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.
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.
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 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!