This past Tuesday, March 14th, Artlanta held its third artist talk of the year featuring none other than Atlanta-based artist Miya Bailey.
"I think he's invisible."
But before the story telling could commence a nice needed treat was presented to calm the nerves that comes with public speaking.
*Deep breath in; deep breath out* "Mmmm...that's much better. Let's begin."
All nerves aside, Miya began the night with where it all began for him; in the mountains of Asheville, NC. If you are a fan of his work then you will notice that much of his color choices are inspired by his hometown. Miya expressed how his mother was an artist and she was one of his biggest supporters. She pushed him to express himself through his art; but also constantly reminded him to go outside and play with the other kids. *"Miya go outside." "But ma I don't wanna :("*
In the early 90s Miya moved down to Atlanta, GA and opened up the well-known tattoo shop City of Ink with best friend and co-founder Tuki Carter. But City of Ink wasn't Miya's first hand at being a businessman. Many may not know but Miya used to have a landscaping business as well. *gasp* Business was all he knew growing up in the mountains of Asheville. In fact his first hand at business was selling his artwork at the young age of 10, making art and business co-dependent among one another to him.
Aside from being a business man, Miya also holds the title of community leader and activist. One thing that he does not believe in is the "starving artist" mentality; which is why he uses his platform as a source to provide jobs and opportunities for young black artists in the community. Miya has no problem sharing knowledge and time to fellow artists but before he does so he looks for certain qualities of that individual. *shhh...it's a secret. Not really*
There are three main points that Miya Bailey pointed out he looks for in an upcoming artist hoping to capture his attention. *these are in no particular order*
1. Community and job opportunities
As a humanitarian himself it is very important that an artist is not focused only on self. As an artist, let alone a black artist *for myself, black female artist*, the stakes are already stacked against us. It is up to us to provide opportunities in our community that may not be openly available; and to help build each other up as a unite so we will all succeed. In the words of my good homies and artist collective, Chinese Foode, WE ALL EAT!
2. Humbleness and openly listens
This one is short and to the point. Leave your ego at the door. *better yet ball it up and throw it in the trash because it is not welcomed here* If you think you know it all then have fun making it on your own with all that you "think" you know and see how far you get. It is hard to teach someone who already believes they know the answers and if you really believe you have all the solutions then why ask for help in the first place. Art is an isolating profession but everybody needs helps in some shape or form and that can not be done alone.
3. Consistency and focus
Two of Miya's favorite things to say are Tunnel vision and Law of Attraction. This simply means you have a goal in sight. Deep down inside you truly believe it will come to be and you will do whatever it takes to make it happen; which includes sacrifices. The most successful people in the world did not get to where they are without sacrifices of friends, family, time, among other things. So stay focused, keep that goal in sight and stay consistently working towards it because the sacrifices will be worth it in the end.
Alright that's all for now and I'll end this blog with a fun question that was asked at the artist talk. *It went something like this"
"Miya I know you like comics books so my question is if you could have any mutant/super power what would it be?"
Miya: "That's a good one! Since Magneto is one of my favorite mutants I'd say his powers *power to manipulate metal* since almost everything is made of metal. And then I could break into bank vaults and shit. *laughs*"
Shon P OUT!!! *chucks up the deuces* :P
Photos and video courtesy of Kaya Faery