Artist at Work: Keturah Ariel
“An artist is someone who is passionate about their craft and patient with themselves in their process of creation.”
Keturah Ariel Nailah Bobo considers herself a true artist. Growing up, she was home-schooled by her mother, who also encouraged her love of art. The visual artist/designer, hailing from the Midwest, has painted for over 12 years and continues to create. “I feel most people are born with the inclination to make things, but most don’t have the discipline or patience to do it. And yes, I am an artist through and through”, Keturah said.
“My mom went to art school and always nurtured my love for art by getting me involved in various things and encouraging me to go to art school.” Keturah graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design, began working in the commercial art field and hated it. “It was my first time working a regular 9-5 and it was the definition of struggle”, said Keturah. She knew she would quit, but did not know when. After a year of working the “struggle job”, she quit.
“I was able to quit because my freelance projects had completely taken over my life and I wasn’t sleeping at night. I also received two long term contracts that paid really well.”
Throughout Keturah’s artistic career, her family has been very supportive of her endeavors. Ariel Brands is a family business and they all work together successfully. “My family is very eccentric and unique, so they’re all very happy that I am able to follow my passion.”
Keturah follows her passion, drawing and painting every day. “I have 3-4 sketch books that I randomly doodle in, and sometimes these doodles turn into full-blown paintings that I sell on the website as posters.” She uses a variety of creative processes when drawing and painting, but says that everything begins with a sketch.
Some of her most powerful artwork has included men and women with natural hair. Keturah loves natural hair because of its powerful effects. “It’s powerful and revolutionary, not to mention aesthetically breathtaking and gorgeous.”
Her art pieces/collections are amazing, but sometimes Keturah may want to alter the original. “A painting is never finished in my eyes, if I stare at anything I’ve done long enough…I’ll always think of ways it could’ve been better.”
Her artwork also invites viewers to create their own interpretations. As far as the stories behind her artwork, Keturah said,
“Self-Preservation is one people often ask me about because the message is unclear. The painting was inspired by the year I created it. I felt like everyone and their mom was trying to get my attention, trying to get a piece of me…but through it all I maintained my peace by blocking it out, remaining calm and living within my purpose. The Untitled (Crown) painting, 4 Girls, and the Safe series have great stories behind them as well. I will tell them one day.”
Keturah is inspired by the works of artist Wangechi Mutu. She considers her a “living example” and believes that “conceptually she gets it and is extremely successful.”
Keturah’s creations have been featured in Essence Magazine and her supporters continue to wear her artwork and buy products (clothing). “It’s mind-blowing, being published in a national magazine…I’m still coming to terms with the whole idea.”
Using her talents to educate others, Keturah has taught art to both children and adults and loved it. She plans on returning to it.
Keturah describes the feelings she wants others to have when they see her work. “I want people to feel proud and empowered when viewing my work. I want [the] feeling of: “I am not alone” to come over them, that means the most to me.”
As for her future, Keturah wants to expand her brand and business, as well as have stores carry her products. She hints that “with one of my upcoming collaborators, that actually may be happening sooner than later.”
“It’s humbling to see people wearing my art or [purchasing] products. It makes it all worth it. I know why I’m here.”
Contact Keturah at: