Name: Shamora Merritt
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
College: Howard University
Graduate School: Wake Forest University
Occupation: Student and starving artist
1. Describe your job in three words: Which one? Both. Student: fun, brain-juice, inspiring. Starving artist: Creative, healing, life-out-loud
2. They say every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when we grow up. How did you remain one? Well I had the benefit of people around me encouraging me to do art. I used to compete with my dad on whose drawing was better. Fun times. Art was one of my hobbies from the beginning. I did it all the time and as I grew up I just kept at it. The thing about art is there is no right or wrong way of doing it. However a shortcoming in the psyche of people is to always compare and judge other people’s creations. I chose not to let others judgements stifle my ideas, and only allowed the encouraging voices to reach my spirit
3. Show me your favorite creation. Then tell me why it’s your favorite
This was a self-portrait. It was oil on canvas. I love this painting because one-it was my first time painting with oils exemplifying my quest to explore all mediums and take chances. Two-it’s totally me. Bright, quirky, naturally me. It’s who I am and what I want to emit to the world: big smiles, bright personality, individualistic, fire! Do you have the actual photo?
This painting was the beginning of my “new style” where I was trying to explore different and more interesting ways to represent the ideas I have in my head. This is collage (acrylic on canvas and wood). I am really inspired by beautiful women so I wanted to paint a confident natural goddess who is filled with the joy of life
4. When schools have budget cuts, art is the first thing to go. Pretend you are an art teacher, make a case to your principal assuming he/she has the last word. The benefits of art…
1. Resilience. In the face of challenge, children are better able to cope because of the ability to create and take chances
2. Creativity. Creativity encourages children to be their authentic self and create who they are
3. Exploration. Inquisitive minds are nurtured through art, where they can explore who they are, and what the visual aspect of life is
4. Visual Learners. Art is great for visual and action learners-learning styles that are mostly ignored in the traditional school setting. This encourages equality to learn and succeed
5. Healing. Art is a language, especially for those who cannot or won’t express themselves verbally
6. Fun. Art is fun. Every child’s deserves the opportunity to learn something fun, that is also fundamental to their growth
To erase art is to erase the color in the world. And last time I checked we don’t live in a “grayscale” existence
5. What’s your heart’s desire at this very moment? To give every child, adults too, the opportunity and encouragement to explore and create who they are through art. I desire to create an organization that travels both nationally and internationally to communities and introduces art that inspires and encourages progress
6. What is a mistake you were glad you made? I was in a really bad car accident. The mistake was that I chose to stay out really late with friends which resulted in both my friend and I being too sleepy to drive, but still deciding to drive home. Result. Wheelchair and crutches bound for three months. I had to miss the first semester of my college experience, but it was all good. During my healing process I decided to paint all the time-I low key became a wino. It made being in a wheel chair a lil more fun! (Laughs) But painting all the time inspired me to start my art business which I named BE YOU DESIGNS. I used this business to paint and create while in school-side hustle
7. I was thinking about this the other day. If you were a cereal, what would you be? Can I invent one? Like combine two? Such an artist response. Sure! Granola and fruit loops clusters! Stuck together with honey. It’s a nice balance. Granola is the foundation. Health and nutrition, but the fruit loops add the excitement and color! Oh and I would totally use almond milk!
8. You find yourself asking this question a lot: If I were on a deserted island, what three things would I bring? I ask others this question all the time too.
9. Thanks for the alley-oop. If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you bring? Ok. I would bring a guide to edible plants, a knife and my glasses. I dare not be like that girl who wore her contacts for six months then went blind. Did that really happen? I’ve done like a month.Yes it happened. Don’t do it. This girl wore hers for six months and the bacteria on her lens starting eating away at her eyes
10. In ten years you will be…in ten years I will be living in an exotic place with my family, husband and three kids, and other fabulous additions- whatever family and friend that wants to join the easy living clan. With my non-profit established and a successful business for affordable travel and exploration all the time! The book “4 hour workweek” is def preaching to me
Want to see more of Shamora? Check out her blog here!