Imani | CEO | Writer | Sketch Artist | Creative
During your youth, did creativity seek you out or did you sought it out yourself?
It was always there. My mother always kept all types of art supplies around her. She was actually one of my teachers at one point. I went to an African-centered school and we had awesome art programs where we learned about the art of animation. I've dabbled in a bit of everything when I was younger, but when I got into writing, art made it possible for me to write. I didn't grow up where I was only handed Barbie dolls. My parents introduced me to different ways of freeing myself through art and writing.
What was that definitive moment when you finally came into your own as a creator?
When I was younger, my brothers and I would play with LEGOS. When we played, we would create little houses, and it got to the point where we started color coordinating our pieces and made sure the sizes were exactly the same. We were very intricate with LEGO building. [Laughs] We did that for a long time, but at that time, that's when I felt like I became a creator.
AOMarkerLove.com is your website dedicated to music, art, food, culture, etc. What did the blueprint look like prior to completion?
AO itself was a clothing line that my friend and I were in the process of making. It wasn't AOMarkerLove at all. It was just AO. When I got into school, my English professor pushed me, so it went from being an online journal to this big thing that I wasn't expecting. I didn't know how all of this s— went anyway, but I decided to just go for it. I bought my domain name four years ago, and from there, I started using AOMarkerLove three years ago.
Various outlets and people in other regions are always complementing you on the articles that you present on AOMarkerLove.com. How do you stay in an inspiring place to keep creating on a weekly basis?
You have to make certain things accessible for yourself at all times. Sometimes, I'll have my days where I'm not inspired and nothing is coming out which is why I don't force myself to write. I hate forced writing, so that's why I still have things that I love to do. When I'm not inspired to write, I direct my attention to other things. I'll cook, go to the park, or go out for food because those are the things that make me feel good. I still have a 9 to 5, and it tends to be a lot of s— going on so if I were to force my writing, I would be stressed. I don't want to be stressed with something that I love to do. I do other things so I can continue to put out happy stories.
All artists tend to stumble upon the blocks of creativity. Talk to me about some of the tools that you use in order to break those blocks where you feel as if nothing is coming through?
When I have writer's block, I divert to writing for myself which is why I keep a journal. I tend to write about my dreams because I've seen them, so I want to put them on paper. I always find myself writing about something. Then, once I get into a nice rhythm, I can switch back over to writing articles.
What do want readers to gain from AOMarkerLove.com?
With AO, I want people to understand that it's okay to promote local artists. People stray away from it because they feel that they aren't going to get enough views or clicks, but at the end of they day, we're all up and coming. Why not put somebody on that's working hard? It's all about recognizing people's potential and writing about it and that's what AOMarkerLove is going to continue to do.