Up next in our 'Proud To Be' series celebrating UK Black History Month is Tasia Graham. A recent graduate from The University of Arts London, Tasia was recently shortlisted for the Penguin Design Awards, as well as being commissioned by the Financial Times.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Tasia Graham and I am a freelance editorial illustrator. I graduated from UAL with a BA in illustration and visual media. I explore bold and atmospheric narrative illustration, using colourful pallets and fluid, stylised drawing techniques. Working in both digital format and traditional painting, I explore womanhood, culture and identity, depicting moods and scenes formed into illustrative storytelling.
Describe your art in three words.
Colourful, metaphorical, stories.
What inspires you as an artist?
I'm inspired by real experiences; I look outward to create something meaningful. I like to tell stories by real people and to create illustrations from real memories - I find I create better art this way. I take walks, listen to music, podcasts and even watch my favourite films to zone out and draw without thinking too much. This keeps my craft fun and motivating.
Who's an artist you admire?
I admire creative black women in all fields, such as the famous writer Bell Hooks, who inspired my first project, "Ain't I A Woman", after reading her book during university. Through her, I was inspired to create a large acrylic painting of my great grandmother, paying tribute to her legacy. Black female musicians also inspire me: SZA, FKA Twigs, Willow Smith and Ari Lennox to name a few. They have a sense of female empowerment and spirituality that inspires me to push boundaries and to be more political within my art.
Have you faced any challenges through the course of your career?
I find I'm less motivated when I feed too much into public opinions, when I'm doubting my abilities, or when I'm the only woman of colour in the room. Over the years I struggled not liking my art and hiding away, but with time and experience I learned to stop caring. I remind myself daily not to listen to outside sources, follow my heart and to keep my work as authentic as I can, representing my values and who I am as a human being.
Do you have a message for readers regarding the UK’s Black History Month?
Cover image via Tasia Graham