Whether it’s creating new pieces of art or selling out of her “Black Card Revoked” card game, Keturah Ariel takes her craft and brand seriously. Originally from Toledo, Ohio by way of Detroit, Michigan, Keturah Ariel is an artist and entrepreneur who prides herself on following her dreams and uplifting the black community. Recognizing her gift at a young age, Keturah attended CCAD to pursue her art career and after adopting the word, “artentrepreneur”, Keturah started her business Ariel Brands (2012) to showcase her art on products such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, and wooden prints. With commission pieces for Hairfinity and Essence Magazine under her belt, Keturah and her family also developed a card game called “Black Card Revoked” that “if you can’t answer these questions, you might just need your Black card revoked!” Check out our Q&A with Keturah A.
FP: How did the opportunity to do commission for Hairfinity and Essence Magazine come about? How did you feel to first see your work in such large publications?
KA: The owner of Hairfinity and the Art Director from Essence Mag both reached out to me directly via email. Both are amazing opportunities that I am grateful for that have afforded me to be an artentrepreneur. I feel validated that all my work is paying off, you can be a full-time artist and not be a “struggling artist.”
FP: What’s your favorite piece you’ve created and why? How do you allow yourself to be vulnerable to let what your mind sees go exactly on the canvas?
KA: The vulnerability is a process and being an introvert there are quite a few paintings that I do not share. My favorite pieces are the ones that I’ve poured more of myself into. I painted an entire series for my bedroom that is very dear to me because they are cathartic for what they represent. The pieces that I do share are ones I feel people NEED to see. Paintings that inspire, motivate, empathize with a community of people who need to see/feel those things.
FP: What inspires you to create certain pieces? Do you let the art happen then name it?
KA: I’m realizing that my art is always better when it’s not forced. So I take my time with it. I don’t try to mass-produce anything or even set too many deadlines for myself. Titles come before or sometimes after. Sometimes I’ll finish a painting in a day; other times it will take a few months. It depends on what inspired it, inspiration is everywhere so I just allow the ideas to come when they are supposed to.
FP: How did you and your family develop Black Card Revoked? What was the inspiration behind it and how have people responded?
KA: The response has been amazing. There are a lot of things missing in our community as black people, and the ability to recognize those things and fill the void is everything. Black Card Revoked is just a byproduct of that kind of thinking. It all started a few Thanksgivings ago while playing Family Feud and realizing that game doesn’t necessarily consider our perspective. So we thought, why don’t we create a game that does.
FP: As far as the state of Black business goes, how do you think we can individually build separate businesses but still support the collective?
KA: Everyone adds something a little different. I like to think of it as a puzzle, we’re all different pieces and working together is beneficial for the group. I really appreciate that all of this is happening now and it makes me feel extremely proud to see the support and growth of black business. We are lucky to be here in this time of self-acceptance and black pride.
FP: Who’s your inspiration whether it be visual art, music, or and art? Who and what inspire you to keep going? To keep evolving as an artist and a person.
KA: My family and loved ones have always been the reason for pretty much everything I do. It’s important for me to continue the legacy of my grandparents. I want the younger generations to grow up in a better world. Being socially aware and responsible is very important to me. A lot of times artists take this selfish stance as if what they are d
oing are solely for their own purpose. And I have never agreed with that point of view, not when others are watching you. I believe we have a social responsibility to make our world better, and I’m not afraid to do my part.
FP: When people think of your brand, what do you hope comes to mind?
KA: Unique items made especially to uplift or encourage black people. I want them to know it’s personal; I want them to know that most of my pieces come directly from my heart. It’s unlike anything you can buy from the store just for that reason alone. Knowing me is recognizing my passion for what I do.
With plans of continued expansion of Ariel Brands, Keturah dreams of traveling the world painting murals and teaching art classes. Continuing to develop business skills and using social media as a platform, Keturah’s love for her art is stated as “something I was naturally inclined to do.” Keturah will be a featured artist on Broad and High’s WOSU series. Artist. L’Artiste. Keturah Ariel.
For more information or if you’d like to purchase Black Card Revoked, click here .