We had the good fortune of connecting with Reva Santo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Reva, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I am the founder and co director of Honey and Smoke — a global artist community and platform that creates space for artists to meditate on the important themes of our time. We operate through themed seasons and create digital and physical spaces for artists to intentionally engage with the world. In starting Honey & Smoke, I was thinking about all of the main issues I have personally faced as an artist—I was seeking solutions. I felt frustrated by what felt like an incredibly flawed creative ecosystem, one which exploits artists, places them in perpetual competition with one another, and doesn’t provide them with basic needs and support. I saw that so many people were fixated on building clout in order to find financial stability. It seemed to me that this was pulling artists further and further away from their true purpose, and away from art’s potential to transform our world. I was desiring grounded and intentional creative spaces that could reach across borders and connect me with artists of a similar ethos all over the globe. I saw and felt the need within myself, and knew that with the right team we could do something to change that. So far, all we’ve created with Honey & Smoke has done just that.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am learning that I have a special skill for diving deep into places of discomfort in order to create true, deep healing. My art is a space where I have been able to work through personal, collective, and ancestral traumas with a lens of hope and sweetness. I am at a point in my creative practice where I am learning about what I truly desire to see in the world, and the ways I long to be a part of our co-liberation. I feel excited about what is to come, and know that the more I invest in my own tenderness, the more I can offer to the communities that I care for. I got to where I am today as a result of many strong friendships, and a deep inner drive to create a good and authentic life for myself. It has been absolutely difficult… I have found that people (especially within the film and music industries) are really quick to project their fears or failures onto you. This has forced me to find a strong anchor within myself, and to be selective about my inner circle. If I am internally resilient, and surrounded by people who truly have my best interest at heart, then I am able to confront challenges with grace. I hope that my story gives people permission to lean into their deeper desires and trust that internal voice and vision even when other folks don’t understand it. If anything, I hope that my art and my presence empowers people to be true, vulnerable, and strong.

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?
I would definitely take them to Kenneth Hahn park to see a view of the whole city. We might grab a fruit cup from one of the local vendors and enjoy a nice walk. We would check out the Hollywood farmers market and cook a meal at a friend’s house. I would send them to the family spot (of course), Brasil Brasil Cultural Center, to take a dance class or a capoeira class. I’d take them to drink Mayan hot chocolate next door at Choco Vivo, or to ice cream at Ginger’s. I’m pretty much an extroverted introvert, so on the *rare* chance that we’re feeling up for going out, we could check out some live music in Leimert Park, at Grand Performances, or head to one of the many pop-up events happening anywhere in the city.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have so many people to thank on my journey—primarily my family for being the birthplace of my creative expression. Coming from a family of artists, I always had a beautiful example of what the arts can do and learned to fold that into my own life with ease. They always surrounded me with support around my curiosities and my crafts and gave me full permission to be an artist. I never felt like being an artist was an unreasonable life choice, and this built in me a strong sense of inner power and self-worth that has anchored me through so many other turbulent life waves. Most recently, I have to give a shoutout to ZEAL—a black owned artist co-op which has taught me the true meaning of building and growing together. ZEAL has given me hope that artists can evolve into healthy ecosystems and more interconnected ways of being. One of ZEAL’s co-founders Allen Kwabena, has become a mentor and colleague. I know I can always turn to Allen for knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration.

Website: www.revasanto.com

Instagram: instagram.com/revasanto

Twitter: twitter.com/reva_spirit

Other: https://vimeo.com/revaaisha www.instagram.com/_honeyandsmoke_

Image Credits
(Wishes for Mom Still: Director of Photography Ava Rikki) (Trust Issues Still: Director of Photography Ava Rikki) (EP COVER ART: Photo by Daion Chesney, Design by Frederick McNeill) Zoom Screen shot from Honey & Smoke workshop Honey & Smoke Logo design by Eilen Itzel Mena All other images are self portraits or shot by Reva Santo

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