We had the good fortune of connecting with J’Aaron Merchant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J’Aaron, why did you pursue a creative career?
A creative career isn’t something that I pursued. It’s kind of always pursued me. I think I pursued more of the business aspect behind having a creative career. The creativity is the easy part for me. It was learning how to get compensated for my work and time properly. Throughout my journey of learning how to be a business creative I’ve learned things like, how do I get paid properly for what I do? How do I file taxes for what I do? Do I need to budget for this upcoming project?
I’ll even admit that learning more of the business behind what I do has opened more creative doors for me as well. It’s showing me that I don’t have to box myself into one particular creative corner. I’m free to pursue multiple creative avenues within my career and diversify my portfolio and right now that’s the focus that I’m in pursuit of.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an illustrator and animator that specializes in creating magical content for people of diverse backgrounds. I think what sets me apart from others is my use of bright bold colors, a range of hair textures and body types as well as my ability to capture youthful black joy! When people see my work they know that its me.
Being a creative looks fun and it is, but what its not is EASY. There is a lot of time, energy and emotion that’s invested in creating, we’re not making pretty pictures, we’re telling amazing stories and evoking emotions from anyone who experiences them.
Consistency and the willingness to learn has helped me tremendously to get where I am now. Being a freelancer time management is crucial for what I do. It can really make or break the success of a project. This is just the beginning and I have so much more in store for my audience.
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?
The Atlanta Aquarium is always a must on the list of must sees and then lunch over at Slutty Vegan is always nice.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Papa. Being the daughter of immigrant I always thought that eventually he would redirect me to becoming a doctor or engineer, but he never did. He’s always been supportive of my creative career and never once stifled me.
Photographer: Jenn Terrell IG: @jennterrellphotography website: https://www.jennterrellart.com/