Pride 2022: Artist Named Nobody

Pride 2022: Artist Named Nobody

23rd Jun 2022

For our final instalment for our Pride 2022 Celebration, we caught up with the lovely Artist Named Nobody to chat about their experiences as a queer artist and what pride means to them. Artist Named Nobody: Explore the collection here! or continue to read below ...

Hi Artist Named Nobody! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of our Pride feature. Let's start off with a little bit about your background, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi everyone! I am a 21-year-old digital freelance illustrator and online shop owner. I illustrate portraits of black women and feminine people to humanise our community which is often objectified and stereotypes in the media. I’m sick of black women only being given the spotlight in mainstream media when we are sharing our trauma to educate white people about racism or playing negative stereotypes of being supernaturally strong, aggressive and hypersexual. Individually, nothing is wrong with any of these types of content, but it’s tiring when this is the only representation that I generally see to be given to black women online. So I make artwork that celebrates us as individuals - black women don’t need to be a symbol of struggle to be worthy of appreciation through art and just the fact that we exist is enough to make us beautiful. I also try to diversify the types of black women I draw by including women who are disabled, religious, plus size etc in my work to show that beauty is found in everyone and not just an elite group.

To talk more about my personal background, I started drawing when I was about 9 or 10 years old because I wanted to copy the illustrations in Jaqueline Wilson’s books and from there it became a special interest that I’ve been obsessed with ever since. When it came to going to university, though, I was more or less pressured to study subjects that would lead me to a “successful” career (e.g. doctor, lawyer, engineer or disappointment) so I went on to study law at university (just finished this year!).

I’m never sure how to answer questions about introducing myself but, in terms of personal interests, I can say that (besides art) I am fascinated by psychology, true crime documentaries, David Attenborough documentaries (especially the Galapagos series), Roman history (but only between 83BC – 14AD) and Greek history. I also love making things and learning new hobbies, such as roller skating, weightlifting and making handbags, jewellery, clocks, clothing, wigs, shoes, upcycling furniture and other similar things.

My Curls Are My Crown - Artist Named Nobody

My Curls Are My Crown

What does pride mean to you?

To me, pride is all about showing a middle finger to society’s beliefs about who you should be and controlling your own narrative. Wearing bright colours if that’s what makes you happy, dancing in the street during parades because you feel safe in a crowd of likeminded individuals. Fighting, in your own way, for the rights of others in your community who are less fortunate. Pride is finding joy in my identity not only as a lesbian, but as a black lesbian. As a black lesbian artist. As a black lesbian who has autistic traits. As a black lesbian who is plus size and so many other things. Our community is so diverse that there are sub-communities for everyone to find their crowd and, when I find mine at events like UK Black Pride, it is genuinely one of the few times in my life where I truly feel like I fit in and I don’t see myself as a minority because I’m around people who look and act just like me.

How do you feel being a part of the LGBTQ+ community affects you and your design practice?

The queer community influences my work by infusing it with bright colours and bold messages. It contains its own weird and wonderful culture that exists inside of queer people regardless of our gender, age or identity. Including queer representation in art is important to me to not only reflect this culture, but to humanise it – mainstream queer art is highly sexualised, white-centred and focused on intimacy between couples, so my work is for those who are underrepresented and looking for something made for them by someone who looks like them.

Where is home for you at the moment?

I assume home is meant in this context as the place where I feel most at ease or comfortable. This answer is multiple places depending on my mood. The anxious parts of me feel most comfortable when I’m ‘booked and busy’ with multiple projects at once and can just get stuck in the zone of building the career of my dreams. The calm parts of me feel most at home when I’m floating on a small boat in the middle of a river or sitting beside a lake in a tree filled park, just writing poetry, reading a book, or drawing for fun instead of for work. Stereotypical lesbian activities, I know. A big part of me also feels extremely comfortable when I’m just laying in bed, focusing on my breathing in a meditational type of activity, and staring at the ceiling whilst listening to good music. I’m a pretty simple creature and easy to please.

My Body My Choice - Artist Named Nobody

My Body My Choice

What inspires you?

I always answer this question with one story: the first time I displayed my art at a gallery, there was this one little black girl who spent ages staring at my painting of another black girl who looked like her, wearing a short that said ‘melanin poppin’. Her dad came over and explained that melanin is the thing that makes our skin brown, and it makes her beautiful. She looked so happy to hear that. It was such a wholesome moment that I hope I never forget and, ever since, I’ve wanted to recreate that happiness in others. I’m deeply motivated by messages I receive from others about how seeing my work makes them happy, inspired, or feel beautiful in their natural body. Making other people feel beautiful and positively represented is the number one aim of my artwork and my inspiration typically revolves around finding different ways to achieve that same goal.

