We had the good fortune of connecting with Imani Parker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Imani, what principle do you value most?
The most important principle that I hold within my brand is transparency. It is important to me as an artist that my work be relatable and honest, especially for the communities I represent in my art. My art highlights the beauty in everyday life, and in turn is appreciated more for its honesty and transparency. As an entrepreneur in today’s world, I also believe in being transparent with my supporters on the importance of maintaining a healthy work life balance, and not sacrificing mental health for social media or anything else.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While art has always been a part of my life in some aspect, I did not realize my potential in it until after I had my son. I was a teenage mother and freshly enrolled in classes at my local community college, I began drawing as a pastime during my five-hour long anatomy classes. As I drew more and more others started to notice then request custom pieces which I often did for free. I began painting shortly after and just as before people started to notice and request my work. I worked at a steady pace building the foundational skills for my work. I taught myself how to sketch, paint, and use epoxy resin to create art. Fast forward to 2020 the pandemic put my business into overdrive and put the foundation I built to the ultimate test. I was able to grow my platform tenfold while also using my art to tell a story about me, my city, & my people. Most notably, my pieces regarding the Black Lives Matter movement were used as physical symbols of the emotion and passion throughout the movement. I had the pleasure of having a few of these pieces featuring in a collective by a local museum and sent off to family members of those lost to the movement.
Being a young mother and artist entrepreneur has not always been an easy job but I’ve always been determined to make it work. I often tell people jokingly that I’ve done some of my best work with my son’s feet pressed into my back but it’s not really a joke. Since I don’t have formal art training I had to wing it and take a learn as I go approach many times during my journey before I got the hang of things. I didn’t have the connections and general sense of belonging that most who have formal training possess. I actually did not even refer to myself as an artist for the first two years of my journey because I did not feel worthy enough to stand next to those who had been trained. One of my goals as an artist is to create a community for local artists new & experienced to connect, share advice, & connections. My ultimate goal is to paint a series of murals across Los Angeles highlighting black beauty, endurance, and strength.
What separates my art from the rest is that I primarily use acrylic paints in my work and complete all pieces using miniature brushes to capture all details and aid in blending. As an Artist, I draw content from the beauty around me including LA culture, black & brown skin, the Black Lives Matter movement, and golden vibes. I believe that my purpose as an artist is to inspire my community and similar community across the world to find their inner beauty and in turn spark confidence. My art is meant to be uplifting for everyone who consumes it.
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?
If I were giving someone the ultimate tour of LA, I would start by having brunch & mimosas at my favorite breakfast spot, the coffee company. From there we’d stop at Fox Hills Mall to cool off and do a little shopping. After that we’d head to Venice beach, since I love the water, and walk around eating junk food and enjoying the vibes. I’d finish the day off by grabbing an oxtail plate from my favorite Jamaican food spot Little Kingston. LA has so much to offer and so many hidden gems that we could have the same fun at different places everyday.
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?
A big part of my success is credited to my son for motivating me to pursue art at all to begin with, and pushing me to keep going throughout every road block. He’s only four years old, but he compliments every piece I do and proudly tells people that his mother is an artist every chance he gets. His support has been so important in my journey and has motivated me to achieve more for the both of us.