In the coming days building up to #NaturalAffinityDC, I will introduce a series of interviews and writeups of the artists behind the event to create awareness and highlight their work. The first of these artists is my good friend, AddieRawr. An amazingly talented visual artist from Norfolk area and a fellow VCU attendee like myself, one could say I fell in love with her work through social media. Her paintings which draw their inspiration from fashion and black culture seem to be what inspired "Natural Affinity" in the first place. I wanted to showcase her and others' work uniquely while executing an original concept that I knew would be received well. Check out my conversation with AddieRawr down below.
Where did the name come from?
I wish my artist name had a more significant meaning. Addie is just a nickname for my first name Adrienne. RAWR is a word I used a lot, or better yet a sound I made all the time. A lot of my older work was signed Addie Belle, Belle representing beauty and the princess from Beauty and the Beast. In 2013 I begin using AddieRawr and never looked back.
How did you get your start?
I've been into art and creating since I was elementary school. I didn't go to school for art but ended up having to draw every day in majority of my classes through out college. I volunteered in art programs and even interned at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond which started my whole art career.
What were some of your influences growing up?
Cartoons were a huge influence on me. Just the bold coloring and defined features of cartoon characters really blew me away. Power Puff Girls was one of the biggest cartoons I really took from, mainly because it was all about girl power.
How would you best describe your aesthetic?
I believe that art show make you feel a type of way, whether it's uncomfortable, happy, exciting or sad. If my art doesn't make someone feel and not just see it as its nice to look at then I didn't do my job. I want to relate to and in order for someone to have an emotional connection with my pieces it has to be relatable.
What’s your motivation? What do you want your impact/influence to be?
I'm motivated by impact. I want to touch and reach everyone but mostly young black girls and guys. I want the youth to see something better in themselves that makes them feel beautiful, powerful and important.
What is your creative process? What helps the creative juices flow? (Wine, Muse etc.)
Most of my inspirations come from things I see whether on a blog, in a magazine or things I'm around mainly in fashion, hair and just urban lifestyle. When I work I'm usually drinking hot teas or drinking wine. I also have to have some music playing which genre depends on what I'm painting. I've never created a painting in one sitting. I force myself to walk away from a piece which helps with me not doing too much and but also gives me time to discover little details I want to add to my work.
Paintings, logowork, t-shirts and flyers, which is your favorite canvas?
I love paintings! Pretty offend I while I'll venture out to do some digital work with creating logos and t-shirts. I have a few paintings that I've converted into digital work for t-shirt and logo designs. I'm looking to expand my types of canvas and adding wood to the collection.
What do you listen to? Who are some of your favorites visual artists?
I'm a fan of all things R&B from new to old (Beyonce, SWV, Boyz II Men, Mint Condition, Chrisette Michelle, Kehlani). I listen to minimal Hip Hop but I always throw some Kanye in the mix. My type modern day favorite artist would have to be Paper Frank, Knowledge Bennett, KAWS, Citizins but growing up I looked up to Banksy, Salvador Dali, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol.
I hear this isn't your only upcoming exhibition in DC, tell us more about your upcoming shows.
I'm showcasing in Silver Spring, MD on Sept 25th at the Addis Ababa Lounge as part of the Art is Love DMV show. I also am showing at Richmond Fall Fashion weekend and at the first Can Festival in Hampton, VA later in October 2015.
What does being a part of Natural Affinity mean to you?
As natural hair artist predominately, this event is something special to me. It feels good to see an event that focus on natural beauty and all things natural from the inside out. I'm just honored to bring the art aspect of the natural hair community to light at the event.