The Artists Among Us

Interviews with Artists Around Us

Humans of Howard | Imani Lee | November 24, 2015

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An artist is defined as a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria” and a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill”

As an artist myself, I take pride in finding the people around us who are artists as well.  I love being inspired by other people’s work and their different creative processes. At Howard, we have a collective love for culture and art. No matter where you’re from or if you’re an artist or not, many us can truly appreciate different art styles and aesthetics. I have reached out to and interviewed artists from Howard and other areas. Here, you can see the works and hear the voices of the artists around us.


from Jersey/Delware (DC based) + Twitter: @brckjms

  • What kind of artist are you? I shoot ppl I shoot nature but my favorite thing to shoot is city architecture. I love the geometry and playin with angles. But my main goal is to bring beauty of the banal. The mundane. Parts of the visual landscape ppl that get overlooked.
  • When did you start? I got my first camera when I was 12. My pops a former professional photographer so we’d just go to the park or on back roads and he’d teach me the basic principals of photography. That’s when i really fell in love with nature photography I think.
  • What are some of your influences? My pops my biggest influence by far. Some of his older work from like the 70’s still hangin in our house now. He’s the reason I even picked up a camera.
  • Tell us about your creative process. I always like gettin high first it helps me get more creative with my framing/angles and pose ideas. Then I get the client comfortable n start shootin. 8/10 of the shots usually candid that’s just how I shoot. No matter how much experience a model has I’m not a big fan of posing them. I like the rawness of capturing a subject off guard in motion. That’s the only way to really capture a moment n that’s what photography’s all about.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? I’m tryna get my shit together I got like 3000 photos just sittin on my hard drive but you’ll see my work sooner than you think.
  • Do you have a website? Website currently under construction! (aka soon as I get my shit together lol.)

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Andrea Wooten

from New Haven, CT (HU17) + IG/Twitter: 

  • What kind of artist are you? Visual art, painting
  • When did you start? I’ve always done sketches and abstract pieces here and there but I got more serious about it last year, around winter time/finals.
  • What are some of your influences? I’m heavily influenced by black women and Hip Hop culture, almost all of my pieces involve one or both of those things. I’ve also been very influenced by Basquiat, not really his style but his creative process; specifically his ability to take his art onto so many different platforms and work so far outside of the box.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. I usually get the urge to paint something while I’m scrolling through pictures on tumblr or watching old music videos on YouTube. I never sketch anything out on paper (although I do want to get into doing that) and I’m not too organized or meticulous about the actual process. I really just turn on a good movie or playlist and I just dive right in, I usually don’t stop until I’m about 90% done and I might go back and add details another day.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? I don’t think it’s going to be done anytime soon but I’ve been working on a set of paintings incorporating some of the most memorable scenes from my favorite movie “State Property 2.”
  • Do you have a website?

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Kamiin Valree

NJ/NYC based + IG: @xboooom / Twitter: @itsmeenbaby 

  • What kind of artist are you? I like to consider myself a visual artist.

  • When did you start? I started taking photographs a little over a year ago, October 2014. It was a Wednesday night and I was scrolling through the explore page on instagram and saw a Photo taken in Central Park, New York that inspired me to pick up my Nikon d3100, that was collecting dust at the time, and begin to shoot. There wasn’t much excitement in my life back then so it started as just an excuse to get out and do something fun, then I fell in love with taking photos and it became a drug to me. My introduction to filmmaking followed that same trend.

  • What are some of your influences? Influence comes from everywhere however music is one of my biggest influences. Hearing a musician express their creativity to the fullest inspires me to do the same. I also get a lot of influence from movies and directors like Spike Lee, Darren Aronofsky, and Nabil Elderkin.

  • Tell us a little about your creative process. Ideas are constantly flowing through my head, but in the moment when I’m creating I analyze my current surroundings and begin to create photographs in my mind before actually taking them. Once I take the photo I’ll do everything in my power to bring the image I visualized to life. Sometimes it requires photoshop other times I have to retake the image, but I will not settle.

  • Do you have any new projects on the way? Yes! I have 2 big projects in the works, the first one is my solo art exhibit and documentary release titled “No More Pizza” coming in 2016 and the second one is an art gallery featuring my best photos of my favorite muses.

  • Do you have a website? Yes you can keep up with my latest work on that’s spelled with four o’s. follow me on Instagram @xboooom, twitter @itsmeenbaby, and tumblr @xboooom.

