Today we’d like to introduce you to Belina Wright.
Belina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
While in college studying to become an elementary teacher in 2002, I saw a woman promoting her painting instructional kits for beginners on television. I was intrigued and purchased her materials and began practicing. I practiced her techniques until I was able to create the images she could. I moved away from her technique and started experimenting on my own. I would paint everything- landscapes, florals, still life, realistic people, some abstract and faceless people. I was just trying to find myself and my signature style.
I remember praying and asking God for a style that was my own. I then realized that creating faceless, stylized people was the style that God had given me. They have become my signature pieces. I practiced painting for many more years and put the paintings away in my closets or in corners of my home. Friends and family saw my work and encouraged me to post them on Facebook. I was very intimidated because I had no formal training and feared my work would be criticized. Surprisingly, after posting some of my work, I received many positive comments. This encouraged me to continue posting. One day I got a comment asking if I sold my artwork. “Yes!” I said. It never occurred to me that someone would BUY my work. In 2011, I sold my first piece. In 2012 I began to officially sell my art online and I have been blessed to continue to sell my work ever since.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Growing my art business has not always been a smooth road but it has been a steady one. I’ve had struggles applying and getting rejected for an exhibition or gallery placement. I must admit, these seemingly constant rejections were disappointing, but instead of sulking, I began to research and figure out why I was getting rejected. I realized that I had to improve my skills. I read books, watched how-to videos of painting techniques. I painted with other painters and gleaned as much knowledge as I could from them. I am still practicing and studying to improve my craft. After gaining more knowledge, I began applying again and thankfully have had more acceptances than rejections. I am humbled and grateful.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a God-taught acrylic artist. I create paintings influenced by my Haitian and African-American heritage, which celebrates the beauty and culture of Haiti and people of color with their natural hair. What I am known for and what sets me apart is creating bright, colorful works of art with tall, faceless, stylized men and women. People have gravitated to my faceless images. I enjoy the process of creating these pieces. I am most proud of being one of the featured artists during two Miami Art Basel exhibitions with the Haitian Heritage Museum and Miami Urban Contemporary Experience in Little Haiti. I am also proud of being invited to exhibit my work at the Haitian Consulate in New York. Most recently, I am proud of my current exhibition with Jillian Marie Browning at Lake County Museum of Art entitled Diaspora-Our life experiences as Black Women.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
If you want to become an artist, just start! There are a lot of free and inexpensive resources online and at your local library to help you get started. After purchasing your art supplies, practice, practice practice! Follow artists you admire on social media and watch their techniques until you establish a style of your own. Find a mentor who will nurture you and give advice on how to improve your work. I wish I had a mentor to give me guidance at the beginning of my journey. Thankfully, I have been blessed with some wonderful mentors. Lastly, have fun creating!