Bellas, I’d like to present a new monthly series. Afrobella Art will feature images that inspire and celebrate our unique beauty, and the people who create them. First up, Nastassia Davis.
Nastassia is a New Jersey based artist and photographer specializing in fine art portraiture and conceptual photography.
Her fascinating self-portraits include this stunning image titled Two Sides to Every Story, which first got my attention on natural hair blogs and Fokti pages. Via BGLH I learned that she was a member of The Wondaland Arts Society. I wanted to know more.
What inspired her art? What was she hoping viewers got fom her images?
She answers those kinds of questions in our interview.
Afrobella: How long have you been an artist?
ND: My impetus for becoming an artist began around the age of 9. Growing up, I was exposed to a rich diversity of cultural experiences within my schools and organizations I was apart of. The arts, in general, have always been a positive outlet for me to freely express myself, but photography has been my main focus over the past few years.
Afrobella: What inspires your art?
ND: Imagination, creativity and technology; anything and everything that awakens my spirit – be it people, music, films, etc. I also find a great deal of inspiration from the simplicity of God’s divine nature. I think it’s something that many of us take for granted. I find special comfort there.
Afrobella: Your art directly tackles concepts of black women, feminine identity and race in a very eye catching and beautiful way. When you create your art, what are you hoping the viewer gets from it?
ND: Definitely some of my images tackle themes that directly speak to many black women/people in our community, like “Two Sides To Every Story” and “Assimilate. Although, I have no control over what the viewer chooses to take from these images, I can only hope that these pieces help to challenge their thoughts and stereotypes society has conditioned them to believe about themselves for the better.
In addition, I think it’s important to mention that the underlining themes in more of my recent work aim to focus on concepts any human being all over the world, no matter race or gender, can relate to. These images, like the pieces mentioned above, were developed by myself or with an assistant (Marcel Hadorn), using a camera and surroundings to tell a story of what I was going through at that time. These are my “selfies”, as I like to call them.
“Arise”, is about motivating myself to work harder on my goals as an artist and finding inner strength while feeling a little down and out.
Or “Rebirth” when I felt a sense of self-renewal or personal growth, something we all experience from time to time.
Or “Goddess’ Love Dance” – an eerie depiction of a dance I created that is inspired by the thought of self-love, loving oneself – from my hair, to my body, to my skin color, to everything that makes me who I physically am.
Or Break Out of my shell – which talks about my overcoming my awkward shyness growing up.
These are all creations coming from me, a black female artist, but definitely not limited to “black issues”. I believe anyone from any race or background can relate to those themes or know someone who can.
Afrobella: Where would you like your art to displayed? When your pieces are sold, where do you envision them going to?
ND: To the moon! (haha) But really, anywhere art and beauty is appreciated. I’m primarily a fine-art photographer so producing work for exhibitions, my own projects and commissions is what I want to focus mostly on.
Afrobella: What’s next for you?
ND: Many things are in store, including my first creative photography workshop that I am currently planning. I’m looking for venues to hold the class now and accepting recommendations from anyone that can help. More info on the chosen location and registration can be found on my facebook and flickr as soon as it’s available.
Thank you so much for your time, and for allowing me to feature you and your incredible artwork, Nastassia!
Prints of Nastassia Davis’ art can be purchased here via her Etsy page or her Society6 store (for iPod cases and skins), and you can follow her artistic and commercial work via her Flickr page. Click here to visit her official site, and click here to follow her on Facebook.
If you create art that celebrates the beauty of natural hair and a wide range of skintones, please contact me using the subject line, Afrobella Art.