We had the good fortune of connecting with Destini T. Riley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Destini T., we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks has always been something I never hesitated to do and plays a massive role in my professional and personal journey. I believe that I have to take risks to grow as an individual and as a creative. I have taken risks that took me out of my comfort zone however, each risk has been worth the journey. Taking risks forces me to transform my current way of thinking and ultimately makes me a problem solver, and as a creative person, you have to learn the art of problem-solving. I perceive risks as a way to learn and transform, even if the outcome is not what I expected.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an interdisciplinary artist which means that my sources of inspiration often transform into something indescribable and abstract across several mediums. My painting creations are named “Legends” which comes from a mantra I would repeat to myself in times of doubt. I believe that every person is legendary, it just takes confidence and motivation to discover the legendary qualities within. I began creating when I was younger, my Nanna was an artist herself, often tasking me with repurposing furniture, creating jewelry, etc. At the age of 13, I co-created a short animated documentary named “I, Destini” which showed me the possibilities of being a professional artist. That short film has been archived in the National Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture, archived in the New York Times Op-Docs, has won several awards, and is a part of the Chicago Public School system to help teach the youth about race and police brutality. Fast forward a few years later, I graduated from the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design at The University of Michigan Ann Arbor and I am currently employed as a Jr. Motion Graphics Designer with the LA Clippers.

My journey as a professional creative has not been easy, and I often find times where I have been uninspired but learning to give myself grace has provided a sense of strength that I need. I have learned that as an artist, sometimes it is okay not to create and to have moments of doubt. The biggest lesson I have learned from being a professional artist is authenticity, staying true to yourself within your art will ultimately push you to create from your soul.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite places in the city to visit are Manhattan Beach, The Broad, and Leo’s Taco truck. I did not grow up near a beach so I try to take in as much of the beach as possible. Beach + Tacos = a great time. My favorite museum is The Broad, seeing so many Basquiat paintings is truly breathtaking and is my favorite place to take people who come to visit LA.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shout out my support system. Particularly, my mother has been the source of my strength and continues to encourage me to thrive during times when I feel like I am not enough. Even when there are a few sources of support, the ones who remain consistent and dedicated to your success are the ones that matter the most.

Website: https://destinitriley.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/destinitriley/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/destinitriley/

Image Credits
Matthew Romasanta (portrait)

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