Thinking about how my own inner child would respond to my work also inspires me. As a child, I didn’t have much onscreen or online representation that I would consider positive and authentic. In fact, I remember once saying to my dad whilst watching a movie ‘Why is it that black people are only on TV when its time to play a slave or get the N word yelled at us?’. I was a pretty self-aware kid. Growing up going to all white primary and secondary schools (and later university), I often got bullied for my skin colour and creating my own positive representation really raised my self-esteem. It makes me feel like anyone can be beautiful and not just negative stereotypes of black women or thin, mixed raced, green eyed, abled bodied black women who don’t represent our entire community. I hope to inspire others to feel this joy with my art too.

I am also blessed with the gift of having art and entrepreneurship as my special interest – as a child, I would use any and every opportunity to draw something, whether it was in class, in church or on holiday and I would literally spend hours at home making websites for products I hadn’t even made as a form of fun. Yes, I was a pretty weird kid, but we grow up to be cool adults, don’t worry. Anyways, my neurodivergency gives me the superpower of being able to intensely focus and remain passionately interested in my art and business for excessively long periods of time. Even when I’m not inspired to make a new piece of art, I’m always thinking about something, whether it be a new collaboration deal, a new marketing strategy or a new colouring technique and I think that’s honestly amazing.

What are some of the thoughts or influences that are fuelling the direction of your current design work?

At the moment, my design style is simply influenced by what makes my inner child happy. The things that make me feel joyful – bright and pastel colours, dewy looking skin and large afros. My art is designed to make people feel beautiful, seen and appreciated, and these are all important affirmations that people typically receive (or, sometimes, lack) in childhood. That feeling of safety, comfort and feeling represented is something that everyone deserves to feel at any age and I want my work to be playful and colourful enough for viewers to feel at ease as if they were a child looking at their favourite cartoon character.

The inclusion of self-love themed slogans around my work is also heavily influenced by two factors: (i) the popularisation of liberal ideas being expressed online in gen z communities and (ii) the need for instant information and understanding in advertising in general but specifically within social media advertising. To describe the first point, I feel like gen z and millennials are becoming increasingly mindful of the ethics of companies they choose to support and things like showing diversity within advertising and being eco-friendly are extremely important for businesses to showcase. These ethics are at the core of my brand and there is no better way to show that than by literally writing it in bold letters all over my work. When advertising a product, however, I also recognise the importance of getting straight to the point. Especially on instant messaging services where thousands of images are competing for our attention on one screen on our 

timelines, it is vital for messages that I write to be meaningful and niche but also short and sweet. Furthermore, the slogans I write are mostly included to just make people feel good about themselves. Positive affirmations can really make someone’s day and when I post art online that includes a positive affirmation, I get a DM from someone telling me how that was exactly what they needed to hear. Commercial benefits aside, that feeling of being able to make someone’s day with my art and my words is priceless and valuable.

If you were to give your younger queer self any advice as an artist, what would that be? Who are your favourite inspirational artists, makers or thinkers and why?

Good Things Take Time- Artist Named Nobody

Good Things Take Time

I would tell myself to not be afraid of how others perceive me. When I first started creating art, I wasted so much time copying others, dulling down my bright colours and policing my slogans to be so meaningful to everyone that they ended up meaning nothing to anyone. You do not need to make art like anyone else - the people you look up to are successful because they had the confidence to be an individual and allow their personality to be their brand. Don’t copy styles that already exist - no one wants to buy the same work twice - so instead, give people a reason to choose you over the artists you look up to. As an individual you are unique and that is your greatest strength - no matter what style or meaning is behind your work, I promise there is a community out there that will appreciate it. A lot of people will reject you and that’s okay. Those people are not meant for you and not everyone will be your friend. It is your job to either find a community that appreciates you or create your own. Once you consistently put out high quality, authentic work that you are passionate about, your audience will come to you.

Speaking of high quality - you don’t need to have the flashiest tablet, clearest camera or most expensive tools to make great art! I started my art account drawing portraits in textbooks using writing pencils that I found on the floor in my classroom and I photographed them outside in direct sunlight using an iPhone 5. People liked my work back then, and they still like my work now that I have an iPad, professional camera and pretty social media account. Making art and marketing yourself online is a skill that takes practise to master. When you first start making art, your style and photography might be rubbish, but being rubbish at something is the first step towards being really good at it. Fans will come and go as you change, but everyone will admire seeing your progress along the way and eventually you will find your natural style of art and marketing.


What’s your go to quick lunch?

Ham and cheese sandwich from Tesco with water or aloe vera juice – I’m very basic.

Hot or cold weather?

Although the artist in me loves layering colourful clothes in winter, the Caribbean in me wants hot sun every day of year!

What is the best song to play to shake off your worries?

‘Megan’s Piano’ by Megan Thee Stallion or ‘Supalonely’ by BENEE

My Hair is BeautifulLove is LoveArtist Named Nobody

For the month of June 22, we will be donating 10% of our Pride Collection sales to Tonic Housing, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on creating inclusive urban LGBTQIA+ affirming retirement communities. We love Tonic Housing and their philosophy, previously working with them by donating a selection of prints to their showroom in August 2021.