Visual artists have been on their grind lately. Whether it be music covers, flyers, drawings, or paintings the art scene has definitely grown. On Memorial Day weekend, many visual artists shared their art with Columbus at The Reup Art Show. It was held at the Wild Goose Creative where there have been quite a few art, poetry, and music shows. Neisha (@artdealerchicc), a featured artist, was rewarded a $100 cash prize for being the crowd’s favorite local artist.
In appreciation to local visual artists, we interviewed 3 artists as a part of our tribute. Ari J (@ariannajhynae), Hakim (@hakimsartnstuff), and Traviste (@the_great_traviste) are all from Columbus and have been working hard to get their name and artwork out there. And they aren’t the only ones! Na’ye (@naye_davinci1914) and Jordan (@bykyrie) are also some local artists that you should be on the lookout for among the many visual artists in Columbus. Make sure you hit a show to see some of our great local talent!
How seriously do you take yourself as an artist?
Ari J: Last year I really started taking it serious and was like, okay, this is what I want to do so I need to start taking it serious as a business and just going from there. More people were starting to like my work, starting to hit me up to do work for them, and saying they would pay for it. I never thought I’d actually get paid for it.
Hakim: Right out of high school I went to Art Institute of Cincinnati during the summer time. I dropped out of there like, December of 2011. Once I got back to Columbus, that’s when I really started working harder.
Traviste: Back in 2011, I was just working third shifts at a local hookah bar. I saw that within my 8-hour shift, between serving people and making drinks, I had a little bit of extra free time. So I figured, why not work on something that I’m actually passionate about? I did my schoolwork when I was going to college back then but, when I would finish, I would just play around and just like smoke for the rest of the night, then go home and smoke more, then go to bed. I kind of just figured out with all this extra time, why don’t I just practice on my sketches, practice on my line work, work on my skill set. And ya know I just wanted to be a better, well-rounded artist.
Who are your go-to mediums for expression?
Ari J: I like it all, but painting is number one for me. My grandma was a painter so being around her painting all the time.
Hakim: I’ve been doing a lot more video and film stuff lately, that’s what I’m really into now. I want to pursue that. I got a lot to learn about it though before I can be producing pieces so that’s a long-term goal. And I want to do some more mural pieces, like really large scale. And installations, I haven’t done any installations ever.
What is your creative process/inspiration?
Ari J: Pretty much everywhere. Like online if I’m just scrolling through like Tumblr or Pinterest, or just life, nature, people. Mostly, if I go to an event, like a creative event, I get so much inspiration just from being around everybody. So, I try to go to as many places as I can.
Hakim: My Inspiration comes from cartoons and video games, music, and just a lot of the stuff I watch. I watch a lot of TV, so it comes from that. And I kind of like, make my own art, but still base it from the feels I get from the other stuff.
Traviste: Most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, such as maybe a walk in the park or a walk down High Street, even right now. You kind of just pick up on different things, you know? You kind of just see things out of the corner of your eye, and it kind of just sticks to you or it kind of throws out a certain vibe or energy that you, somehow manifest the idea in your head. It’s hard to explain. Like, you know how they say some ideas come out of thin air? Well for me, pictures kind of come out of thin air. My creative process is more visual, kind of taking bits and pieces and putting it together until something comes out.
What are your long-term goals?
Ari J: Eventually I just wanna put my own work out and not do work for other people, but also do work for other people on the side, just not all the time. And also I want to get back into photography, so I want to have a studio eventually.
Hakim: Hopefully in like 5 years I can be more established and have more say so on what goes on around the city artistically. I want to be making jobs for people, other creatives. Especially young black kids who don’t know and don’t recognize that you can make a living off of art. So I want to open more doorways for that.Traviste: Overall I see myself owning my own company. Not really a big business but focused around the arts and creativity. This company would be purely driven by the creative process and working with other artists within the corporation, such as designers, videographers, musicians and even some other graphic illustrators. I want to spread the good well-being. I want to spread education and understanding. I also want to do a couple of charities to help out modern-day society. I want to actually inspire people, rather than be a leader to people. I’ll say within the next 10 years I’ll have my first building. I’ll be directing film within the next couple of years as well. [There is] a project that’s under wraps, a lot of people have probably seen the hashtag for it as well as the website, motf – Mark of the Fool – is the name of the short film. I won’t be acting like I wanted to, I’ll just be directing.
How has Columbus affected your artistic success or been supportive?
Ari J: It’s starting to get a little more accepting of creative now. And I think we’ll get there. Just gotta keep putting stuff out.
Hakim: I’ve always had a lot of support, from my friends so I’ve never really struggled with that part. I can see ways where people could be more supportive, but I try to focus that energy toward people who are coming out to things, and who are buying art, spreading the word, and bringing a friend with them to a show, or telling somebody else about what I’m doing. I had a lot of struggles early on just getting my foot in the door, I feel like that made me stronger and that always reminds me to reach down to the next person. Anybody reaching out to me, make sure I try and help them out. Just make it easier. There’s no reason to making anything harder on the next person, we already got hella shit going on that makes life hard.
Traviste: When I was younger, I grew up on the East Side of Columbus, so there wasn’t really too much creative expression, let alone artists. Being an artist, I never really knew it could be a thing, you know? I kind of had to discover that on my own, at a younger age. It wasn’t until I actually moved to the North Side, ignored all of my parents negative connotations about the North Side and the Short North overall, that I actually saw that artists were actually accepted. We’re accepted out here for our individuality, our creativity, our authenticity, and you know this was new to me so I loved it.
That first two years of me living on my own, like I loved just, being around the people in the Short North. Over time, I kind of noticed that the people and some of the environments I thought were super crazy, extravagant, artsy environments weren’t actually as artsy or authentic as I thought they were. And, I had to open my eyes to that. I was a follower back then. And when I saw these environments, it felt like high school all over again. I was like, man I got to get out of this bubble. I kind of just want to be my own person.
So Columbus has helped me in that way, as far as standing up for myself, taking that leadership role, and even taking accountability for most of my ambition, most of the things I want to accomplish, and my dreams. It’s affected me in both a very positive and negative way. But I don’t the negative energies affect my work. It’s more so trying to find the balance between those good and bad things.
Ari J: My impact would be to possibly to show that it’s possible to have a career in art, especially as a freelancer, and as someone who doesn’t do commission all the time. And to always stick with what you want to do. You don’t always have to do what everyone else is doing to be big.
Hakim: I plan on showing more art over the summer at 129 Studios in Franklinton, for Franklinton Fridays (Second Friday of every month).
Traviste: It’s not about what’s cool, what’s popular, what’s going to get you rich, it’s overall about what’s going to make you happy at the end of the day. I solely make art simply because I have ideas in my head and I feel like if I don’t do them then I’m letting myself down. I’m wasting my time. But, if you have the time to do it, do it. “A wealthy person does not waste time.” I saw that in a fortune cookie yesterday.