Updated: Sep 4, 2019
By Shayler Richmond
A growing number of Black millennials are pursuing their passions through curation; the process of creating, which has become a system of liberation.
Part one showcased 13 different Black millennial curators. In part two, the narrative shifts to the freedom of thought and expression these young curators are experiencing through art.
Art is defined through the various expressions and disciplines of creative activity.
What is your definition of art?
If you don’t have a quick answer, you’re not alone. When asked, not all 13 of these free thinkers had quick answer either.
This reluctance to quickly define art wasn't in spite of art; the attempt to define art is stifled in contrast to the expansive nature art takes in the minds of a creative.
“Art is what I use to view the world and express my feelings to the world. I think anything that allows the youth to do that is very important,” said, Bria Erby, visual artist.
Art is liberation and definitions are often a limiting system, which is fair, but not when defining art because at its full potential, art is an outlet. When art is monetized due to capitalism, artist develop their artistry through creating a platform and assigning a means of distributing their work.
Like many other creatives pursuing their passion, Derek Jerome, has received backlash for his decision to pursue photography and enter other creative markets.
“More often than not you will have to show people what you can do with your craft in order for people to believe in what you’re doing,” said Jerome.
Being a creative today requires creatives to acquire more than just one skill. Photographers are also videographers. Clothing designers are also visual artist. Painters are also sculptors. Rappers are also models. Graphic designers are also those doing marketing.
“Everything can be done in house. I don’t have to reach out. I don’t have to collaborate if I don’t want to but I’m always down to collaborate with other creatives, so it’s not to be selfish, but I’m not forced to rely on anyone else,” said Jerome.
Creativity is all encompassing and creative arts are fueled by double and triple threats. Heightened ingenuity is a special balance between individuality and community.
“Collectiveness is very important to the development of artistry, but I also feel it is important for artist to manage their influences because when you change your influences you change your art,” said Darion Ervin, poet.
Copyright laws compounded with a market for authentic work govern the integrity of creativity.
“Being an artist is 100 percent about the artistry and staying true to yourself,” said Royale Michael, rapper.
Different creatives take different approaches to managing their crafts with no one surefire way of securing longevity. For these 13 creatives and others with similar marginalized identities living in America’s capitalist society survival is hardly ever not on their mind.
“It’s tough when you’re at a point where you want to be higher than you are, but I realized that this grind is hard and nothing worth having comes easy,” said Spooney SP, rapper.
Creatives work to position themselves best to reach their version of success in their market, and achieving this goal has become a major part of each creatives development as an artist.
“Good music will move itself but it’s the business behind it which will help it reach way more people because someone can produce a popping song but if the business behind it isn’t effective then everyone that could have heard it may not hear it,” said Spooney SP.
Success in entrepreneurial curation takes knowledge, belief, structure and resilience.
“Anyone that wants to accomplish anything, especially starting a business is going to struggle. So with having any talent you also have to be down to struggle,” said Jordan Judge, clothing designer.
Innovation and development requires the creatives behind these brands to research their own crafts, study other developers in similar fields, and to continuously produce quality work.
“If you don't consistently tell yourself that you are going to accomplish something then nine times out of ten it isn’t going to work because belief in yourself is often all creatives have to see it through,” said Koryn Nicole.
There is stock in curation because curation is innovation and innovation is the mother of invention. An entrepreneurial mindset is an expansive style of thinking that helps to liberate marginalized identities living withing limiting systems.
The phrase, "buy the block," means to invest back into your community, invest in the people that support you, and build generational wealth for the culture. Curation has become the block, and millennials are buying it through finding their niche and creating their own markets.
“Monetizing your artistry has to be a strategic plan where creatives are considering how we flip one idea into a business, but it isn’t solely about making money, it’s about growing along with our brands,” said Nicole.
What is your definition of art?
“Art is freedom and an outlet to express oneself,” said Specs, photographer.
He continued, “the people that created art were probably the people in the back of the classrooms stuck in their own heads, and now we’re free."