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Daily Inspiration: Meet Bithia Dantoumda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bithia Dantoumda.

Hi Bithia, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember but I started making commissioned art in high school to create a source of income for myself. Starting out, I did not really charge much and made just enough money to pay my phone bill, get some more art supplies and pay for things that come along with school. (school supplies, field trips, student org fees, etc.)

My first requests, I did not really charge anything until I felt confident in what I was doing. It would take a while to realize how skilled I was becoming yet with the encouragement of my friends and family, they made me realize that I needed to start charging more because it got to a point where I was being taken advantage of.

Eventually, I would start sharing my artwork more and more on social media which would land me a lot of online clientele. People would shout me out and share my stuff which is how I would be able to grow organically. From there, it was just word of mouth, putting myself out there for any opportunities that came my way and continuously marketing myself on social media.

As an immigrant coming from a low-income background, I did not have many options when it came to employment so that is part of where I get the name I operate under from – Creative Days Art. I would do art for fun but once I realized that I could work for myself that was my way of escape. I had found a way to be creative each day while making the most of my circumstances.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has definitely not always been easy as a creator but nothing really is when you are trying to become prominent. Sometimes I have people wanting to undervalue me or trying to delegitimize my work as something that’s a cute past time and not a “real job” but I know what I want, love what I do, work hard at it and the people that support my work makes everything worthwhile.

People do not fully understand how important yet how overlooked visual artists are. We make it look easy and make people look good behind the scenes so people assume that our work sometimes is doable by anybody until they realize that it is not.

There are moments where I doubt myself but that is usually followed by moments of triumph and big accomplishments. I am learning that that is all a part of what it is to be a creator. Things won’t always be easy but if you are someone who likes a challenge then it is for you.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am Texas based visual artist who specializes in drawing, painting and digital illustration. I am mostly known for my drawings but recently have made a name for myself in painting with my custom handbags.

Up to date, I am most proud of two projects: (1) Partnering up with a Texas nonpartisan, non-profit organization called “Move Texas” which contracted me as an artist fellow to increase youth voter turnout in this state. The marketing campaigns were very much a success and our team of artists (Adraint Bereal, Lindsey Lee, Ana Ruiz, Sierra DeVuyst and I – Bithia Dantoumda) helped influence over 50,000 new voters to get out and go to the polls. (2) I partnered up with the University of Texas at Austin chapter of the NAACP to create a t-shirt which would help fundraise for charity during the protests of the murder of George Floyd. By contributing my talent, I was able to help raise thousands of dollars and ultimately able to walk away knowing that I helped contribute to the cause of uplifting Black folks in different but oftentimes unfair spaces.

What sets me apart from others in my opinion is my attention to detail. It is safe to say that most creatives are perfectionists but I like to think that I do my absolute best to personalize the art that I create. I always want the artwork that I create to be a reflection of me as well as something that I feel is reflective of the person I am creating it for or about.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My father has been my biggest supporter since day one even before I really had any grasp of my skill or technique. If I ruined a drawing pad or pencils then he would just go out and buy me some more. Right next to him, my mother has been a rock teaching me by example of how to stand on my own two feet as a woman since birth. She is the reason why I have a “when there’s a will there’s a way” attitude about life. When I am down, I am able to talk to both of my parents and they are able to pick me right back up. My family in general is a solid support group and has always loved me unconditionally.

While I have been going to school, I have had numerous teachers who also have loved and support me along the way. If I were to name everyone then this interview would turn into a monologue of my entire life but there are a few that I think are appropriate to mention in this article concerning my path to becoming a creator.

In high school, the one teacher that stuck with me the most is Larissa Johnson, my journalism teacher. Mrs. Johnson was one of my first customers. She would buy hand-drawn portraits from me for her senior graduating class. She believed in me more than I even believed in myself for a while giving me the push I needed to be able to put myself out there for opportunities to come my way.

In college, I came across my supervisor Lizzie Chen who I had as guest lecturer as a sophomore and to my surprise, she knew who I was and would hire me a year later to work for her as an intern. Mrs. Chen not only supported my work out of pocket but she also mentioned my name to others as often as she could. Being an intern with her did a lot for my confidence in my work.

It also would be appropriate to mention the University of Texas at Austin faculty Erna Smith and Kathleen McElroy: two beautiful Black women who are pioneers in their own right but also have listened to my fears encouraged me to work past them and fight to be included in spaces that I otherwise would continue to feel unworthy of.

I owe my success to a lot of people and to say that I got here on my own would simply not be true. I can only hope that the work I have done and will do continues to make them all proud of me.

Pricing:

  • Paintings ($50-$350+)
  • Grad Caps ($68-$78)
  • Custom Bags ($40-$100) *$10 credit is applied to the purchase of a bag. All other higher priced items will have to be provided by the client.*
  • Logo ($150+)
  • Custom Shoes ($100+)

Contact Info:


Image Credits

All photos can be credited to me (Bithia Dantoumda)

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