Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BGG Chats with Artist Tanekeya Word



Recently, I received an email from a young woman by the name of Tanekeya Word. She had come across BGG and wanted to share some of her work with me. After visiting her website, I quickly saw that she was a brilliant painter and overall highly creative individual. This D.C. resident and Howard University alumna has a beautiful body of artwork that exemplifies strength, femininity and fun! If you're in the NYC area, you can see her exhibit, Popping: The Rebirth of Fresh at Harriet's Alter Ego & Gallery today (last day). After falling in love with her eye-catching pieces, I wanted to share them with you.

Check out our Q&A:

BGG: When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
Tanekeya: I was exposed to art at a very young age, my mother is an artist and she used to draw these lovely women as flowers and as soon as she drew me as a pink rose I was hooked!

BGG: What inspires your artwork?
TW: Life inspires my artwork! Fashion, women, the notion of what a woman is supposed to be, media, literature….I am drawn to the emotions of people and the labels projected on them.

BGG: Who are some of the artists you admired while growing up?
TW: My mother, then I fell in love with Ernie Barnes’ work and Annie Lee’s and Andy Warhol as well as Georges Seurat. Now, I am heavily hooked on Kehinde Wiley, R. Alexander Clark, Mickalene Thomas and Sylvia Ji just to name a few.

BGG: What words would you use to describe your paintings?
TW: Colorful, Fashionable, Couture, Contemporary, Figurative and Inspiring.


"Infamous" part of her Donne Di lusso collection.

BGG: Describe your painting process. How long does it take to complete a piece?
TW: It depends on the artistic technique: the pop art as seen in the “Donne Di lusso” series takes 10 + hours. I have to create the backgrounds then the foregrounds. The series emerged when I worked as an Art Coordinator for a graphic design company. I fell in love with the graphic designers’ work…the flatness of it. So I wondered if there could be a world where graphic design and fine art mixed and so I developed a process where my backgrounds have a flat graphic look and my foregrounds have a fine art process of texture and depth. My “Urban Pointillism” series as depicted in “Sol Lady: Sunrise” has an entirely different approach and it takes 100+ hours…80 hours on a smaller piece. I used a pointillist technique so everything is build from layers of dots. Most people look at them and cannot believe I would have so much patience and determination to finish it. Yet, I am very detailed oriented and I love every point.

BGG: What was the main inspiration behind your “Donne Di lusso” collection?
TW: Growing up there were so many labels put on me. Because I was a strong woman I had to be mean, because I knew what I wanted I was stuck-up, because I loved business I was trying to be in a man’s world. When all I wanted to do everyday was be me and give the world what God had put into my soul to do. I am a woman who does whatever I can to inspire, create and empower; thus, if I choose to be a powerhouse does it make me less of a woman? Can a woman have a voice and still be feminine? Can she cook, clean, have a business and still be seen as a good wife? Yes! I believe that women are multi-faceted and it is okay to straddle the lines of domesticity and patriarchy…we all need one another and if he can cook and I can fix the broken faucet; then as long as dinner is ready and the water is running we are a great team…(laughing)!


"Sol Lady: Sunrise"

BGG: Do you think having attended an HBCU (Howard University), played a major part in cultivating your style of artistry?
TW: Attending Howard was one of the most influential things in my life. Being exposed to the powerhouse nature of its student body and leadership of the faculty the atmosphere gave me a sense of readiness. I left Howard ready to take on the world and claim my spot because it was my right. As well, fashion and politics and business were the normal conversation. Like when there are 18-year-olds sitting down and discussing the stock market rocking the latest sneakers or bag. I realized that stereotypes or labels in general were ways to box others in and I wanted out of it; so, I created art to uplift the unseen.

BGG: I know that you’re an overall extremely creative young woman, what other activities do use as creative outlets?
TW: I just penned my first poetry book “Sugar In the Raw: A Love Saga” on sale at www.tanekeyaword.com Summer 2008 from my up-and-coming publishing company (website coming Summer 2008 www.icemediapress.com) I.C.E. Media Press (acronym stands for Inspire.Create.Empower), I am working on the business plan for my branding company in 2009, completing research for a huge art project about contemporary Urban women in the African Diaspora…this will be a project to remember. Also, I am attending graduate school at American University in the fall for Arts Management and always painting, reading, researching and writing while enjoying the now.

BGG: What are your goals as an artist?
TW: Simply to Inspire, Create, and Empower by sharing my gifts with the world. I believe that I am walking in my destiny and will become a renowned global artist amongst other things.


"Dimples-N-All" part of her Donne Di lusso collection.

BGG: What’s been the greatest advice you’ve been given in regard to being a young African-American female artist?
TW: “Pray, Push and Paint!” and “ See all obstacles as opportunities and keep the faith!”

BGG: What’s next for you?
TW: As the Duchess…I am here to claim my spot as Heiress of the art world; so, I am NEXT…(laughing)

Tanekeya will also have an exhibition the entire month of July entitled "Heir Royal Court: Introducing the Duchess" in Washington, DC. Prints are available for purchase online here.

51 comments:

LaNora said...

Thanks BGG for this wonderful interview with one of my FAVORITE artists. I own one of her Donne Di Lusso pieces: All Dolled Up and I LOVE it! I hope to own another piece soon and cannot wait for her July show.

Anonymous said...

Big ups to you. You are going to become one of the most famous painters today.

Anonymous said...

This article was inspiring. It makes you want recognize, appreciate, and collect young fine art. It's great to see hard working people get recognition. I'm definitely going to see her show in D.C.

Andrea said...

SHE IS BRILLIANT i LOVE HER AN INSPIRATION TO ME AND SHE IS GOING TO GO FAR BECAUSE SHE ID DESTINED TO BE GREAT i LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!

Ngozi said...

We love Tanekeya's work and were really excited to host her first solo exhibition in NY. Our customers and visitors to gallery really appreciate this young women's work. Her use of color is amazing and her imagery is truly captivating!

Harriet's Alter Ego said...

If you're in NY definitely check out Tanekeya's show before it closes today, Wed. June 10th. The show is at the Gallery @ Harriet's Alter Ego located at 293 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. 718.783.2074. Our hours today are 12pm to 8pm.

Mahelia de Randamie said...

Such an inspiring individual you are Tan! ;)

pve design said...

Brilliant, beautiful and inspiring artist.
She looks like a movie star. Love her soul!

Dominican Enigma said...

OH MY GOD!! Her art is fantastic. I need one of those pieces in my life!

Erika said...

Not only is Tanekeya an amazing artist, but an equally, if not more, amazing person. She truly defines creativity and tenacity. She is not one to let go of her goals or dreams--she's going far!

K-Bear said...

BGG, I've never heard of her but she is truly amazing! I love her work and I must have at least one piece. I also love where her head is. She is an amazing woman who knows who she is and why she is. That just tickles me pink. I'm so proud of this little sistah. Much love to her and to you BGG for bringing yet another talented BG to the forefront!

Kwana said...

Thanks for the into to the fantastic artist. She is so inspiring, both her work and her outlook on life. Wonderful interview.

Bennie said...

I had the pleasure of being introduced to both the woman and the artist. Impressive is an understatement! Continue to be an expressive inspiration!

Custom Book Design by CWN Photography said...

Wonderful interview!

Tanekeya is an outstandaing artist - 2 of her pieces will be gracing my office walls shortly. She is also a creative poetess. I encourage everyone to obtain a copy of "Sugar in the Raw: A Love Saga."

Congratulations, Tanekeya!

Anonymous said...

SHE IS SUCH AN INSPIRATION.I LOVE HER AND HER ARTWORK. SHE WILL GO VERY FAR AND HAS INSPIRED ME TO TRY TO ACCOMPLISH MORE THINGS IN MY LIFE......TAE

Ebony said...

GOD has just been amazing in her life. From high school on up she has shinned. I am so proud of her work and its no doubt that she is going to go far. Never get comfortable at any level there is always something greater.

Tamra said...

All I can say is WOW! What a great article! Neka is set to go so far in this world! She is a beautiful woman inside and out and those who can't realize that need to kick rocks! My girl is so talented and I thank God for her determination! As long as she remembers the 3 P's she is sure to conquer the world! I love her work and can't wait for my signature piece!

AB said...

The crown definitely awaits the duchess!!! Beautiful Art!!! Beautiful Art-icle!!! Beautiful God fearing woman!!! Keep you're eye out for Tanekeya Word!!! With God on her side nothing can stop her.

Ms. Word said...

BGG thanks so much for interviewing me I am so honored. BTW...I woke up this moning to find out my artwork is faetured on page 30 of DC Modern Luxury...God is Good :) http://www.modernluxury.com/digital.php?e=WASH

Nerd Girl said...

Nice! Are prints available?

CMarie said...

The only thing I regret about this is not being able to travel and experience this revolution first hand! Thank you for the article and helping to spread the news about this young talent. Beautiful artist, beautiful art, beautiful soul. After reading this, I'm proud to be a Brown Girl!

Young Global said...

nice... :-)

Barbara Holland said...

This Beautiful and talented young lady is a great inspiration to me as well as others… She has definitely inspired me to go above and beyond…Her work is absolutely beautiful..

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

she is adorable, need to front one of my books one day sister

J.L. Raven said...

Her work is amazing. Proud of her and proud of this site for sharing the interview with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

"Tanekeya. Congrats on the article! I checked out your website for the first time today... your art is amazing. And I'm not an art girl AT ALL... but who can resist such bright, funky colors?! I feel like it's all too common for art to be this pretentious blend of crap that tries so much to be abstract or inexplicable that it sometimes loses sight of how fun and beautiful it can really be! One day, when I'm all collectin' paychecks (which I'm SO far from right now!), I'm gonna have somethin' from the "Poppin'" collection on my wall. Preferable Dimples-N-All or Sol Girl. :)

Anyway, congratulations on everything; your work is delightful!!!"-TM

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

hot art! and she's beautiful!! good job ladies!!

Product Junkie Diva said...

Beautiful and talented. Great interview BGG.
Product Junkie Diva

12kyle said...

@BGG
Great piece! I'll be checkin' her stuff out!

Ty Day said...

Congrats on everything! You deserve it... Your work is AMAZING and I can't wait to own a piece!

Lauren Jackson said...

i am your BIGGEST fan! Wish you much success as a black artist and i will do my best to support you! HU!

Candy said...

Truly an inspiration! I am a big fan.

that guy said...

great interview!!! great art work!!! good job

mimieyes said...

Wow! thanks for introducing a beautiful painter. I love her colors. I definitive will make an effort to see her show.

Rachel said...

This article was very uplifting and inspiring to me. Thanks so much for the post. This artist is a wonderful friend of mine and I am excited for all that is happening in her life and career right now. Keep it up!

KBL said...

I love the colors. I will check her out!

Tawanna said...

Two words: simply beautiful! And Tanekeya Word, simply hot!

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

@Tanekeya - It was my pleasure to interview you. Thanks so much doing it!

@Nerd Girl - Yes, prints are available. Visit her site, www.tanekeyaword.com.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the "Sol Lady: Sunrise" painting. It's amazing how much work goes into one piece. Tanekeya is really inspiring and talented. Thanks for showing us some new talent!

Virtuous Blue said...

Wonderful article BGG! When I found out you featured her I literally said "YAAAYYYY!!" lol. Thank you so much for showcasing her talent & wonderful spirit. She is a woman who is just as beautiful (inside & out) as the artwork that she paints. She has truly been an inspiration to Teneasha and I, and we're blessed to know her. She makes me proud to be a bison (Go HU!), a woman of color, and a seeker of knowledge, business, & success.

Oh, and can't wait to have her artwork plastered all over my walls when I get my new place. Sol Lady: Sunrise, Like Water For Chocolate, and Bootsie from the Donne Di lusso series are a few of my faves.

Kenya
VB

Candejah said...

you really chose the right person for this article. tanekeya is such a talented young lady. the first time i met her she was painting in her basement! i was so amazed at the gifts that she bestowed! i am just so proud of her and her accomplishments, never allowing any obstacles to get in the way of anything that she wanted to do! and now look she has all these magnificent artworks that truly speak for themselves! keep up the good work Neka love you!

L said...

big ups to Ms. Word, u on fire!! much luv from DJ L. Boogie and the fam in Milwaukee, we always knew u were destined for greatness!!

SolShine7 said...

Great interview BGG! I really like her Sol Lady piece. It's so cool to see new black artists emerge. Keep up the good work!!!

Ms.Erika said...

Wow, where can I buy one!

Ananda said...

wow. thanks bgg for highlighting tanekeya. her work is phenomenal. many blessings tanekeya.

Zarina Dawn said...

Sol Sis, I cannot begin to describe how amazing you are. It's like... you're in my world, and you're my soul sis, but... when I see you through the world's eyes I see how EVEN MORE amazing you are. I'm SO PROUD of you because you are doin it BIG. BIGGER than big because you are fulfilling your purpose fully and vibrantly. I know days come, but you're in the flow girl! I am so thankful to Black Girl Gumbo for posting this beautifully written interview with such a phenomenal woman. You are truly my muse, my push, my inspiration that says "yes we can create, yes we can fulfill our purpose, yes we can push thru." Love ya to the bones! -Z

Ms. Word said...

Z,

Thanks soulsis you are an incredible writer and I cannot wait until the world is blessed with your words...love ya to the bones!

Jo'rell said...

What an amazing talent! Thanks for the interview and shining light on an incredible artist.

Sabita said...

So I see you express yourself beautifully through art AND words! This was a very inspiring and motivating interview. I enjoyed reading every last word and it makes me admire you so much more as a beautiful woman, artist, and DIVA! God has blessed you thus far and will continue to do so in abundance. Love you, girl!

jjonesword said...

Your artwork is sublime matches the artist in every way. Your talent will take you wherever you want it to go as long as you allow God to lead you.

Anonymous said...

MOM,

MAY GOD GET THE GLORY IN ALL YOU DO"I'M SO PROUD
OF YOU.MAY THE GATES OF HEAVEN FLY OPEN AND POUR OUT AN ABUNDANCE OF LOVE,JOY AND PEACE UPON YOU MY ROSE.

MUCH LOVE"