We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanika Scarborough and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanika, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Pursuing a career in art is honestly just what made the most sense to me. Art has always been a constant in my life. I have been drawing all of my life and then picking up as many other creative hobbies as I could along the way. I’ve always been the type of person that wanted to be able to do a little bit of everything, and this path was the only one that would allow me to do as much of that as possible. Nothing else would have been as fulfilling.
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.
Right now, my current creative focus has been primarily taken up by learning to tattoo. Tattooing was one of the first things I wanted to do when I was younger and I’m so glad that it feels like all the pieces have fallen together to make that happen. When I was younger I never thought it would be possible. So instead, I went to school for Graphic Design, thinking that an advertising agency would be better than something completely unrelated to art. Which, thankfully, worked out in my favor, as there was so much that I learned that I apply in my work today.
Outside of apprenticing, I run my own small business, Horned Serpent Artistry, creating t-shirts, stickers, ink, candles, resin projects, and whatever else I come up with. I love having the ability to create in so many different ways, the variety of work keeps things interesting.
This path has not been easy, by any means. For the longest time, it felt like there was always something getting in the way; finances, time, life in general. I spent years freelancing as an illustrator and graphic designer, as well as doing a lot of gallery work. I even, briefly, taught at my university. But, it has always been worth it to keep pushing through because I have made it so much farther than I thought I could and accomplished so much more than I imagined possible.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would hope they came prepared with some shoes fit for an adventure. I spent the entirety of lockdown in nature, away from people, something I hadn’t been able to do in years. I discovered so many nature trails, waterfalls, cemeteries, and abandoned places all pretty close by.
One of my favorite things to do with friends is bring them to all these cool places that might normally be overlooked. To just be able to spend the time and exist in these places, escape from reality for a little bit, and not worry about the outside pressures the world is putting on you is something I like to be able to share with people. And after all that I would take them to a local pizza shop because nothing beats being able to end the day with buffalo bites and the most delicious pizza that has ever existed.
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?
There are so many wonderful people that made it possible for me to be where I am now. The easiest answer is my mom because she always encourages me to do whatever makes me happy, even if it’s not something she understands.
And then, all of the professors I had throughout my two degrees worth of higher education. But, most specifically, Amy Bartell. I wouldn’t have had half the opportunities I had if she had not pushed me in the right direction, and reminded me that I am capable of so much more than I felt like I was. So much of my creative journey was made possible by her encouragement and support. It is something that I am thankful for every single day. The thousands of dollars of debt were worth it just to be able to learn from and work with someone with so much kindness and grace.