Kahdija Murray

:: AGE

25

:: LOCATION

Los Angeles, California, USA

:: MEDIUM

Graphite or charcoal on drawing paper, colored applied through Raster Graphics Editing programs such as Photoshop, or Paint Tool SAI

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Black, lesbian, genderfluid, woman who embraces pacifism and spiritualism

 

As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

Creation is the only solution to stagnation, and expression is a way to combat repression. As a racial, cultural, and sexual minority, oppression and repression are constant barricades I face. Creation and expression are ways to break the bondage often put upon women, minorities, and anyone else living on the fringe. Creating is my protest, and my voice.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

My proudest moment was the completion of one of my favorite works, Luna Sol. Typically I would name receiving my Bachelors in Fine Art and Illustration, being placed in my university’s spring show, or being a participant at an Eagle Rock Hub for Arts & Culture exhibit as my finest moment as an artist, but finishing a recent painting takes place above all others. The painting pushed me towards an inner realization that art is a journey more than it ever is a finished product. This realization helped me release many fears I had towards my artistic expression, career, and future. By looking at life as a journey instead of an end goal, I’ve learned to relish in the present and take the struggles with the accomplishments.

How do you define love?

Love is acceptance, understanding, divine connection, and a pure energy that we can use to change the world. Love is the opposite of indifference, apathy, and dismissal. Love is what I wish to give and receive.

Describe the space that you like to create in?

Ideally, I like to create in an organized, comfortable space that I have full control over. I like to work to music with many inspiring references on hand and all my favorite tools within arm’s reach.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

My musical tastes vary from day to day, so what I listen to is often reflective of my general mood in the moment. Right now I’m into Flying Lotus, SZA, Banks, and Kelela. Yesterday I was listening to Fleetwood Mac, Minnie Riperton, Pink Floyd and Fleet Foxes. Tomorrow I may be in the mood for Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, Outkast or Mos Def. My mood (and the piece itself) dictates the soundtrack.

What is your earliest memory of making art?

My first memory of making art was a sequential series of paintings done on newsprint and craft acrylic paint. I was no older than five. The paintings were about the death of a man and the destination of his soul. I’m still not sure where I was channeling the story, but I remember specifically brushing red acrylic into the shape of a telephone, held to the head of one of the characters that I haphazardly painted.

Do you have any words of advice for young womxn/artist/creators out there?

Just create. Ignore establishments and accept advice at your own risk. Look inward, not outward. Figure out what makes you you, and deliver it to the world. The rewards will come later. Be you without apologies and express without abandon.

What social issues do you care about most?

Human trafficking, gender equality, stopping corporate greed, endorsing body positivity, freedom of expression, and stopping racism.

What could you not live without?

Music! I’m that girl who always has in headphones. I couldn’t imagine a world without music. I would definitely sing to myself like a madman.  

How do you make time to create?

I’ve been creating all my life. I convinced myself that making money was paramount to making art and had no vision of making monetary gains from my work, despite spending five years in art school. I’ve operated from this outlook until all work unrelated from my art fell away through my bidding or otherwise. The universe made it a point to take away everything else so all I had time to do was create. So currently, I have no need to make time. Creating is all I do.

How does your mental health affect your work?

My mental health steers the execution of my artwork. Sometimes it creates blocks, sometimes it forces me to work much slowly. Other times it fuels my visions and uplifts my work. The results are varied.

Who are your influences/inspirations?

My grandmother, Grace Jones, Nina Simone, Basquiat, Frida, Meshell Ndegeocello, Angela Davis, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

What message do you want to spread with your art?

There is undeniable strength within the divine feminine. Beauty is what you make of it. We all deserve love.

Kahdija, your drawings are fearless, pure energy. We love how you use art to look inward and share the deepest parts of yourself. Thank you for all that you create and for continuing to uplift the divine feminine in all of us.