Thanks to a micro-grant from #TakingItGlobal, Design with Colour was able to commission a new feature image. We searched specifically for a Black artist beginning their career and were super excited to work with Rebecca Deresse. Taking inspiration from Afrofuturism and science fiction, we dreamed up a vision for Design with Colour that drew from different realms of black identity. Read the interview with Rebecca below, and be sure to check out her work on Instagram @showknight_ !
Tell us a bit about your cultural heritage and how it impacts your art. What made you pursue art, and where are you at in your career?
I’m first generation Ethiopian Canadian. Growing up, I felt a strong sense of community and belonging within that community, so it definitely informs some aspects of my art. I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist growing up. I used to draw constantly and create make believe worlds. I didn’t think I had enough skill to do it as a career until the end of high school when I applied to a few art schools. Currently, I just wrapped up my second year in my Honours Bachelor of Illustration at Sheridan College,
What strategies do you use to focus and motivate yourself while you are working?
One of the most helpful things I’ve learnt during art school is how to draw even when I’m not feeling particularly excited or motivated. I struggle a lot with my mood and feelings of productivity, so getting in the mindset that finishing something is better than nothing is helpful. Also making sure I have an identity outside of my artwork has helped me a lot.
What are some works of art that have inspired you recently?
Recently, the Illustration graduates from Sheridan debuted their graduation show, and it was honestly so inspiring to see the level of work and talent coming out of my community. I’m endlessly inspired by my peers, the natural world, and film and tv. Right now, I’m super enamoured with black girls and fun makeup looks!
Do you have any advice for artistic/creative students navigating the education system (high school/college/uni)?
My biggest piece of advice is to be gentle with yourself. You are a person and deserve to sleep, eat, and rest. Making art is a lot of work, but I find it’s easier when I’m healthy and happy.