Otherwise known as Candace Turner, ARTacrobat is a very talented artist from Raleigh, North Carolina. She reached out to me and let me know that she was interested in being featured on The Black Maverick,( which I am always thankful for). You all actually may have remembered her from the latest “Black News Report”. Below is a recap of my first introduction to her artwork in her words:
“I make commissioned pieces of art based off of my buyers instagram feed and includes affirmation of the buyers choice. I really want share with your readers how important and healing art is and can be, and one way I’m ushering that is in “Affirmation Art.” “Affirmation Art” is where I make a collage piece incorporating an affirmation of their choosing, working from an instagram pic of the buyer. I heavily “socialize” on Instagram and figured I’d start there.”
“It is my firm belief that the world will be rebuilt when we begin with living inside divine connection; and it begins with the African American community, specifically the African American woman. Because we all know other cultures look to the African American community to shape their taste in style, music, food, etc.; and because the world came into physical existence through the soul and body of a Black woman.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do the in-person video interview, however, I was able to meet and talk to her via Skype, so I could still get a feel for who she is and her personality. She is extremely intelligent and great at creating analogies to help one relate and completely understand (whether in agreement or not) her ideas, concepts, and perception of the world.
Check out her interview below.
1. How did you come up with your name ARTacrobat and what does it mean to you?
I came up with my name out of defiance, a little bit. At the time, my professor in college, it got to the point where they said, ‘Okay you need to pick your concentration”. So, you could do painting, you could do sculpture, you could do drawing, you could do photography. And I just didn’t want to pick one; I wanted to do a little bit of this, a little bit of that. And it was kind of frowned upon which I just didn’t understand, because all of the greats that we were taught about did a little bit of everything. So, I came up with “ARTacrobat” because I do a little bit of this, do a little bit of that, and it sucked. So what it means to me is that it keep myself open, it means that I don’t limit myself, it means letting myself explore, which I think all of us are artists but those who decide to label themselves as artists, I think that is the way to go.
2. So, when did you decide that you wanted to become an artist and what influenced you to take this route in your life?
I don’t recall there being a moment where it was just like “click” the light, the clouds parted and God came down and says, “Candice you will be an artist” There were a lot of things in my life that just I wasn’t satisfied, and what I remember as a child is what satisfied me was being creative. SO I got back into being creative and noticed how my, the other things in my life that were kind of chaotic died down. So, for me it started, as a selfish thing initially. I selfishly feel like if I don’t, it’s good for anybody, myself included, because chaos ensues. SO, I feel like it’s more like I am surrendering and answering versus fighting the call if you will. We all come with talents and ambitions; this is my bed so I’m resting in that.
3. During a time where many are labeled, or have labeled themselves as creative, what is a creative to you? What does being a creative mean to you?
That’s an awesome question. I think that we all are creative. We all do creative things and I also feel that we are all here procreating with whomever you want to name is high to the sky, God, Buddha, Allah, and baby Jesus whomever. I think that we are all procreators and so it’s just do you want to subscribe to that label or not. I don’t think it’s a profession, I think it’s just part of what it means to be human. We create babies, we create dinner, we create music, we create things at work, we create bad things too. Things that are not so lovely.
4. What is one thing you have learned, while working as an artist, that you would like to share with others?
I have learned that it’s okay; everything is okay. Whether now, whether later, or whether about to be, or whether it just was, it’s always okay. I feel great comfort in knowing that and have great comfort in doing affirmation art and just really rocking out, painting what I want to paint, and putting myself out there and showing other people it’s terrifying but it’s thrilling and it’s nice to know that no matter what happens everything is okay. That would mean that stuff doesn’t suck, but it means that one could suck and it’s still okay.
5. What is your dream project?
My dream project? I don’t know that there’s just one project. My dream is to build upon a project of mason art. I’m really big on community and I’m really big on doing it in a way that is comfortable for me. I’m not an activist I don’t’ particularly feel like politics are going for me. I’m not a protester, but I am a visionary and I am an artist and I think that imagery is an easy way for us all to connect, kind of like music. Like if I say can you see a purple pocket book you can see that in your mind. And so that’s what I love about imagery, it’s communicating quickly, so my goal is to use my art to bridge the communities together. By that I mean piece. I think we as a society make it so much harder than it has to be. And so my hope is that my art gives the viewer the chance to remember who they are. And that there is no need for hate or strife.
6. What role does an artist and their art play in society?
I just recently read a quote and it’s something along the lines of “an artist is here to make the comfortable uncomfortable, and the uncomfortable comfortable”. I just think that artist are here to see what is not seen. A lot of people don’t yet realize that we have the authority to see what is not there and make it, and have it actualized. I actually think, just like creators, we all are artists in our own right, whether you are in that profession or not.
7. While on your website and reading about your story, you briefly mentioned not seeing yourself or anyone like you, featured in the art gallery that was near your grandparents home, the first time you visited as a little girl. So, what exactly were you expecting to see? What came to your mind as a young girl when you thought gallery?
I think what I thought I would see…So, going over a place like my auntie’s house or my grandparents house, there are pictures of things that were going on before, or pictures of me and my sisters, or images of family. So black faces in my case. And I think that was what I thought I would see as a young person, I thought there are pictures on the wall, I’m sure that one of them would look like me or auntie, or my uncle or sister. Going in there it’s like really nice, but where am I and what does that mean? Does that mean I’m not important? Does that mean they don’t know we exist? The absence of seeing someone that I can relate to directly made me wonder what was going on. Again, I’ve always had this nudge you should draw something or paint something, you should sketch something you should, you should show this. I went through this nudge and so apart of that nudge was in school, in college, all the way up through college. In art history, we had to learn a lot in art history in culture and understanding the context, and why it was important at the time, and having all that background, you learn about Italian arts, etc. Even when reading I’m looking for the black man or either myself, and in the book or during the lecture it’s still where am I? There’s no way we don’t exist!
8. Inspire, Empower, Uplift, is the slogan of The Black Maverick. Do you have any encouraging words you would like to share to the black community?
First, I love you so much. I love my black people. I think that as corny as it may sound, my encouraging words would be to stay in love. Love yourself, love what you’re doing, love your neighbor, love your job. I think whatever you do, do it through love.
ARTacrobat loves instagram and it’s also her favorite way to communicate. You can find her at @artacrobat there. She also prefers contact through email as well (email@example.com) . Feel free to say ‘hi’ and ‘what’s up’; she invites anyone to ask or share anything one would like to.
Don’t forget to check out her work and follow her on Instagram, and visit her website and order commissions at shopartacrobat.com