It Girl | SADÉ BEASLEY
I saw Sadé's work at BYOB Retreat in Washington D.C. and was completely blown away. Her portraits illustrate beautiful blackness in a way that reminds me of Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley's work and I am so excited to see what the future holds for her. I am also beyond excited to own my own Sadé Beasley and make Jay-Z proud. :)
Name: Sadé Beasley
Job Title/Company: Artist / Sadé Beasley Studio
Education Background: Portland State University, Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration: Management and Leadership
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I am a first-generation student and recent graduate of Portland State University. I see myself as a go-getter and hustler who knows what I want out of life. I follow an untraditional career path in that I am actively pursuing bioinformatics and art - currently I am a research intern with Oregon Health and Science University Center for Health Systems Effectiveness. I am using a grant through the National Institutes of Health to examine racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare, in Oregon’s Medicaid program. More specifically I am researching substance use disorder treatment and related issues among different racial-ethnic groups in Oregon. I use programming, statistics, data-analysis, and policy research in my work. I plan to enroll next Spring at Oregon State University to receive my second bachelor degree in Computer Science.
On the other end of the spectrum, I am a practicing artist. I’ve been working on my craft for a little over a year and work with acrylic and various mediums and tools on canvas. I create original artwork, produce fine art prints, have worked on some amazing commissions - both business and personal, small and large scale murals, gallery exhibitions, and artist residencies. I am a frequent vendor of about four different events per month.
2. What sparked your interest in your work?
The spark was a form of healing by painting to cope with adversity and trauma. I often paint to tell the story of my life as well as my younger sisters, such as Tatyana’s Dream and my Faith series.
It is my mission to create a dialogue around the aesthetic and importance of black women. Through my art practice I get to create beautiful work that’s self-healing, while for others it may be the same, finding representation, or sharing in the affirmation of one's beauty.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
I am most influenced by Arvie Smith, Kehinde Wiley, and Kerry James Marshall. I love their different portraiture styles as well as how they convey our community - specifically black women.
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
The first job I had was working in a retirement home as a janitor. I was a Freshman in high school, worked 20 hours a week, and made $50 at the end of every week. I kept that job for about three months.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
My proudest achievement - hmm, would have to be growing and nurturing my relationship with my current boyfriend of 4 years. I believe every woman needs that special partner to explore and enjoy life with. He brings out the best in me, and I as him. We had our first trip together to D.C. for the BYOB Retreat where we packaged and did inventory for over 300 fine art prints before vending that morning. It was a major success and I can’t thank him enough for being by my side.
6. If you are side hustling, tell us about your full-time job.
I am currently working full-time as a research intern at OHSU, which I talked about briefly on question 1. During the evenings and weekends I work on my art practice. I end my internship August 10, 2018 and will be diligently focusing on my practice for a few vending opportunities out of state. Next Spring I will be pursuing my second bachelor degree in Computer Science full-time while continuing to work on my art practice.
7. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
My initial goal was to support myself on my artwork. I have come to realize that my initial goal didn’t satisfy me long-term. The goals I have for my art practice now is to actively heal and reflect through my work, impact non-profits financially through donation, engage in community healing by hosting workshops for at-risk children, and to vocalize the importance and beauty of the black woman by showcasing my work throughout Oregon and the U.S.
8. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned through your experience as an artist and entrepreneur?
Your work should always be benefiting and helping others - It will fulfill your purpose and gifts the most.
9. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to have my master degree in Clinical Research and Public Health Informatics from Columbia University and working on research that will impact healthcare and policy that affects marginalized communities. I hope to be collaborating with Oprah on a mental health campaign and being sought out internationally to donate my work towards causes that impact the black community.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
6:00am - 7:00am Get up and get ready for work
8:00am - 5:00pm Research Internship OHSU
6:00pm - 11:00pm Art practice (painting, commissions, prepping, etc.)
I somehow fit eating at least two meals a day and training for a 10k twice a week in there.
11. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
An ongoing obstacle I face is feeling like I need to decide between my career choices. While I have a supportive partner, my schedule can get hectic and I don’t always like our relationship in work mode.
12. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
“Price your work higher.” I’ve been told this numerous times. Believe it or not, I use to sell my work for almost nothing - one time I got an order for Christmas, I put so much into packaging, shipping, and making sure the customer was satisfied that I lost out on $40. Over time, I have become more efficient and have come to understand my worth.
13. When do you get your best ideas?
When I am going through stress or troubled by something. Last piece I completed is called Headspace. It was my reaction to “This is America” by Childish Gambino and Kanye saying slavery was a choice. During that time I was frustrated by how the black community deals with more stress than other communities as well as the audacity of Kanye.
14. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
Man ya’ll, I failed so hard during this time earlier in my art practice. I had this artist I looked up to - John Born, loved his style, work, and hustle. He was putting on a show in Las Vegas and I knew I just had to be apart of it. Long story short, I paid the almost $300 vending fee and booked a flight and hotel for Nevada. I was so disappointed that night. I ended up in a dingy non-lit strip club as the venue. None of my work sold. John Born didn’t even follow up with a phone call he promised after I told him of my disappointment that night. That was after I gifted him with one of my pieces!
The lesson I learned is to research your opportunities thoroughly before you shell out $$$. Also, don’t let art sales affect your creation - that failure crushed me for some time, months. Who knows what I would have created during that time of sulking and disappointment.
15. How do you unwind?
I unwind through my art practice. I also enjoy deep breathing, journaling/goal setting/reflection time as well as traveling to the coast and being next to the ocean.
16. What would you tell someone else who is interested in entering your field?
Find your subject and stick with it - become the best at that and refine your niche. Also, network, network, network, and then network some more, you never know who knows who, which could get your work in front of some amazing people.
17. What do you hope people take away from your story?
The biggest obstacle your going through can become something most beautiful. If I didn’t have the trials and tribulations I went through, I don’t think I would have created the art practice I have for myself today.
18. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Original series of 4, 5 series book cover commission, 8x8 mural panel for Black United Fund Oregon, and few collaborations, and several vending opportunities during the month of June.