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MEET THE WORLD FAMILY FEATURE:

Introducing Stacey Wilson

Interview by Haile Campbell
 

I am proud to introduce Stacey Wilson to the World Family. Stacey is a dynamic artist and entrepreneur, whom we had the pleasure of featuring at the recent HomeGrown Eclectic. If you didn't get a chance to check out her work at the show, you can always turn on MTV's Real World Philadelphia and see her work featured all over the house. This dynamic woman of many hats, literally and figuratively, can be seen running around Philly always making something beautiful for the people. Whether she is working with paint or creating an event, Stacey is known for masterpieces.

 

GC: Introduce yourself by describing yourself in your mind's eye. Like what does Stacey Wilson mean or what do you want it to mean?

SW: to me Stacey Wilson equals hustler... ha ha ha just playing... in my mind eye, I see myself as a creative, multi talented, modest, honest, loving, determined hard worker that has the ability to do whatever I want to do. To be honest with you, I think it DOES mean what I would want it to mean. I bust my ass at whatever I do and in the end it feels good to know I have a life where I have the freedom to do or be whatever I want.

 

GC: How long have you painted?

SW: I was always into art... my first art class was in high school with my first art teacher, Mar. Whitehead... he introduced me to things I had no idea I'd enjoy. Things like making jewelry, sculpting, painting, whatever, so I decided to go to school for it. I went to Hessian school of art on 11th and market streets. It's a small school that only has 2 majors. Illustration or design. I went for design. That school was very different than most art schools though. We had no regular classes like math + science like some of the others schools do. We focused strictly on art, all kinds of art. Art that I went in not knowing and came out loving. Nude drawing/painting, airbrush, computers, design, photography, whatever... in your 4 years you only focus on your major your senior year. So you have 3 years of learning everything... the stickler was the schedule... 9-3 Monday through

Friday... no choices... but it was a great experience.... funny thing is that I never graduated... come my senior year, b/c there are no dorms you have an apartment and school and work were killing me plus I had realized whatever I did artistically, the corporate scene was not for me so I bounced...and here I am :) not bad I must say....

 

GC: What do your pieces convey?

SW: I feel like my art should convey whatever the viewer wants it to.... sometimes I will put lyrics to a song with my pieces like I did at the union show to give a little insight on the feeling but it's up to you to take from it what you want.sometimes they aren't about anything...just images that are visually amusing...

 

GC: What do you consider your art?

SW: I don't. I have many different styles so it's hard to consider it any one thing. It is different things @ different times.

 

GC: What were your influences and muses?

SW: artistically, my influences range from emotions, love, people, relationships, music, colors, dreams, to anything that creates a feeling but with sb + business, I have 4.

Robert Bynum, my mother, Jazzy Jeff + Kenny Gamble.

 

Kenny Gamble is a recent influence... he's an amazing man.... I've sat in his living room with him and had the most amazing conversations.... I could sit there for days and just listen! He's so full of knowledge and experience. He's a great man. I've always admired him but after speaking with him, he is definitely an influence in my future endeavors.

 

Jeff, well he's one of my great friends, but I definitely look up to him and he's a wonderful mentor. I appreciate him and what he stands for...he's been a great teacher and friend to me...    he truly is magnificent!   My mother, well she always worked hard and I always saw it... so it's in me. I learned it by watching her.

 

Robert Bynum is one of my greatest influences. He is the owner of Warmdaddy's + Zanzibar Blue. That's kind of where I started out.... ok, here's the story of how I got here... so, I started working for the Bynum's in 1996 @ one of their new venues (the old Zanzibar Blue), Deluxe. I've always been a hard worker; I blame that on my mother. Wait, I take that back. I thank my mother for that. :) So they saw that in me and from there I went on to be a manager of Zanzibar Blue then to Brave New World. I truly thank Robert for instilling in me a work ethic and determination that will always be with me.

