We had the good fortune of connecting with Ieesha Naeema and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ieesha, how do you think about risk?
I feel that most people think of risk in a negative way. I sometimes think that way as well (after all, I’m human) but for the most part, I embrace it. I feel as though people’s fear of losing or failing makes it harder for them to experience new things. My fear of complacency, however, outweighs my fear of failing. And I think that is why it is easier for me to continue taking risks. Every major decision that I’ve made thus far, has essentially been a major risk. I went to college a thousand miles away from home with no family around and almost got kicked out my first semester (good ole financial aid blues). I’ve quit jobs with no real backup plans and then made long distance moves TWICE. I’ve taken a chance on myself and shared my art with others even when I didn’t feel it was my best work. I’ve explored numerous creative outlets to determine the best fit for my artistic career, Some worked out, some didn’t. But I never would have known what works and what doesn’t if I only thought about them. Those are just a few examples of how much I’ve bet on myself and worked to get closer to living within my purpose. Risk can either be positive or negative. It’s up to you to decide which path you want to take once you actually make that first leap.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started acrylic painting at the end of 2015. I originally wanted to paint landscapes and other random objects because that’s normally what I created in my high school art classes. By 2016, I transitioned into portrait and pop art paintings. Music is very important to my creative process. I naturally began to paint my favorite musicians. That then blossomed into more Afrocentric art inspired by the lyrics of my favorite songs. I always pride myself on being able to transfer my moods into my artwork. I work with very vibrant color schemes but I’m still able to capture different vibes no matter how colorful the overall painting is. I am extremely excited (and nervous) to venture into digital painting. The learning curve is very different from traditional painting for me but I’m still managing to apply my style to Procreate artwork. My art journey has not been easy. Mentally, it has been a challenge. There was a lot of trial and error. A lot of wasted money, materials, etc. I’m teaching myself the ins and outs of being a creator and trying to run a small business. I still don’t have everything figured out. But I keep going and keep trying to create because I know that one day, the right person will see my work. And then all of the sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears will be worth it. At this point in my career, I just want to give myself more grace and still push myself to create timeless art. I often have imposter syndrome but I am learning to take breaks when needed and to never quit. Because I can’t give up on what God gave to me. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to live a fulfilling life and I know that the more I create, the closer I will get to that goal.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my best friends actually visited me in Dallas back in 2016 and then in 2018 with my other best friend. I took them to Park Avenue for a night out. I didn’t get out much in Dallas so I never really knew of places to visit with guests but I did eventually make it to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I love that place! It’s so serene and pretty. So I would have loved to take them there. A trip to Uptown for drinks would be cool as well. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this shoutout to my family, my best friends, my FAMU tribe, my supporters/collectors and any creative who has ever shown me love or encouraged me to keep creating and sharing my gift with others.

Website: www.ieeshanaeema.squarespace.com
Instagram: Personal Page: @i.am.naeema Art Page: @creationsbyina_
Twitter: @ieeshanaeema
Facebook: @creationsbyina

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