Today we’d like to introduce you to Lakeem Wilson.
Lakeem, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My hometown South Dallas would often be categorized as a “high-risk” environment. Negative images and labels constantly make it a challenge for inner city youth as well as adults to dream big and imagine growing beyond the environment that raised them. The adversity that I faced was discouraging at times, however, the experience from my obstacles and conditions uniquely transformed the way I express myself through art.
I discovered my creative expression from the same places and conditions that created me. In the same urban community that fostered negative influence also provided unique opportunities for me as a youth to become a part of the creative culture of the urban city. The culture gave me swag. I was raised by southern hip-hop like Houston’s finest DJ Screw, UGK, The Hot Boys, Big Tuck as well as Erykah Badu’s R & B. I was inspired to make an impact on my environment just as the culture and music made an impact on me.
I became an artist because it was a good outlet to cope and stay away from negative conditions. I learned that I had the ability to create something from nothing and that those acquired abilities could help me channel my energy towards a positive path. In 2010, I graduated from high school and got accepted to The University of Texas at Austin as a studio art major. Switching environments allowed me to see a bigger picture of the potential that I have as a creative artist. In a nutshell, my story is one of a kid who overcame adversity and transformed my conditions into something positive by believing in my dreams and staying actively dedicated to being an artist.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
#NaturalBorn Studios, NaturalBorn was established in the summer of 2010 after I graduated high school. I developed this brand to represent a purpose in which I want my artwork and creative practices to influence people. I had a realization early on in life that we all have something within us that we are naturally gifted at I wanted to help people discover that energy within themselves and my medium of doing that was through visual art. Natural Born Studios provides a creative, visual, and narrative language to a diverse culture of thinkers and leaders with a critical, philosophical and open-minded point of view to help transform societal iniquity and empower those who desire self-improvement and mastery. It is more than a representation of just me as an artist; it reflects like-minded individuals who use their creative talents as a vessel to inspire change for a greater cause.
I make paintings, illustrations and mixed media works that utilize traditional skills and new technology. Lately, my main medium has been illustrations and comic book creating. I am interested in creating narrative storyboards and digital graphics that speak on important and key topics in urban culture and communities. I’m also inspired to be an illustrator or character designer for local animation companies such as Six-foot Animation studio in Houston, Powerhouse animation In Austin, Rockstar Games in New York, or Pixar or DreamWorks studios in California. So, a lot of my latest works have been geared toward tailoring my portfolio and sharpening my skills to be in those industries. Combining my skill set with purpose-driven concepts, I have developed the ability and necessary tools to create powerful and thought-provoking artwork.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
My advice for another artist is to have an entrepreneur mindset. It’s one thing to be just an artist, but to be a thriving artist you must learn to be a brand and an artist all in one. Be prepared for business and exchange. Know the services you want to provide as an artist and learn how to speak about them. Keep business cards on you and learn how to manage responsibility. Don’t be afraid to take risk. Plan to travel and see new things. Break outside of your comfort zone. Time is of the essence; we often feel that we have all the time in the world, but success won’t just come to you, you have to go to find it, or at least meet success halfway. I have a cartoon character named B.E.A.M.S which stands for Be Elevated and Manifest Success. You can do it if you put your mind to it.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My art can be found on my website. I’m working to launch my shop page on my website so that people can have access to purchasing original merchandise and products that I produce. In between time, I am showcasing at a group exhibition in Austin, TX titled “Hidden Gems of Austin.” Also, I plan to release an exclusive illustrations series titled “The Art of Her” on my Instagram platform during the last week of September. I encourage people to support by following me on Instagram and sharing my art and spreading the word.
- Website: lakeemwilson.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @lakeem.wilson | @lakeem_art
- Facebook: facebook.com/lakeem.wilson
- Twitter: @lock_o_pikasso