It’s a humid Tuesday evening in New York and I’ve had a rather lazy day listening to Jazz CDs. Earlier I was in conversation with friend and truly inspirational artist Alisa Moseley Mbinakar. Just the conversation I need to spirit me on to greater heights in the arts world. As I look forward to a few new projects, she kindly shared with me her own motivation and some of her current activities.
How long have you been painting, what inspires you and how do you keep motivated?
That’s three questions at once! I graduated from Art College in 1989. I started painting in my freshman year and loved oils. I’m drawn to figures, people and portraits. I like drawing the positive images of life, people, raw emotions, particularly children. After many years painting I’m motivated by what’s around me. I’m always looking at artwork and how other artists use colour.
What is your favourite medium and why?
I love oils. They stay wet longer than any medium and I enjoy the way you can mix colours. I don’t keep the colours as rich when using acrylics or water colours. I’m developing a love for digital drawing. I love the process.
Your work is very figurative, colourful and family orientated; is there a conscious message you try relaying in your work?
I’m always trying to portray positivity in live. The brightest and best parts of people and love for life!
The arts industry is likely to struggle over the coming years. How have you handled the commercial and business side of being an artist/business owner during this financial climate?
Some of the industry will struggle. Take our schools; it’s usual for the arts courses to be cut. A lot of the work I do goes beyond it being a decorative piece. As a digital artist and graphic designer, I’m always in a position to help a business market itself and grow during difficult times.
Okay but how will other artist, without the diverse range of services you provide, make money?
There are always markets out there. As an artist you need to identify what the potential buyers want. People will always buy art as there is always a market, not just for domestic audiences but companies, hotels and other sources of custom.
What are the best and worst elements of being a full time working artist and designer?
The most wonderful thing is doing something you really love. The worst would be the difficulty of growing a business that challenges or removes that emotional link. Sometimes you need to put aside you own artistic preferences or ideas for the long term progression of the business.
You recently exhibited as part of ‘Creative Women of Colour ‘ which received funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Could you tell me more about the collective, the exhibition and what the future holds for the group?
The Creative Women of Colour’ collective was formed in 2006. Creative Women of Colour is a collective of African American women artist whose mission is to educate, encourage, inspire and provide a creative connection with the community for the purpose of advancing the arts
Our mission as artist and community members is to influence our rich African heritage. We seek to partner with individuals and organisations to further the appreciation of art. It started at the King Arts Complex in Columbus and moved to several other venues.
And finally, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I would like to have my graphic business established enough to allow me freedom to concentrate on my fine art!
More of Alisa’s work can be seen on the following links: