Woman of Color Blog

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Happy Flower Princess

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Lock and KeyYou Don't KnowRace Jones

I dont think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.Oprah Winfrey

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Kezia Frederick creates lush colourful prints through silk screening. Read on to find out more about her and where she gets her inspiration.

Who are you in two sentences or less? I am a Fashion Print designer living in London. I create textiles using silk screening and also design and make clothing.

Tell me a bit about your background: Where are you from? What was it like growing up there? I am originally from Ipswich which is a little town in East Anglia. It was a very nice place to grow up, I would spend the most of my childhood playing in a little tree house with my friends in the backgarden. It was alot of fun! Ipswich has quite alot of nationalities (compared to other town/cities nearby) which I think is important to grow up around.

Do you think your background has influenced your work? If yes, how so. Defintely! I think my work reflects the journey I have gone on, exploring my two heritages. I am half English, half St.Lucian so it was a very natural direction for my work to go in, this idea of mixing different cultures and creating something new.

Tell me a bit about what inspires your work? I find that I am very inspired on my way to work! I take the bus down Kingsland road in London and seeing such a unison of different culutres all on one road, I am so inspired by it. It’s real, it’s relatable to me that’s very important. Film and photography inspire my work – but also it needs to have a sense of ‘realness’ to it, and not something that has been photoshopped or glamorised. I took alot of reference from the French film ‘La Haine’ which I think is one of the most beautiful representation of ‘Youth Culture’.

What are the main themes/ ideas behind your work? To capture something that is truely me, wherever I may be as a person at the time.

Do you seek to convey a particular message with each piece? I just want to portray something truthful and honest.

If you could be doing anything else other than textile design, what would that be and why? It would probably be doing something to do with music. My Dad is a musician so I get that side from him! But I took my mothers route in the end and got into fashion like her!

Any favourite artists/designers? How have they influenced you? I really love Suno, they mix prints beautifully! Comme Des Garcons is so inspiring, constantly pushing boundaries with no limits! Junya Watanabe has to be one of my favourites, I love how ‘streetwear’ references are always apart of his work, yet still creats something new, and pieces that are wearable. Wearable fashion is very important to me, I always want to know that people will be able to wear my clothing.

What’s your vision for where you’d like your work to be in 5, 10 and 20 years? In the next few years I would like to have my own line of printed bags and shirts. Hopefully in the future it can then evolve into other printed pieces. I dont want to ever loose the sense of who I am in my work. I want to stay true to my aesthetic and show something different to what is constantly being fed to you in alot of the mainstream fashion magazines.

Where can we see more of your work? You can see more of my work on my tumblr http://keziafrederick.tumblr.com/

Parting Words/Thoughts? In the future I just want to carry on and just do things that make me happy, whether big or small that is irrelvant, but happiness is not.

(Truth by Tarra Louis-Charles)

Tell me a bit about your background: Where are you from? What was it like growing up there?

I’m Haitian American, took my first breath in Brooklyn, NY. My mother was achiv single parent and struggled raising my sister and I. We lived a nomadic lifestyle, constantly moving within homes, states, and countries. However, the most memorable “home” for me was Haiti. I lived there for 4 years and I felt a strong connection with my heritage.

Although I woke up to poverty each day, the great sense of humor and resiliency that us Haitians possess, was priceless and invaluable.

(Introspection by Tarra Louis-Charles)
Do you think your background has influenced your work? If yes, how so

My background definitely influence my work. I use bright warm colors in my art to represent my Caribbean culture. Most of my work is abstract due to the duality of personal and cultural identity. Although I identify myself as Haitian, I am still American and carry strong americanized values. I try to integrate both cultures within my art, thus making it abstract.

What are the main themes/ ideas behind your work?

Growing up, I rarely saw positive images of black women in the media, but all the women I knew and met were strong, beautiful, smart, and quirky. Hence the main themes/ideas behind my work is simple black women who love themselves and recognize their beauty, uniqueness, and embrace their quirkiness.

 (Different Paths …Moving On by Tarra Louis-Charles)

Do you seek to convey a particular message with each piece? Is that a part of your creative process?

Drawing used to be (still is actually) a mere hobby for me and is based on my feelings. I have no formal training and experiment with whatever I have lying around.

