We had the good fortune of connecting with DeAnn Wiley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DeAnn, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
Post everyday on all socials to keep your online presence up. I think in a social media age we hear this advice often but I find that it takes a toll on you as a creative. I think you should find a balance between posting online and taking time for rest and activities outside of social media. The people who support you will be there when you come back.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets my art apart is my ability to tell a story through one image. Often my art compels my audience to share memories that my art has brought up for them. I take pride in being able to capture and portray an authentic depiction of Black joy. I celebrate all skin tones and body types but I prioritize dark skin, fat people. I am very intentional in my work and I’m proud that I’ve built trust and live within my community.
I’m most excited about illustrating my first children’s book! It’s due to release in May 2022.
I got where I am professionally, honestly, due to the support of my online community. Every single post, share, retweet, purchase and word of mouth recommendation put me in front of people who presented me with opportunities! Once they saw my work, it was my commitment to stay true to my own style and using different mediums and expressions of myself that sealed the real.
Some obstacles have been just juggling being a creative within the fast paced world of social media. Recognizing when to rest and when to grind. Understanding that going viral is only a very small price and maintaining loyalty and good relationships with your customers is a better focus.
What I want people to know is your mind us powerful. Over a year ago I wouldn’t even call myself an artists because I was scared and comparing myself. My wife actually challenged my thinking and encouraged me to acknowledge my skill and talent. Once I owned my artistry, I became unstoppable.
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?
Oh my lord. I am such a homebody! I would have to tap my wife for this, she is a foodie and knows all the best spots in Detroit. I would definitely take them to Bardo, SheWolf, the river walk at night, the DIA, definitely to a Coney Island (the more scared you are to order, the better), Campus Martius on Christmas Eve, Belle Isle, and definitely check out Fried Chicken and Caviar, a little Black woman owned dining experience. I honestly love to stay in and create. I love creating memories so any activities where you can learn something new, laugh and take home a momento is my jam.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife, Jasmine, my sister, Raquel and my best friend, Kevin. I would not have my business if it wasn’t for the support from these three people.