We had the good fortune of connecting with Cameron Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cameron, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have always bet on myself. There has been many moments in my life where I  felt I was denied the opportunity to show want i could do. I never would interview well. I would get so caught up with thinking about what I should say, hoping the interviewer would like me, verses being authentic and true to myself. So I would have a hard time getting a job in my industry of art and design. All my opportunities that i did receive, came from when I was giving a test to perform my abilities. The talent was never the problem, it was just talking to interviewers that was a problem. I would feel as if I’m “begging for an opportunity” to work for a company and that i was be being judged, based on if they liked me as a person verses my talent. So I wanted to create my own opportunities where I wouldn’t have to face that type of judgement and scrutiny. I learn to bet on me and I began to take risks. Never again would I allow any company control my career or tell me what they thought was talent or what wasn’t.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I’ve been drawing since the age 7. I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I use to draw comics and cartoons until I met my Mentor Ronald Middleton. He taught me the fundamentals of art and illustration. This is where my style began to change, and where I became more diverse with illustrating. I would go through grad school to win visual awards and contest throughout middle and high school. My biggest achievement at that time was winning 2 place in the state level Reflection’s Visual Art Competition. It was an image of American bodybuilder Lee Haney. Lee Haney discovered my art piece and signed it. I would go on to when several other competitions thought out grade school.

I later Attended Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta GA, which is now SCAD (Savannah Art and Design). This is were I began to learn about digital art and graphic design. Graphic design blew my mind! I saw all the things students were doing with there art and I was amazed! I had to learn it and fast. I conquered so much as a pencil artist, so seeing the digital was refreshing. I thought about all the things I could do with my art. I would hangout with the upper class-men in the computer lab just so I could learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and digital movie editing. By the time is ready for me to have my Photoshop and Illustrator classes, I was pretty much advanced. I wanted learn so I could create something new and different from what I was doing in high school. After year of being at Atlanta College of Art, I attended another Graphic design and Technical college, Bauder College. This is were I got my Degree in Graphic Design.

After College began my dark years. I interned with two companies that eventually went under and closed. One of the Companies was So So def Recordings, even though it was exciting, it was short lived. the intern lasted a week before the company folded. I would go to get little jobs and gigs with companies around the city, trying to secure a full-time job in my field. I went from MetroBoyz Atlanta, to WVEE 103 Atlanta Radio, where I worked with the Frank Ski morning Show, providing graphics of the radio personalities, to small independent graphic companies but nothing was ever secured. I began to get frustrated because I came out of college thinking I would have a job and I could secure anything. Either it wasn’t enough experience or it was something temporary. This is when I decided to start my own thing.

I started making tee shirts. I would wear them amongst my peers and they would ask about them. When the learned that I created them, they would want one. So I created a company called Soulsimplicity. It would be the brand for the artist and musicians to create the own opportunities and advocate for there own independence. Til this day, I create pieces for the brand, but I’m not as heavily involved because I have gone into a different direction in my career. But I still love to create tee shirts and graphical images.

I would eventually get into illustrating children’s books. The t shirt industry began to become an over-saturated market. It seems like everyone is a fashion or apparel line. I needed to do something different, I began to feel jaded with art and design altogether. I was struggling with the same issues I had earlier in my career, trying to secure a stable position and now trying to make my business grow. One day Janaka Bowman Lewis, a childhood friend of mind, approached me with creating a children’s book. I immediately jumped at the opportunity! One, she was a friend and two, it was something different that what I had ever done. I had never done a children’s book, but I knew it was something I could do. The process was fun, and I felt alive like, I had purpose. It felt like I should have been doing this.
After creating her children’s book, I was asked to do another. Readers and other authors were so impressed by Janaka’s book, people began to reach out to me. Word of mouth started my career as a Children’s book artist.

