Our new featured artist is here to represent his town in Norfolk, Virginia. He started at a young age of 12 and there is no doubt that he has become this savant in the world of visual arts. This young man decided to take his talent to the next level that he pursued a Master's Degree in Fine Arts. Get familiar now with Mensah Bey, as he is about to become a household name in the industry of arts, specifically creating murals and sophisticated paintings.
Mensah is now 30 years old and he plans to continue with this passion that was flamed ever since his dad inspired him to be an artist. Ladies and gents, show some love to this incredibly talented individual, as he pours out his secrets, inspiration, and motivation behind his works through this interview he has allowed us to have with him.
APA: What is the root/birth/foundation of your creativity… how did you get started?
Mensah: My father. He was the first artist I knew and he always had drawing books and such around for my siblings and me to practice with. From then on I would just draw all of the time and took art classes in my middle and high school years. Once I pursued my Master’s of Fine Arts Degree I knew I had skin in the game. The way I came to understand art the role of art took a huge leap as I honed in on my studies of art history and contemporary art.
APA: What legacy do you want to leave?
Mensah: I want my works to speak for my diligence and willingness to perfect my creative processes. I want my journey to be tangible enough for others to follow as they learn about my art and the environments from which I developed.
APA: What do you want people to obtain when they look at your work?
Mensah: The inspiration to create and discover/pursue their own passions.
APA: What do you think your purpose is?
Mensah: I believe my purpose is to be an example for others who pursue the arts. The field is varied and ways to achieve success are plentiful. I hope to be able to provide some of those opportunities for others while exploring my artistic career.
APA: What is your workflow? What is your creative process from start to finish?
Mensah: Deep observation on a given subject will lead to research to gain an understanding of what those observations mean. From there it’s a matter of applying my studies in art to determine the best way to communicate my works with my chosen mediums. I tend to begin with choosing a color palette, doing sketches to test color and composition. I will then begin working on the final piece stopping between each layer in order to get a read for the flow of the work. Once all of the elements are applied I will leave the work alone for a while before coming back to it and determining what the finished product should look like and if it is communicating that or not.
APA: What is your opinion of art in the 21st century?
Mensah: It is explosive. The deeper I study the more passionate and inspired I become. Artists are creating such amazing works using new media and investigating their environments fully.
APA: What advice would you give to other inspiring artists?
Mensah: Create, Continue to create on all levels. Many serious artists seek a unique style and it will only come through continuous creating and critiquing. You will know once you have broken past that first barrier and discovered an artistic style that speaks to your experience.
APA: In the next decade what do you wish to accomplish with your creative gifts?
Mensah: I aspire to expand my reach nationally and internationally. I am inspired by the subtle changes in cultures from one area to the next and learning how to implement that in my work. By having a more global view I believe I will have more to offer the next generation of artists.
APA: What most often inspires your work?
Mensah: I’m often inspired by people’s interaction with social media. In my figurative work it’s about how people perceive themselves and express it through images on social media. I am always looking to gain a sense of peoples inner self that seeps out into the virtual realm.
APA: What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Mensah: Defining your path. It takes a lot of investigation and participating to discover what it is that you want to do with your art. So many journeys run parallel and so it can be difficult finding that unique direction you want to go. Materials can cost quite a bit too.
APA: What is the best part about creating art?
Mensah: The creating part.
APA: What do you wish you knew about the art business before you got started?
Mensah: I partly wish I knew about having to operate as a business as you gain success or acquire contracts and commissions. That also could have stunted my growth artistically if I were to focus too much energy on the business.
APA: What do you believe is essential in creating a powerful work of art?
Mensah: Deep explorations into one’s medium or material and how it will be used to communicate the subject of the work.
APA: If you could hang out with one artist, living or dead, who would that be?
Mensah: Currently, I would say Kerry James Marshall. He was a student of one of my favorite artists Charles White and his commentary on the African-American experience is one of the most powerful that I have seen since learning about him.
APA: It’s a random day 10 years ago, what were you creating?
Mensah: Likely, a self-portrait. That’s how I begin almost any new series that include figures.
APA: Would you rather create 1000 average pieces that all become a great body of work or 1 amazing groundbreaking masterpiece? Why?
Mensah: 1000 average pieces. I believe that with that much work, a masterpiece will exist among them and will have a greater reach. One piece doesn’t speak to an artist’s years of studying. I would be more interested in people knowing the storyline that led me to my final works so that others can see what it takes to get to that point.
APA: If you could switch lives with an artist in history for one day, who would it be?
Mensah: Aaron Douglas. His work studied the relationship between Africa and the African-American experience. I would love to exist in his mind for a day and soak up his creative process.
Follow Mensah on all of his social media linked below. You can also visit his website to know more about his latest releases and other updates.
•Facebook: M.Bey Arts