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Yakntoro Udoumoh

from Washington, D.C. + IG/Twitter: @yakyakphoto

  • What kind of artist are you? Photographer
  • When did you start? I started photographing almost 6 years ago. My craze with photography started during my sophomore year of high school. My school had recently implemented a mandatory club period. Now, no student wants to stay after school for an hour just because some adults think they know what is in a child’s best interest. However, with no recourse, I had to join a club. Honestly, I joined photography club to escape the other terrible club options that were forced upon us students. As an apathetic teenager with no interest in the photographic craft at all, I spent my time sitting through photographic lectures in the back of a classroom filled with apathetic thoughts. The first event that the photography club photographed was our school’s field day. The school used two of my photos in the school paper and I have been hooked on photography ever since. Fortunately, I am now glad that I was forced into that club; otherwise, I may not be in photography at all right now. (You can see my first published photos here at this link:, landscape photo of the race & two kids smiling).
  • What are some of your influences? Just as a body is the sum of its parts, all I have experienced influences my work. If I must highlight one of my photographic inspirations which I hold in high regard, it would be Aleksandr Mavrin, a Russian photographer currently based in Moscow. His work shows mastery of the nature and control of light, with a seemingly perfect sense of the correct level of retouching. Seeing his work on my Instagram or 500px feed is truly a treat, lesson, and inspiration.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. Let it be known that I am quite anal when it comes to my photography projects. I am a believer that in order, aesthetic nature emerges. My creative process begins with a concept I want to actualize, then I move to a research phase, looking on websites such as 500px, Behance, and Instagram for examples to refine that concept. Next, I search for model(s) I think will work with the project. If I can convince them to join the project, we sign legal documents. Then I search for the photoshoot location and develop lighting setups once I settle on a location that suits the project. Then the actual photoshoot takes place. During the shoot, I let the model show me their creative prowess, and I adjust my lighting scheme to mold to their poses. Following the photoshoot, I retouch those images using Adobe Lightroom. Finally, I release the finished product via social media and all the parties that helped on the photoshoot receive copies of the photos.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? Yes, I am currently working on several projects. I have reached out to a couple of athletes on campus to do a dramatic photoshoot based on their sport. In addition, I am collaborating with the fashion designer of M.Y.M collection to do an editorial shoot in the photographic style of the fashion blogger, Micah Gianneli. Then I am working on an avant-garde makeup photoshoot with makeup artist, Berencia Fore. Lastly, I am sponsoring my annual Valentine’s Day lingerie photoshoot. You should see those projects in the beginning months of 2016.
  • Do you have a website? My website is and @yakyakphoto on most major social media platforms.

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Tameek Kelty

NJ/NY based + IG/Twitter/Snapchat: @meekBASE

  • What kind of artist are you? I would consider myself a FAKEgenius. I can low-key make anything. idc idc idc. However, I don’t actually know how to draw. I can design almost anything on Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop. Aside from having two clothing brands. Im a certified screen printer. I can sew very well. I make websites. Im a decent photographer & videographer.
  • When did you start? I began designing in 2006. I was 14. At 15 I began printing. I was certified at 17.
  • What are some of your influences? My inspiration would be a guy named Hakeem Sylvan. He’s from Flatbush, Brooklyn. His art was what inspired me to become clothing designer. I currently work closely with him on his newest releases.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. As cliche as this sounds, I have no actual creative process .. I just put my mind into whatever it is I’m creating. My mind is farrout!
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? Yes! I am releasing a film entitled “Girl” on New Years Day. Its a compilation of all my photoshoots with numerous muses over the course of this year.
  • Do you have a website? I had a website but I took it down because I’m currently building a site that prompts viewers to subscribe. I feel like my art should be only exclusive to the people worthy.

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from Wilmington, DE + Twitter: @JASMYNMILAN

  • What kind of artist are you? Mixed media/contemporary/cartoonist
  • When did you start? I have been drawing since I was young but I was never consistent until I started tattooing (4-5 years ago).
  • What are some of your influences? I feel like I take little bits and pieces of inspiration from everything..I can taste a food and think of something and of something else that will inspire mind bounces around a lot..but I definitely try to appreciate all the things around me..even the little, silly things to the of inspiration.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. My creative process is..inconsistent and consistent at the same time if that makes sense..I will go for months without creating then have a week where I cannot stop..I go from project to project, idea to idea — back and forth..but that’s what works best for me. As for when I’m creating..I like privacy.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? Many 🙂 and I may think of a new one tomorrow. Would love to work with clay or more 3D modeling projects.
  • Do you have a website?

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Simone a.k.a “Moe”

from Michigan + IG: @iseesimone/Twitter: @ilovesimonee

  • What kind of artist are you? Although I probably wouldn’t even classify myself as an artist, I mostly draw and paint.
  • When did you start? I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I stopped creating for many years, but on an impulse I began painting almost a year ago. (Last December)
  • What are some of your influences? Literally everything influences me; music, fashion, colors, life, other art… I think some of my best work has been brought out of me/ influenced by the artistic ideas of others. Many times people will come to me with a commission idea that I think is far beyond my abilities, but they always turn out much better than I ever imagine. So I’m very thankful for those influences because they truly propel me forward and help me grow.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. My creative process is like the equivalent of like minding your own business, browsing tumblr or whatever, and you keep getting all these random pop ups on your computer. I usually get all these random visuals that just come to mind. I try my best to write it all down in a way that’ll make sense to me later on. Then finally when it’s time to create. I start out sketching since that’s what I’m comfortable with, then I just go from there.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? I am currently working on a new piece. Lol, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s currently a jumbled pieces of abstract ideas and colors i need to work together.
  • Do you have a website? Unfortunately, I don’t have my own website just YET but I do have artwork available on Big Cartel store and pictures of previous work on my Instagram.

