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Black Icons: “Re-envisioning the ancestors through visual art”

Black Icons: “Re-envisioning the ancestors through visual art”

This Article Was originally Written by MsKNY for African Prints in Fashion

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Pop-up by “Colored Girls Hustle” in Brooklyn. At the event I came across the visual artist Makeba “KEEBS” Rainey and her beautiful collages of Black Icons.  Find out more about the artist whose purpose is to “create art for Black People”.APiF: Please introduce your brand.Makeba “KEEBS” Rainey: I am a visual artist. My art merges the old with the new by re-envisioning the ancestors through new media. I am known for creating digital collage portraits of contemporary and historical Black icons.APiF: What inspired you to create your business?Makeba: It wasn’t so much inspiration as much as it was necessity that forced me to create a business out of making art. I am an artist first and foremost. I am a businesswoman second. Many artists create work for themselves, to spiritually/emotionally sustain themselves. It’s therapeutic. When I decided that I wanted my work to reach as many people as possible, that’s when I had to strategize and develop several marketing solutions to reach the most people. There is a creative problem-solving aspect to marketing and business, which is great, but it is also very stressful. I spend more time managing myself as an artist than I do creating new artwork.APiF: What is your professional background and how did you get into digital art/ graphic 

visual art

design?Makeba: I have been creating art my entire life. I did not go to art school and I am not a graphic designer. I started creating digital art because of the lack of physical space in the places I’ve lived and also because digital art is a natural reflection of the time we live in.APiF: What is the purpose of your brand?Makeba: I create art for Black people. My intention is to acknowledge and uplift the many gifts that Black Americans have contributed to global Black culture. I want Black people to see their greatness reflected back at them and to know, deep within, that we are powerful beyond imagination. I also want to encourage African-diasporic unity through conversation/reflections of the work.PIN ITAPiF: Is there sth like the most popular print or postcard and if yes who is on it?Makeba: James Baldwin is definitely a fan favorite. There’s no disputing how great he is. I think his posture and facial expression in the portrait matches his demeanor in real life and really the general sentiment of Black people living in America right now.APiF: Any advice for other small business and young entrepreneurs?Makeba: This seems like common sense, but, the more time and focus/intention you put into your art practice, the more you receive from it. You have a relationship with your practice just like you do with a person, and that relationship is reciprocal.

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Find out more about visual artist Makeba Keebs:

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