We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Trusting and listening to my gut. All the major decisions in my life were met with great friction and straight up “No’s” from my parents and other adults in my life. When you are young I think we can easily talk ourselves out of thinking we actually might know what’s best. And honestly sometimes we don’t, but if you are willing to listen to your heart and trust your inner spiritual guidance I don’t think anyone else’s opinion matters once you are convinced on so many internal layers. Choosing to go to art school was one of the largest obstacles in my life that determined the trajectory of my future and my current network. I got accepted but had no idea how to afford it and my parents said no. I took it upon myself to prove them wrong and find the money and the rest is honestly history.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Pursuing a career as a fine artist has taught me patience and that is a lesson that continues to challenge me. Trying to become a sustainable and profitable artist is still a goal of mine I have not reached. Many people don’t realize how “long-term” of a profession this is. It’s the long game and definitely not something I choose to make money. I’m doing my life’s work. I’m excited about what I’ve accomplished so far and what I have in store. Nothing about it is easy but everything about it feels right. I’m focusing on making small steps of progress so that I’m never plateauing, but instead continuously making personal progress in my art practice and body of work. I create for myself first. While operating that way I learned how my art could help others. The more specific my work became about me and the stories I was trying to tell the more universal it seemed to become. For me sharing my art is putting parts of myself on public display and that takes guts, a willingness to take risk, be vulnerable, and evolve in public. I work with photography, textiles, writing, and interactive experiences. Within my work I incorporate conceptual themes, history, spirit, and call to question how we construct our identities and how BIPOC individuals in particular perform and discover self with all the constraints we are smothered with in today’s cyclical society. I hope that my work can help guide people to not only finding themselves but embracing their agency to be everything they choose to be for themselves.
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’m still learning and navigating Atlanta but I do have some favorite spots I’d bring a friend to. Brunch at Ms. Iceys Kitchen & Bar A stroll on the eastside of the beltline while snacking at Krog Street Market and Hawkers Asian Street Food. I love the walk from Old 4th ward park all the way to Piedmont Park. Its a 25 minute walk on the beltline but refreshing and the views of the city from within Piedmont park are lovely. On another day we’d have to find our way to Centennial Olympic Park, check out the views of the city from the rooftop garages nearby and spend some time at the aquarium.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people and places come to mind I definitely could not just pick one single person or place. I had some teachers in grade school that contributed to various skillsets of mine and really encouraged parts of me I did not even know where there at the time. Mrs. Phillips – introduced me to music, singing, and a more rigorous learning environment Mr. Pendelton – had me thinking I would become a news anchor one day but brought out the public speaker in me. Mr. Roney – challenged me in photography and allowed me to explore in unique ways by removing any obstacles in my creative path. City of Delray Beach – supported my art career by giving me my first solo art show twice, once in high school and a 2nd time after I graduated. Dare 2 Be Great Foundation – filled the financial gap and afforded me the opportunity to go to art school. Craig Stevens – introduced me to the impact of my photography when printed at a larger than life scale when he printed my first large scale print. My Savannah, GA community that employed me and mentored me – Thank you Moncello, Marsha, and Shannon Christopher. All the lady bosses in my life have challenged me and affirmed paths I chose in my life. So many professors who pushed me and my work from under grad to graduate school. Marietta and Leah in Michigan who understood me and all my crazy ideas. All these people in more deserve an amazing shout out for their support and influence!
Other: https://www.patreon.com/stephaniebphotos https://medium.com/@stephaniebphotos
Stephanie Brown Appleton Museum of Art