A couple of weeks ago I went to a Pop-up by “Colored Girls Hustle” in Brooklyn. At the event I came across the visual artist Makeba “KEEBS” Rainey and her beautiful collages of Black Icons. Find out more about the artist whose purpose is to “create art for Black People”.
APiF: Please introduce your brand.
Makeba “KEEBS” Rainey: I am a visual artist. My art merges the old with the new by re-envisioning the ancestors through new media. I am known for creating digital collage portraits of contemporary and historical Black icons.
APiF: What inspired you to create your business?
Makeba: It wasn’t so much inspiration as much as it was necessity that forced me to create a business out of making art. I am an artist first and foremost. I am a businesswoman second. Many artists create work for themselves, to spiritually/emotionally sustain themselves. It’s therapeutic. When I decided that I wanted my work to reach as many people as possible, that’s when I had to strategize and develop several marketing solutions to reach the most people. There is a creative problem-solving aspect to marketing and business, which is great, but it is also very stressful. I spend more time managing myself as an artist than I do creating new artwork.
APiF: What is your professional background and how did you get into digital art/ graphic design?
Makeba: I have been creating art my entire life. I did not go to art school and I am not a graphic designer. I started creating digital art because of the lack of physical space in the places I’ve lived and also because digital art is a natural reflection of the time we live in.
APiF: What is the purpose of your brand?
Makeba: I create art for Black people. My intention is to acknowledge and uplift the many gifts that Black Americans have contributed to global Black culture. I want Black people to see their greatness reflected back at them and to know, deep within, that we are powerful beyond imagination. I also want to encourage African-diasporic unity through conversation/reflections of the work.
APiF: Is there sth like the most popular print or postcard and if yes who is on it?
Makeba: James Baldwin is definitely a fan favorite. There’s no disputing how great he is. I think his posture and facial expression in the portrait matches his demeanor in real life and really the general sentiment of Black people living in America right now.
APiF: Any advice for other small business and young entrepreneurs?
Makeba: This seems like common sense, but, the more time and focus/intention you put into your art practice, the more you receive from it. You have a relationship with your practice just like you do with a person, and that relationship is reciprocal.
Find out more about visual artist Makeba Keebs: