From Fan Girling to an Interview - Akujixxv

I've seen Shannon's work all over Tumblr, and the unfortunate thing about that platform, is people love to delete links to who the artists are. For a long time I had no idea who was creating these pieces until someone on my Twitter timeline RT'd one of her works. Had a fan girl moment for a few minutes and instantly commented and DM'd my love for Shannon's work on her Instagram page. Shoot your shot has been my mentality for a while, so I dove in and asked if I could interview her...lo and behold here we go! 

Name: Shannon

Age: 20

City/Location: Maryland


When did you start becoming serious about your work? When did you realize that your art could turn into a fruitful business. 
I started really getting serious about my work about a year ago. I didn't really believe I could turn selling my art into a successful business, I just had a message I wanted to share with people. 

When you're creating, what inspirations or motivations help you put your ideas to life? 
I draw a lot of inspiration from my childhood.

What kind of works do you like to make? 
I enjoy creating think pieces and visuals on mental illness, pieces combating stereotypes about Black people, and pieces that give a little glimpse into the realities of African american life and communities.

Who are your biggest influences? 
 My biggest influence has been Varnette Honeywood (illustrator of Lil Bill), I have also been influenced by the works of  Faith Ringgold, Samella Lewis, Lois Mailou Jones, Phoebe Beasley, and Augusta Savage

Where would you like to be in the next year, five years, 10 years? 
In the next year I would like to be in my own studio so that I can start making the kind of pieces I really want to make; Documentaries, Photo sets, Large canvas pieces, the works. I have a lot planned. The next five or ten years? I'm sort of operating on a year to year basis. 

What three pieces of advice would you give a young artist looking to get into the art world?
One piece of advice I really want young artist to take in to consider is not going to art school, especially if their an artist of color and especially if their art tends to focus on people of color. Every experience is different but a lot of people, including myself have had trouble getting people to take a real interest into their art instead of summing it up to race and therefore something the dominant people in the art world "just cant relate to". Second piece of advice is for artist to create their own little buzz via Social media, you can't wait around for someone to one day take an interest in your work, truth is it may never happen, so since we have social media you should use it to your advantage. The last piece of advice is to take the time to develop your own signature style, it helps tremendously if what you create can only be created by you. 

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Wishcandy, I love them so much.

Where to find Shannon and her work:

Twitter:  @akujixxv

Instagram: @akujixxv_theartist

Facebook: akujixxv