As an artist and illustrator, Keturah BoBo believes it is her duty to make art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for my community. I caught up with the artist also known as Ariel and we discussed her biggest accomplishments as an artpreneur and what we can expect from her this year.
Keturah Bobo | Entrepreneur, Illustrator
How long have you been an “artentreprenuer” and illustrator? What inspires you the most?
KB: “My business became official in 2012, but I’ve been selling my art since I was 6 years old or so. I used to draw Looney Tune characters and sell them to my classmates for like 25 cents lol. I am inspired most by everyday life, people, and more specifically the black experience.”
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in running a creative business?
KB: “Having a support system is key…family and people you can trust to help everything run smoothly is by far the greatest asset to any business owner. Shout out my Momager, Patricia Bobo! lol”
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
KB: “Making mistakes are the risks you take everyday on the road to success. You have to be willing to make mistakes and to forgive yourself in doing so. I’ve made many mistakes, but there’s always something to be learned and corrected moving forward. You have to be willing to embrace all aspects of the journey even the parts that can viewed as failures.”
Tell us about the book cover you just created, I am Enough. What was your vision for your book?
KB: “Her expression exudes confidence. It was really important that the girl on the cover be seen as powerful yet relatable to everyone who encounters her. There’s something so aesthetically pleasing about large afro’s, they’re definitely a reoccurring theme in my work. I love that my first published book has a dark skin girl with a large afro on the cover. I think that’s so uplifting to little black girls all over the world.”
What is your biggest goal this year?
KB: “To create my own body of work and then exhibit it in 2020. Last year I was working on 3 children’s books simultaneously and it was extremely overwhelming. I had zero time to do anything else at times. So this year I would like to have some fun diving back into painting large scale pieces in my art studio.”
If you had 3 extra hours in a day, what would you do with them?
KB: “My first reaction is to say that I would sleep more lol, but I would probably be working more, spending more time with family or friends.”
Who are some illustrators/artists that you love?
KB: “Mikalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, Shepard Fairy. All for different reasons, but they’re all amazing to me in their own way.”
What does your art represent?
KB: Optimism. To further humanize the black experience, it’s time for us to be recognized as the powerful, magical, amazing people we that we are. At least that’s what I want it to represent, but with any art form it’s up to interpretation and I’m okay with that.”
What is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired or in a creative rut?
KB: “Watch a movie, listen to music, live life, and continue to create something even if I don’t like where it’s headed. There’s been times where I have taken a break from creating personal work, but I still did commissioned pieces. So I’ve literally been making art non-stop since I’ve been alive LOL.”
What did you want to be as a child?
KB: “Exactly what I am now. A working artist who successfully lives in my purpose. I’m extremely blessed and thankful to be in this place in my life. The journey wasn’t easy but it’s more than worth it.”
About Keturah Bobo
Keturah A. Bobo is an Ohio native and a BFA graduate from the Columbus College of Art and Design. “As an artist,” she says, “it is my duty to make art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for my community. Nothing is more important in my art than this.” Keturah is known for creating vibrant images that are relatable and distinguishable. Her first picture book, I Am Enough by Grace Byers, is a New York Times Bestseller.
List of books:
- The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah (all illustrations) – Dial Books, Penquin Young Readers Group, released July 2019
- A is for All the Things You Are by Anna Forgerson Hindley (all illustrations) – National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Books, released April 2019
- 2nd book by Grace Byers (all illustrations) – Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins, released spring 2020