I began to take on several projects. I created a system that would allow me to pump of several projects at a time. I learned how to manufacture drawing and illustration, utilizing self publishing tools such as Amazon KDP and Ingramspark. I took the process of Graphic Design and applied it the illustrating verses it being the other way around. this allowed me to produce 3 to 4 books a week. Today I have illustrated over 300 books. I’ve had 4 number 1 sellers on Amazon, I’ve  be mentioned on the Breakfast Club with one of my Clients Fred Whittaker, (Shootout Fred Whittaker), and several projects appearing in the hands of many I would have never thought. The Project “Teach Me About Garvey,” written by James Wilson, is probably my most recognized project to date. Dr. Umar Johnson has even co-signed it. It’s crazy to see things from start to finish. A client provides you with a story. You outline it, sketch it out, refine, and detail it. The author’s loves what you have done with there project, and it goes out into the world. The children read it! the love the pics and the story. They laugh, clap and smile. I look at that, and my heart melts. I think to myself, I did that! I made a difference in a child’s life by helping the author tell a story. We just created legacy! There is nothing more valuable then that! I look back at everything I did, that has led for today! it was all worth it!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I do not get as much as I use to because I work a lot! But when I do go out, I do enjoy places to go listen to music and have a few drinks. I’m more about trying to caught a vibe then to trying to actually go clubbing! I like  new experiences and trying things I hadn’t try or done before. And like company that goes with the flow and are open to different things as well.

So if a friend came to Atlanta for the weekend, Friday night, We are going to MJQ in little Five points. its a little eclectic vibe; Hip hop and House music. We wouldn’t stay long, just enough to caught a vibe! I would then take them to Peters street, where there are a few bars and lounges there. The next morning we are going to Thumb’s Up for breakfast. After breakfast we would go to little five points and Ponce marketplace for shopping. I would see if there would be interested in going to the High Museum of Art for an exhibit. Later we would go Edgewood, cafe circa for drinks, might pop into Edgewood pizza for a slice of Pizza and walk cross the street to the Soundtable. We would just hang out in Edgewood for the evening, a lot to do around there. Sunday, we are going to Highland bakery for breakfast and probably chillout the rest of the day!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a Shout out to my Mentor Ronald Middleton, who taught me the fundamentals of art and illustration. Because of the my training, i was able to apply it other aspects of graphic and design. Thank you!

To my parents  for always encouraging me to dream big and to work hard for everything. Love ya’ll.  To my brothers, Richard and Sean Wilson for introducing me to Hip Hop so young. Hip Hop is a big influence to everything that I have done.
To my wife for giving me a lane to do what I do and for trusting my vision. You are my biggest supporter, a voice of reason and Best-friend. I love you! To my daughter Jade! You are the reason mommy and daddy go so hard! We love you so much!

To my guys Clifton Andrews, John Jackson, Rae Wade, Janaka Bowman Lewis, LaDarryl Hollingsworth, Freedie Fields, Francesca and Vinicia Glass. Y’all are my best friends and biggest supporters. Y’all have be there from the beginning and I have always been down for any and everything i been apart of. Much Love!

To Bill Bellamy for being a real dude and stand up person and taking the time to hear what I had to say and offer.  You didn’t have to do anything but you’ve chosen to support, and that’s real.  Thank you bro!

To Fred Whitaker for giving me the opportunity to work with you and introducing me to the industry!

To the Black Coalition Family: Wiz and Angie, Steve and Shari, Bryan Solon, Antonio “Cogac” Dozier and Portia Dozier! Thank you for your support! Portia Dozier, Thank you for getting my books right!
To my guy Kenneth Vaughn! Let’s build bro! I think we got something!
Lastly, not Least my Watermark Family and Community! Jamie and Scott Sours, Tim and Jamie Leboeuf, Nick and Jackie Gross, Chris and Tatiana Ingold, DJ and Shelly Mariello, Shane and Amy Hidle, Luis and Michelle Effio and Mark and Malwina O’Neil.  I really appreciate you!  Thank you Guys for Everything! Your support is Tremendous! Thank Ya’ll for reppin’ Soulsimplicity and buying all ouf my books!

Website: camdaillastrata.com and Soulsimplicity.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camerontwilson/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/camerontwilson/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dastrata and https://twitter.com/Soulsimplicity

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cameron.wilson/

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