We had the good fortune of connecting with Bama Art and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bama, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
When I started college when I was 18, I had no idea about the career path I wanted to take. I took business administration to start and became bored, but also learned a lot about being in business for myself. I knew I wanted to do something in the arts and my college only had an interior design degree offered in that respect. I was very lucky to have the teachers and art classes that were included with my degree. Graphic rendering helped me learn perspective and rendering and using different mediums including ink, basic art taught me how to draw a body figure from live models, and art history taught me the study of objects of art within a certain time period, (painting, sculpture, and architecture) to learn when and how they were created. I knew that I wanted to create and use my own natural given talents to leave a mark in the world I live in. To be able to create something out of nothing is magical, and I wanted to make it part of my life to give people joy; as well as a feeling of accomplishment that was totally my own doing. I wanted to be original in my art and create art that was unique and would be appreciated in the times to come.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I began my career at 21 after college, receiving a degree in Interior Design. I worked with a furniture gallery and designed custom furniture in NY, but I was also pursuing being an artist with the Fine Arts Society of the Southern Tier of NY, where I curated art shows and presented my own art. I received several awards with my ink pointillism and also received a chair on their Board. What I do now started as line ink drawings on paper. I wanted to do art shows with canvas art, so I began working with a brush and India ink. I was working as a successful cabinet designer in AZ, but in 2008 there was a financial crisis that led to the Great Recession, leading my company to go under. I decided to be a full time artist after this happened, working every kind of side job imaginable to support myself being an artist. My first public shows were live art. I was able to sit and do art while talking to people and seeing how my art affected them. My abstract drawings of black india ink brushed over white canvas became my staple art for 5 years. When I moved to San Diego in 2013, it was a challenge at first to get my artwork out to shows, until I was able to meet and receive help from neighboring artists and social media. I presented in my first gallery (Artlab Gallery) with success, and continued to present at local art shows. I had my first Solo show a year later (Villa Musica Music & Art) after I started to incorporate spray paint and acrylic colors under my abstract ink drawings. Without a studio, I worked out of my garage next to the surf shop in Mission Beach, or on my front patio on Isthmus Ct. The beach was inspirational and colors became more prominent in my art. The use of ink has always been my favorite medium. My most recent pieces are an abstract black ink brushed design over spray paint or acrylic washes on mainly canvas, but also wood canvas, surf boards, and skateboards. I was associated with RAW art shows (Natural Born Artists) that truly helped me to meet some local artists and be introduced to the local art scene and different venues in San Diego, including the House of Blues. Later gallery shows included; LaBodega Gallery in Barrio Logan, The Studio Door in North Park, Mesheeka Art Gallery in Barrio Logan, and just recently, a week before the pandemic closings, Azokoza Art Gallery in Tempe, AZ. I worked with local curators for group art shows all over San Diego with such names as; Bettinatime, ABK Top Artists (Art by Kami), Cosmos Local Art, Pancakes & Booze, Hanalei Artworks, Art Xchange, Art Unites, and Art Night. A thanks goes out to the supporting local businesses where I showed in solo and group art shows; The Mission- Mission Beach, The Single Fin- Mission Beach, Cellar 3- Poway, Meze- downtown, Hotel Solamar Rooftop- downtown, Mike Hess- North Park, House of Blues- downtown, Bar Basic- downtown, Torque MotoCafe- North Park, Blank Slate- Old Town, #1 Fifth Ave- Hillcrest, Wine Steal- Hillcrest, Happenstance- Little Italy. What I think sets my art apart from others is that the abstract aspect of it changes with each person. It amazes me to try to see what they see created from their own minds. I don’t usually sign the canvas on a corner (with exception) to give the new owner a chance to turn the art to see an entirely new piece. I’m mostly proud of each piece that I’ve sold. I can remember every person who purchased my art. I love the feeling of being connected to them through my art. I rarely sell prints. I like how it feels to give someone who connects to a piece, the original.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It has been one of the hardest times for people to visit and experience art shows and meet artists during this pandemic. Art shows are mainly virtual or small gatherings not advertised to the general public. It is not easy to sell art if the person is viewing them online. I recently rented a location to use as an art gallery in Crown Point and I’m excited to start shows here for myself and other local artists. Art, music, wine, and cheese! There are so many things that people can do in San Diego besides being indoors though. My favorite things to do are hiking the many beautiful trails all over, biking by the beaches or harbor downtown, kayaking, sailing, swimming when the weathers good, and just walking by the bay and beaches looking at the sites. I do love many of the restaurants, and outdoor dining is available at most locations. We are lucky because our weather is almost perfect year round in San Diego. My favorite local beaches and restaurants are Ocean Beach (OB Noodle House, South Beach Bar & Grill, Wonderland, Pizza Port, Sunshine Company Saloon, and Winstons for live music) Mission Beach (Coaster Saloon, Sandbar, Guava Beach, and Miss B’s) Pacific Beach (Lahinas, 710 Beach Club, World Famous, Costa Brava, The Tavern, and PB Cantina)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my current success mostly to my father and mother. The worst struggles for me at an early age were from my father. He put my mother away in a nursing home when I was only 13 and declared her incompetent from having M.S. at the age of 35, taking everything she had away from her. He kicked me out of my home at 15, forcing me to take care of myself and to learn to fight to survive on my own. I learned how to push myself from my mother, her strength from the pain she endured has always given me the power to never give up. She lived in several nursing homes for 20 years and passed at 55 when I was 30. She was and will always be with me in my heart supporting me, and my life as an artist. I dedicate “life” as my mentor. My style of artwork can be mostly attributed to the many places I’ve lived along the way in my life. (CA, MI, MD, FL, WV, NY, CA, AZ, and now again residing today in CA) The situations and the people I’ve met throughout my travels gave me an insight of the world around me and the inspiration to express what I’ve learned through my artwork. Thank you to my real friends who have supported me throughout the years as an artist. Also from the encouragement from other local and social media art friends. Their life struggles and stories inspire me to work harder and be more creative.