It was recently that I realized that art is my purpose and decided take this more seriously and expose my imagination.

I was told from professional artists to try to convey a message in my artwork, however when I do, the messages are interpreted differently by people. So I figured to leave everything up for interpretations, allowing appreciators of art to have their own unique experience.

Any favourite artists? How have they influenced you?

Yes I do indeed. Frank Morrison, Larry “Poncho” Brown, and Tamara Natalie Madden are my favorites. Back in college when I first saw Frank Morrison’s and Larry “Poncho” Brown’s artwork, I swear my heart skipped a beat. I started saving my lunch money in order to buy more materials (besides pencils) and began experimenting with colors.

Last year, I fell upon Tamara Natalie Madden’s artwork, an electric wave ran through my body and I said to myself “omg this is serious business.

I want to be an artist when I grow up”. Her work was the ultimate driving focus that pushed me expose what I do and experiment some more.

What’s your vision for where you’d like your work to be in 5, 10 and 20 years?

In 5, 10 and 20 years I definitely would like to see my work in exhibitions, art galleries, and of course people’s home. I also would like to be an inspiration for young women.

(Unconscious by Tarra Louis-Charles. There’s a great story behind this piece. Read it here)

Where can we see more of your artwork?

You can see more of my work on the following websites


Parting Words/Thoughts?

Don’t let people plant fear in your mind. Trust your inner voice and keep your dreams alive.

I first discovered, singer FM Laeti through her page on Facebook and became instantly smitten with her song, Rise in the sun which I featured on the blog here..

I was able to interview this rising musical star and here’s what she had to say about herself and her work..

How long have you been singing?

I started singing in a chamber choir at the age of eleven or twelve.
What’s the story behind your name , FM Laeti?

FM – the sound waves which we surf on looking for our favourite songs and new ones
FM – the radio frequency of our different moods and desires
FM is the one which I wrote this album with; my artistic alter-ego, my partner in crime,
Laeti it’s me

Tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from? What’s was it like growing up there?

I was born in Guadeloupe from a….
drummer father and a mother who studied literature at la Sorbonne and moved to France and Switzerland. I was back in Guadeloupe at the age of 3.
At nine or ten we moved to Canada   with my mother, and little sister. My step-father is Canadian. I lived in Canada until the end of High school and went to college in Illinois.

I grew up with a lot of music and a lot of dance….
Do you think your background has influenced your work? If yes, how so.

My father is a drummer, my step father a classical pianist and my mother an avid music lover. I grew up in quite different places, met a lot of different people, but there was always a lot of music.
At home it went from World music, to Jazz, to soul and old rythm& blues to classical. With my friends we were always thirsty for new or old musical discoveries from rap, to rock , to folk etc…

The music we listened to along the years was bound to inhabit the music we make today.

What are the main themes/ ideas in your songs

I think each song adds a different facet, a different little story to the album. If there was/is an underlying main theme present, it would be this strong desire for happiness, a desire to face the sun, it will all come around   is our little mantra. because positivity is so much more constructive.

Do you seek to convey a particular message with each song? Is that a part of your creative process?

Our songs are a result of what we feel at the time we write them. We don’t seek a particular message, but we rather take what comes. We impose no rules of order. Sometimes the words come first, sometimes the     notes, and sometimes its all at the same time. And sometimes it’s     harder and a song takes shape over a longer period of time.

Any favourite singers/musicians? How have they influenced you?

Some of my favourites would be Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Etta James, Jill Scott, Bill Withers, Bob     Marley, Salif Keita, Miles, Chet Baker, Bebel Gilberto, Bob Dylan… for the way they sing out or play their passion, their soul, their life, the way they feel and what they see.

What’s your vision for where you’d like your music to be in 5, 10 and 20 years?
I can’t fore see where I will be in 5, 10 and 20 years, but I dream of grewing with more music,     travel, concerts and exchange.

Where can we hear more of your music?

The album will be out at the beginning of october, but in the meantime you can find the digital EP ( 2 songs) on I-tunes, Deezer and on french radio

Take a listen to my favourite song by her, Rise in the Sun! You can also find her on Myspace here

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