Editor's Note: A Tweet from Notty Kearse, a person I've never met, appeared in my Twitter feed in July. Her fantastical creatures enticed me to visit her Instagram, then her website, and then I returned to the Tweet. Notty said that she is saving up to move out of a toxic environment through art sales. I couldn't think of a better way to execute my vision for Babe Roar than to purchase a handful of prints and spread her brand through a giveaway. So you might have seen her handle, seen the prints we gave away, or claimed a free one for yourself, but now you get to know a little more about her.
Q: Tell us about yourself as an artist. When did you start drawing/painting, what other kinds of art do you create, what kind of training/practice got you to where you are now?
A: I started taking interest in art when I was in first grade which was around 7 years old. I always drew girls using two colors to color them in and made them extremely cute. I kept drawing up until the 5th grade! During that time I would always draw my favorite teachers, pretty girls, houses and flowers. I stopped painting due to depression. Towards the end of 2016, I was able to buy one sketchbook, one Faber Castell Pen and the cheapest Prismacolor Pencils set and start drawing again. I drew every single day and everywhere I could. It really messed with my sleeping schedule and schoolwork, but I did not mind. It was an escape from my life.
I am a visual artist who mostly works with watercolor paints. I also paint digitally, and I am currently learning how to oil paint. I am at the skill level I am today because I study references of the human form. I practice drawing the body realistically and then stylize it. Studying the human body really helps you in the long run... instead of copying another artist's work! You will understand how everything functions.
Q: Who inspires you? Why?
A: Mostly mythology, anime and supernatural things inspire me. I always was interested in the unknown and the greek gods, I try to portray them through my work. I am more inspired by supernatural shows and beings, especially in anime.
Q: Are your creatures inspired by any specific influences?
A: Yes! Recently, I watched an anime called The Ancient Magus' Bride whose visual elements and characters absolutely inspire me. The color palette and creatures is what I loved about the anime. There was another artist who helped me understand what I want my art and creatures to be about. Unfortunately, I had to stop supporting that artist because they have said some pretty disgusting things.
Q: What does the world look like in which your fantastical creatures live?
A: I envision them in a lovely forest environment, the deep grayish-blue sea near a cave, a land ravaged by lava or a beautiful lake filled with lily pads and flowers.
Q: How do the intersections of your identity show up in your work?
A: I think it shows by the shape of my girls. I have noticed that I draw my girls' head shape like my head shape unintentionally. I really find that funny. I also think it shows through the emotions I put in the piece as well.
Q: What audience do you specifically want to speak to through your work? What do you want to communicate to them?
A: I want to target the 'outsiders'. I want to target an audience who loves and appreciate the unknown and the supernatural. I want to show that black women can be portrayed as supernatural beings. When people look at my work, they feel a sense of otherworldliness. I want to communicate that the feminine form is not something to be hidden or to be ashamed of. I want them to look at my pieces and escape the drags of everyday life and feel the lightness, softness or despair that I portray through my pieces.
Q: How do you hope your art makes people feel/think about?
A: I hope it makes them feel light and airy. I want them to look at my pieces and think "That's not normal. It is like a dream. I can feel the otherworldly vibe and the magic." But, I want them to formulate their own thoughts and feelings as well.
Q: Which is your favorite piece you’ve ever made? Why?
A: I can never have a favorite piece because almost all of my pieces are my favorite pieces. But, I really love my "Selina: Leader of the Fae" piece. The color palette was amazing. I really love how glassy I made her eye.
Q: What are your goals for your freelance work over the next year?
A: My goal is to make a decent income off of my work and to release some cute things that I cannot reveal! I also want to start going to cons, applying to art galleries, and have my own art show.
Q: Anything you want to plug or anything else you want to say?
A: Never give up! When I realized I wanted this to become my career, I put so much pressure on myself to hurry up and perfect my skills. When I could not perfect them as fast as I wanted,I would want to quit and give up. Don't put so much pressure on yourself and make sure to study anatomy! There are so many things I wish I could've done differently when I started taking my craft seriously, just make sure not to lose sight of why you wanted to do this in the first place.
Find more from Notty on her website.