We had the good fortune of connecting with Imani Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Imani, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process was simple… it was to use my skills and talent for “me”. After I graduated from college in Digital Media Specialization, I created my portfolio and sent out applications in my field to over 200 jobs. I rarely heard back, but when I got opportunities to do interviews, I didn’t feel like the organization was for me. My mom always told me to work for myself, so that’s what I started doing. I realized that my business was just as credible as any company I was looking to work for. I began to use my design skills to create my own brand identity. I found my niche and started to understand my audience and run my business.
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’m a self-taught visual artist, creator of an upcoming psychological thriller graphic novel called Bleakville, and a “Jack of all trades” in visual media – although I am mostly known for being an Artist & Photographer of Realistic Portraits & Sceneries. I enjoy putting detail into my work and I appreciate the beautiful and intricate details in God’s creations.
Please tell us more about your art.
I have been creating art since I could hold a pencil. I enjoy creating things that catch my eye. My favorite pieces consist of portrait paintings, and drawings of people and animals because I enjoy capturing the emotion.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others.
I don’t put too much thought into what sets me apart from other people. I just am who I am and create what I enjoy. From a personal standpoint, I am a painter, writer, photography, graphic designer, videographer, comic creator, and a huge nerd. I know in the business you have to have a niche, so I keep it simple and consider myself an Artist & Photographer of Realistic Portraits & Sceneries. You’ll recognize my work by the different shades of black and white and details in every area.
What you are most proud of or excited about.
What I am most proud of is that I am known for illustrating realistic portraits and sceneries. I’m also a comic creator working on a psychological thriller graphic novel called “BLEAKVILLE”. For almost a decade I have had a passion for the Japanese black and white comics called “manga” the adaptation version is called “Anime”. The story I have been telling deals with themes such as Tragedy, Abuse, Capitalism, and Society. While not for the faint-hearted, nevertheless, I’m proud to be the author and illustrator of a story where I have the freedom to create the characters, plot, storyboard, and the world itself. Speaking of freedom, the most exciting part of creating art is freedom. I can paint or draw whatever I choose, and If I struggle, I can pull out a sketchbook, observe, and practice until I get it right. The most satisfying part about art is getting what you have imagined in your mind onto paper.
How did you get to where you are today professionally.
Experience in the real world and letting strangers see my artwork in person helped me grow up. Where I was back then and now is simple. I’m able to present my artwork cohesively in a professional way. I understand the layout, color scheme, and who my audience is from a business standpoint. I know how to turn my hobby into a business and still be myself.
How did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest challenge is forgetting why you make art in the first place. Is it for money, Instagram likes, or because it is fun? The only thing hard about art is being overwhelmed with what everyone else is doing and becoming tempted to keep up with the trends. If you allow yourself to get sucked into that void, you’ll lose focus on why you have the talent and skills in the first place. I was able to shut it all off and focus on myself and improve my abilities at my level, and not try to mimic others. If you can deal with that challenge, it becomes easy. Another challenge was learning new skills to perfect my other skills. In order to present my artwork the way I want to, I had to learn and understand photography, lighting, video production, and much more. In order to work on my graphic novel, I had to learn how to write a story. I never stop trying to learn and get better at my design skills.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I were to hang out with my friends I’d take them to the best photography spots in the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to my family for helping me fund my projects that I need in order to start my business and for guiding me on how to handle life in general.