We had the good fortune of connecting with Amami Antia-Obong and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amami, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
My idea for my business honestly began with a small 4 x 4 x 4 box in the small group that I led at my church. Each year I wanted to give my members something that would help them to focus on God more. That year I gave them a “worry box.” They were to write down any worries that came along during the course of the year, write them down on a piece of paper, pray over it and place it in the box releasing it to God. At certain intervals I would ask them to bring me all of the pieces of paper so that we could burn them, fully giving them over to God and not picking it back up. As a reminder of them leaving it to God I gave each person a tiny jar filled with mustard seeds to wear on their neck or hang somewhere that they could see it everyday. The mustard seed necklace would serve as a reminder each time the worry still came to mind that God will handle the issue that I have placed in his hands.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a Medical Illustrator and Animator professionally. To explain it easily to others, I create 3D and 2D animations and illustrations of medical procedures done on a person that will be presented before a jury to educate them on what a doctor did. So medical malpractice cases that go to court. For those who may not go to court, think of when you go to the eye doctor or a gynecologist. Those pictures on the walls were more than likely done by a medical illustrator. My field is specialized. I received a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree with a concentration in Illustration and Minor in Biology from Winthrop University. I received a Masters of Science Degree in Biomedical Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was in no way easy. In undergrad there were no specific programs for Medical Illustration, though I am proud to say that they now have those programs. It’s cool to realize you were the start of something that helps those who will come along later. My mentor and academic advisor G. David Brown, guided me in choosing the appropriate classes I would need for entrance into a medical illustration program. I was also a collegiate athlete. I did Track and Field, so during every track meet in the hotels or on the bus I was doing my art projects. Graduate school was tough in the amount of work and focus that was necessary to complete my two year degree. The classes were intense and yet rewarding. The friendships I built during my time there with my fellow classmates are invaluable to me today. We may not talk a much now, but we all remember our struggles and triumphs together.

In my spar time I enjoy painting using acrylic paint as my main medium. Paint pouring is so much fun as it requires you to let go of control a bit. A lesson I have learned in using acrylic paint and paint pouring is that when you let go and open yourself up to the experience many unexpected things can happen.

Additionally I create beaded jewelry and have recently started making metal jewelry for my business. I did not know the first thing about beaded jewelry or metal jewelry when I first started three years ago. It has been a learning process seeing what works and doesn’t. I also decided to take a jewelry making and metal smithing class to learn the basics. That class was so fun and informative that I decided took two more. I still consider myself a beginner, but I so enjoy the learning process. I continue to greatly appreciate all my friends who are my testers and peer reviewers.

What sets me apart is that my business seeks to bring hope to those who are need a bit of encouragement in a tough time through a piece of jewelry that serves as a memento/reminder to keep moving forward. Additionally to provide color and excitement to a living room, bedroom, hallway, office or art collection. I seek to use my creativity in incorporating faith into my jewelry and paintings with my unique quiet yet present flare. I want others to be blessed by what they receive. I have greatly loved hearing stories from friends how having the mustard seed necklace or other piece of jewelry has reminded them in a tough time to keep trusting in God.

Lessons I have learned along that way are that you need the help of others along the way. They can provide insight, ideas and direction that you never thought of that will greatly help you. Taking breaks to laugh and have fun are vitally important. If you don’t know something ask someone and/or take a class to learn. Learning can be both frustrating and exciting and I am still learning everyday. I can more so understand now when people say that when you do what you love you don’t feel like you’re working. When I am creating a piece of jewelry or a painting for someone its doesn’t feel like work. I have also learned to not worry about starting off small. Everything has a beginning before it grows. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 15:58 “…Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” My business may seem small to many and at times to myself, but the impact it has on others is what is most important.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Georgia is full of natural hiking trails so I would take them to visit a few of those areas. Just to name a few would be Amicalola Falls, Sweetwater Creek, Vickory Creek and Tallulah Gorge State Park. I would next take them to visit a Korean BBQ place. There are many different places that serve Korean BBQ but I would probably introduce them to it via Iron Age our Honey Pig. The best ones I’ve been to are where I honestly can’t read the menu. Now if she wanted something else I would suggest Mojitos or Zapatos in Downtown Norcross, Alebrije or Talay Thai in Suwannee. For our sweet tooth we’d head over to SweetHut, Ding Tea, and Moge Tee. After getting our fill we’d visit the High Museum of Art, then go listen to some good live music at Kat’s Cafe. On another day we’ll visit Painting with a Twist.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I thank God for giving me the inspiration and ideas that started it all. My small group at Victory Church that I lead at that time would be the people that I also want to thank for pushing me, inspiring me along the way, and being my models. There are too many to name but my “Workmanship of God” small group people know who they are! They loved the idea and constantly encouraged me to make other things and to make it available to other people, and especially to start charging people because I was willing to just give it for free. My friend Danique encouraged me to be courageous and get my business license when I thought it wasn’t a good idea to get it when I didn’t feel ready yet. My dad for helping to come up with name for the business that would honor him and my heritage. In my professional career I thank G. David Brown for being a wonderful mentor in undergrad and guiding me through the years

Website: uko-creations.com

Instagram: @ukocreations

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukocreations

Image Credits
LucillesLens – Melissa Walthour
Amami Antia-Obong

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