You’ve heard it said here that goals are dreams with deadlines. Today I bring you an example of professional artist and designer Tomeka Atkinson, who put her God-given talent into action and the result has been success.
1. Tell us who you are and what you do as an artist/designer: My name is Tomeka Atkinson. I live in Brooklyn, NY originally from Goldsboro, NC; graduated from Goldsboro High School; attended Mount Olive College; Graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute……I’m a Visual Artist (painting is my first passion), Senior Graphic Designer for several companies, Creative Director of Kingdom House Youth Ministry, CEO of TA•Design Studio, and a self proclaimed Tutorial Queen.
2. Now tell us about your artistic/creative background: For as long as I can remember I’ve been heavily involved in the arts. My thoughts go as far back as Pre-K where I initially fell in love with finger-painting. I continued through elementary school taking art classes both in school at the local Boys & Girls Club. During my elementary school years I entered local and national art contests and won first place in most cases. This further fueled my desire to “do” art.
When I entered High School I kicked my creativity into high gear and produced the first, of what I think, was my greatest work. As my High School years were winding down, my art teacher/mentor Mr. Byron Jones took me under his wings and helped me prepare a solid portfolio. I honestly didn’t think that I could go to college to study art. Mr. Jones’ guidance helped me to see that it was VERY possible that I would be able too. By the time I graduated from High School I had received over $50,000 in art scholarships from Savannah College of Art and Design, Columbus College of Art and Design, and a scholarship to attend the 11 schools within the Art Institute system.
I decided instead to attend school in Mount Olive, NC at Mount Olive College. There I enrolled in the Visual Communications / Graphic Design program for 2 years. I quit school for a while and set my sites on Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where I have received my BFA in Communications Design with a Graphic Design emphasis.
3. Tomeka, your work is phenomenal! How challenging is it making a living using your talent? Working as an independent artist has its pros and cons. It has been equally rewarding and challenging. But what drives me is my passion and the vision I’ve always had about how far I want to go with my art.
4. Tomeka, I’m the dad to 3 very talented young ladies. Are there challenges in the industry unique to women? There are and there aren’t. I believe the design industry has come a long way with acknowledging the talent and skill of women and in particular African-American women, example: Carol H. Williams www.carolhwilliams.com
5. What role does God play in your life and in your work? After accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, at just 12 years of age, I’ve watched how God has guided my life through my work. I was raised in a single parent home and even-though it was hard for my Mom she always instilled in me the importance of going to college. I would have otherwise been a statistic had it not been for God’s guidance. He is the main reason why I’m an artist/designer today.
6. What advice can you give the rest of us? To follow your dreams because they’re mere glimpses of the path God wants to take your life. And although God never promises a smooth path He does promise that He’ll never leave you and will ALWAYS be with you in your journey. Stay the course, stay focused, and watch your dreams unfold before your eyes. Anything is possible and attainable!
7. What’s the latest project that you’re most excited about? I’m currently working on the rebranding and marketing of an amazing company in Rhode Island by the name of Big Picture Learning. This project is through a marketing class I’m taking at School of Visual Arts in NYC. I’ve been challenged, along with 15 other professional students, to rebrand, repackage, and revamp their entire marketing plan.
I’m also VERY excited about a new personal project that’s been brewing for a few years now. My friends blessed me with the title Tutorial Queen because I was always their go-to person for questions about how to use programs. So I took my passion for art along with my ability to teach and started The Tutorial Queen, www.youtube.com/1tutorialqueen, which is a YouTube channel where I publish tutorials and “how-to’s”.
Be sure to reach out to Tomeka or pass her info on to someone that can use her services: