a manga and Japanese art phase and became a big fan of Takashi Murakami, his style is very bold and colourful. During that time, I became mildly obsessed with the work of Aaron McGruder, the illustrator of The Boondocks and I believe both artists contributed to the style I have developed today.
7. To date, what achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of a Mural I was commissioned to paint at KG Doodles after school club. It was the first and only mural I’ve painted, and I found it very challenging to complete. It took me about a week, and I had help from my sister, but I learnt a lot and was proud of the end result.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring creatives in the art industry?
It’s important to establish your own unique style in the art industry but as an artist or creative it can take a long time to find that style and be frustrating having to consistently work on developing it. So, I’d say to be patient an take the time to find yourself in your work and then be persistent in developing your style.
9. What can we expect from you over the next year?
I will probably be pushing my colouring books for the next year. I have two colouring books out, which are available to buy from my website, but I would also like to create more original pieces. I’m looking to start experimenting with other mediums and getting creative so you can look out for that.
10. Where can we find you online?
You can find me on Instagram @NeekArt, that’s where I’m most active. You can also find me on Facebook and twitter @NeekArtOfficial.
You can find colouring books, t-shirts, prints and more on my website www.NeekArt.co.uk