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Maya Piquant

from Atlanta, GA (HU17) + Twitter: @thaflandon

  • What kind of artist are you? Ceramic artist, painter, mixed media sculptress
  • When did you start? 17 years old
  • What are some of your influences? My dreams show me the good and the bad of myself and show me how I filter in information. I can step back and watch how I perceive things and it’s taught me to analyze this in others.  (I was a psych major at one point lol). It’s amazing seeing how one thing can be something else and how people can look at the same object and interpret it in so many ways.  It brings me to the concept of multidimensionality and duplicity, especially in nature. Like warped images in crystals or the ocean and flowers that look like animals or insects. So many things shown in different forms but they all intersect at some common point.  I try to convey this in my art.
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. I usually start with trying to recreate a scene in whatever dream I’d recently had. I would obsess over it, thinking about what the dream would feel like in a material or what would be this dream’s signature color or sound. I might isolate one part of the dream and just make that, or make what I think would’ve been cool to have in the dream. I just use whatever materials I have at the moment.
  • Do you any new projects on the way? I want to make huge sculptures, mainly installations and public art. I have two pieces that I’m working on right now that deal with the manipulation of light. Light is so many things and it’s exciting to think of it as a medium.
  • Do you have a website? No.

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Cassidy Dixon

from Houston, TX (HU19) + Twitter: @workthatcass

  • What kind of artist are you? I like to consider myself a producer. I like to produce and orchestrate lots of different things. I enjoy producing film, television, music, photography, as well as, clothing.
  • When did you start? I started creating when I was ten, starting with film and music production. At the age of ten, I created my first animated short film, which won Best Overall Animation in my school’s Film Festival, while I was living overseas in Abu Dhabi. I added photography to my repertoire at the age of seventeen.
  • What are some of your influences? I am greatly influenced by the entrepreneurial side of P Diddy, not only because he went to Howard, but because he allows for his business (Combs Enterprises) to take whatever route it wants. P Diddy is able to maintain a rapping career, a television station, films, fashion, and much more. I find this very influential, because I am interested in so many parts of the entertainment business and ultimately would love to do them all under my own name. Overall, he helps me to know that it is possible, no matter where you start.Another one of my influences is the singer/songwriter Kehlani. I had the privilege of meeting, as well as, FaceTiming her, and through her music and her words she has inspired me so much. Kehlani’s rise to the top of the charts, compared to where she started has influenced me a lot, and being able to personally ask her questions she has genuinely taught me lots about self love. Lastly, I am greatly influenced by Quentin Tarantino, and more specifically, Pulp Fiction. The creative element of that movie is amazing to me. I love the idea of gathering individual situations, putting them all together, and having it all make sense in the end. Quentin Tarantino does a great job of placing crazy situations in juxtaposition with one other. Others who influence me would include Shameless Maya, Shonda Rhimes, Debbie Allen, Ellen, Tyler Perry, Ryan Secreast, Oprah, and many more. (I am inspired very easily, lol)
  • Tell us a little about your creative process. My creative process usually involves me watching or seeing something that gets me inspired. After that, I typically end up staying up till really early in the morning trying to lay my idea out on paper. I always start with writing or typing my idea, and then I break it down and write down every step I need to take in order to ignite the idea. Once I have the steps written down, I pull out a calendar and plan the day when I will take each step. This process is usually how I go about getting my creativity out to the world. Some days, I wake up and do not feel like shooting or do not think I have all the necessary equipment, but I always tell myself “just go shoot something.” This piece of advice I give myself is the only way I get through creating, because as long as I go out and shoot something then I have something to work with.
  • Do you have any new projects on the way? I have lots of new projects on the way, actually. I have a mixtape where I produced all of the music, scheduled for release called “School Daze.” I have new series coming to my youtube channel (, including: Cass City, Fierce and Beautiful, Premiere, and Black Girls Run The World. HU Apparel will be releasing our winter shoot in 2016 as well, and I hope to be getting a web show out by fall of 2016. Lastly, I am working on starting my own clothing line called CASÍ.
  • Do you have a website? No, I do not have an official website, yet, but I am hoping to release one very soon. The best way to stay updated with everything I am working on would definitely be through my youtube channel (, my instagram and twitter (@workthatcass), my production company IG and twitter (@thewtcp), my networks IG and Twitter (@casscitytv), and my fashion blog IG: (@huapparell), twitter: (@huapparel), and tumblr (

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Check out these artists’ social media platforms & websites to stay updated & see more of their work! xo