Self-Expression: Black Art & Creativity

Spotlighting Local Artist Brianna Ezeigbo

Art within the Black community has been a staple tool in expressing a variety of social, political, and most of all personal values and feelings. Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, who used neo-expressionism to convey ideas of culture, personal history, and social ideology have influenced countless other young artists, including Brianna Ezeigbo from Harford County, Maryland. When speaking to Ezeigbo, she emphasizes how painting was a craft she developed over time.

I began by asking Ezeigbo how she first got into art. “I’ve always been artistically inclined when I was a kid,” she said. “By the time my senior year came around in high school, I practiced techniques and it opened my eyes to the fact I could actually paint.” She went onto explain how she took art much more seriously as she got older, reiterating how finding your passion can reshape your outlook on yourself.

Transitioning our conversation to what inspirations, such as artists or other pop culture references, she uses to influence her art and style, Ezeigbo said, “I get a lot of my inspiration through traveling and exploration … Mingling with other artists at museums and exhibits, giving me a new perspective on ideas.” She heavily recommends networking and stepping outside your comfort zone, crediting both for her ability to present some of her work at exhibits in New York City. “So far, I’ve been in two art shows,” she says. “I just started my art show journey this year, my first being in Queens, NY and my second in Brooklyn … The first being Abstract Women Art Case and then the second being called Trap Art, with no specific theme. It highlighted other Black artists, and it was a fun experience.”

Both art shows highlighted her style of art, which Ezeigbo says often features inspiration from music. Specifically, paintings that shadow or reference artists’ songs through abstract visuals, or even their very likeness. Through these experiences she uses her art as self-expression and a way to examine the world around her from different points of view. This allows Ezeigbo to gain insight on what she wants to convey in the long term regarding her art and how others themselves could find future success.

The artist, Brianna Ezeigbo, and samples of her work. All article images courtesy of Brianna Ezeigbo.

I asked the artist what advice she would give to young artists from smaller counties and cities, and she gave me a blunt but realistic answer, based on her own experience. “The most authentic way to seek inspiration is by going out … You’re really going to grow as an artist when you constantly have conversations with other artists. You have to be surrounded by like-minded people, putting yourself in the right setting.”

Ezeigbo called attention to how networking and stepping outside your comfort zone is crucial in honing your craft as an artist. You cannot expect to gain any experience if you limit yourself and don’t find what’s out there. She explained how social media is a great avenue to connect with others, along with looking for local art exhibits—no matter how big or small they are—so you can be around other aspiring artists.

It was going to a local art show in New York that allowed Ezeigbo to connect with other artists and present her own art in Queens and Brooklyn. Her recent exposure is merely a stepping stone to her long-term goals. When asked how she wants her art to impact the community and those around her, she said, “I have a passion for therapy through art … I have been part of a nonprofit organization called Mending the HART Inc, which is an organization put in place to increase mental health awareness within Black and unrepresented communities.”

This artist is still experimenting with her own art and style, and believing that one day her art can truly represent not only herself, but others as well. If you want to find more of Brianna Ezeigbo’s work, look her up on Instagram at b_theeart.

Article featured image courtesy of Brianna Ezeigbo.

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