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

Hi Zaira, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success to me is being able to wake up everyday and CHOOSE what I want to do without limitations. Being able to create art, travel, live, explore, and move freely without the worry of working a 9- 5, debt, or financial instability. I’m not looking to be the most famous person in the world but I wouldn’t mind being the wealthiest. To me, there is nothing more successful than being able to just live and enjoy life and experience all of the exciting things it has to offer. I don’t care to conform to societies material standards of “success” which is for you to slave your life away for things that honestly mean nothing when you’re no longer here. My version of success is owning land, being debt free, having a large amount of money that I can invest and grow while traveling, and continuing to create art for others to enjoy.

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.
It’s a funny story how I started my career as an Artist/Painter. As a kid, I’ve always been able to draw. Me and my brother would sit at the table and draw for hours when we were younger. It was always something I’ve been good at I just never thought to take it serious. When I got into highschool I hid my talent. I felt like people would have no interest in it so no one knew I could draw. It wasn’t until I was 25 (I’m 27 now) that I started picking up a sketch book and sharpening my artistic skills. I started bringing my sketch book to work and drawing when I had some free time. One day a woman came into my job and saw a picture I drew in my sketch book and asked if I could do a painting for her. I said sure even though I had never painted in my life. However, I was up for the challenge. I told her the price and then I ran home and went right to youtube to figure out how to paint. This story is so funny to me because once I painted that picture for her my business took off and I’ve been painting every since. People started seeing my paintings, requesting commissions/ talking about my artwork to others and next thing you know I had a fully functioning business. To anyone who has a talent that they’ve been sleeping on or not using in some capacity I’m encouraging you to show it. Put yourself out there because that hidden talent may be the thing that changes your life and becomes another source of income. As far as my artwork, my main focus right now is portrait painting. It’s a very special niche I’ve found myself in because each painting has sentimental value. I plan on continuing this kind of art and perfecting my craft. Further down the line I will branch out into art shows, gallery work, and showcasing artwork that represents black culture.

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?
If my best friend came to visit Atlanta we are going to the most hipster places you can find! We are starting at the Beltline and the Ponce market for a nice day time situation. At night we’ll pack some medicinal marijuana and go to Atlantic Station, there are plenty of ecclectic shops, food, and people there to keep you entertained. I’m a sucker for scenic views and nature so I’d take her to Atlanta Botanical Gardens or venture outside of Atlanta to Gibbs Gardens! The next day we can hike the Sawnee Mountain trails or tour the area of Lake Lanier to view the famous haunted lake. Last but not least we HAVE to go to Slutty Vegan to grab some of the best vegan burgers you will taste in your life!

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?
I want to give recognition to my family and everyone who has supported me on my artistic journey. I thank my family for giving me the space to explore my talents and interest no matter what they were. They never judged me, well sometimes they did but they would laugh it off and end up supporting me anyway. That gave me the confidence to try new things and to be unapologetic about what I wanted to do with my life, which was to be an Artist. When you choose a career or a path that seems unconventional you tend to get a lot of judgement or to be misunderstood because people don’t get it. So any kind of support, whether it’s someone purchasing my art, re-posting my art to their social media, referring others to my business, or even just saying “I see you, keep going,” means the world to me because it shows me that that I am supported and that my art is appreciated. So thank you to everyone who has done any of those things, you are the reason I continue on this path.

Website: https://www.zairaimanart.com/

Instagram: Zaira__Iman

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