HHD: When did you know that art would be your means of expression and what led you to that point?
SBA: You know what? When I was in grade school I used to doodle all the time. No other courses interested me. I wold find myself doodling in other classes that wasn’t art. I think my sophomore year I had entered into a contest. This higher-end mall, they were having an art contest. They entered my work, the school did. I took third place. But, I placed! I think that point right there let me know that I had something. When I started working, I remember I was at the post office. This phrase, it was a Pepsi commrcial when it came out, was ‘You got the right one baby.’ I remember I made me a t-shirt with the Pepsi can and I put on the legs with shoes on it. Pepsi was my favorite brand of pop. So, when I wore it to work everyone was like ‘Oh my God! Who made that? I said, ‘ I made that.’ They said, ‘You did? Okay, I want one.’ I think that gave me my niche right there. It seemed like everybody loved everything I did.
HHD: What would you say is the power of art?
SBA: It’s one thing to be able to draw. It’s something on a higher scale to be able to capture someone. That’s why art and photography is so important. You have to be able to capture that moment because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
HHD: What led you to develop the portraits on mirrors concept? What is your process for creating them?
SBA: I was at work at the post office and I hated my job. It was great but it was a mindless job. I loved to paint and I loved to draw. I prayed and I said, ‘Lord give me something that will separate me from your everyday artist.’ And the Lord gave me this vision that said paint on mirrors.
HHD: How do you see art tying into hip hop culture?
SBA: Because everyone needs an artist to even design thir logo or to design their clothes. Art really gives color to the world. Art gives life. Art is life.
HHD: Who do you think have been hip hop’s greatest contributors and why?
SBA: I hear Russell Simmons, him and his brother, kind of layed the foundation.
HHD: Are there any hip hop artists you would like to create art for?
SBA: Whomever has a contributing factor to building history. I don’t have a favorite at this point because I love everybody and I think everybody has a story.
HHD: Are there any upcoming projects that you have that we can be on the lookout for?
SBA: I have an event with Clay Johnson. He’s an ex-Laker. This is his third year trying to bring awareness to the youth. He’s trying to raise money to build a center for the kids. I’m going to do a nice, unveiling piece. I’m going to do another piece that’s going to be auctioned off.
HHD: When is the event?
SBA: It’s in the early part of September.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
SBA: If I were to describe myself I would say a female creator who’s a go-getter. When he odds are against her she just keeps going and keeps persisting. She commands, not demands, but commands through her persona, through her self-esteem, respect. Just being a female. A woman of stength and determination.
Check out Shanise Brown-Abrought and her artwork at www.artbyshanise.weebly.com.
Check out THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM’s feature article on the Spotlight on Hip Hop Diva Shanise Brown-Abrought page.