 

So, from there, I was the market manager of KBA in Philadelphia, a Marketing company for Salem, camel + various liquor accounts. All the while I had been doing graphic design for the local promoters at that time, John Barber, Carl Dash and others...after realizing I'm just so not the corporate, reports and follow the guidelines person I was looking for an out...

Enter Yameen + ?uestlove. We were all friends and hung out OFTEN!! We would end up at the south street diner every damn night. After a while of jokes, ideas and silly thoughts we realized we can have a party... shit, we can have a company. The DJ. the host and the brain. (That's me). So, Squarebiz was born and here we are!

 

GC: What are some of your most positive and negative experiences so far?

SW: If you are referring to experiences in art I think I have 2 positive experiences, my first real gallery show @ Union 237 this past January. It was a collective show with me, Soul-One, Saga Moor and Hanan Selah. It was amazing.


It was the galleries first show and my first show. The most amazing part about it was the response I got from people viewing my work. Then on top of that to sell 5 of my 12 pieces was incredible. From then on I've showcased work on numerous occasions also selling pieces. One other experience is 12 pieces of artwork being placed throughout the house of the Real World: Philadelphia. Prior to the show airing I went and picked up my pieces and the(y) bought 5 of the 12. And now to see my work on TV is a wonderful feeling and I thank everyone who has been supportive with it all!

 

Thankfully, I can't say I've had any really negative experiences. Yet. My experiences with Squarebiz are amazing.... I get to create amazing memories for people... so many positive experiences I can't even begin to name them.... it's been a wonderful journey. I've learned ALOT!!

 

I feel like my most negative experience w/ SB is just when you put so much effort into something and people just don't get it... that's hard. It's only makes you stronger and smarter for next time. But all in all it's an amazing experience... Who knows where it will take me!!!

 

GC: What has shocked or surprised you about the experience?

SW: What shocked me most about my positive experiences was everyone's support for me and my art. Most people had no idea I was an artist. So from the various showcases and the real world I've experienced tremendous support with it all. So thank you to those people. it's so motivating!!

The same goes for SB. The support that we receive is overwhelming.... it really does touch me when people reach out to us to let us know how much what we do matters to them.... it feels good to know people look forward to what we will do next. It's just a great feeling to know that for a living I create good times + great memories for people.... sometimes it's surreal. The most surreal moment Squarebiz has brought me was being the one to put together + execute Prince's private after parties to his 3 Philly shows. I could never put into words how amazing and surreal it was to hang out with him and speak to him, probably the most surreal moment of my life. I'll never forget that.

 

GC: Who/what do you see yourself as in 10 years?

SW: Ha ha ha, I can barely see myself at the end of the day.it's really hard to say b/c I do many things... not at all to toot my own horn b/c I'm quite modest, but I can do a number of things and I enjoy them all so it's hard to say where I'll be... I'll be wherever life takes me. Right now, I'm an artist who has displayed my work in various shows in galleries, currently has 11 pieces of art showing on MTV's Real World: Philadelphia house, and also will have pieces in Jill Scott's upcoming poetry book, I'm a graphic designer, outside of various fliers for random people and Squarebiz, I also do all of the graphic design work for Zanzibar Blue and Warmdaddy's, and last but not least, I am the proud owner of Squarebiz where I do a bit of everything, plan, promote + execute numerous events/shows for the past 4 years. So from here, it can go anywhere. b/c 5 years ago I had no idea I'd be doing this!!

 

GC: Who do you make art for?

SW: most often, I make art for the people closest to me in my life, the people I love.... but first and foremost I make it for whoever enjoys it and if it turns into someone buying it, even better... my house is full of my art. I'm running out of space... visit flyjawn.com and take some off my hands so I can make more!! :) (a shameless plug, I know!!) but seriously, most times I work with people... I know not everyone has a lot of $ so I try to work with people. I'd rather people have it and enjoy than me be a stickler for the cash and nobody seeing it.

 

GC: What is your short term plans? Long term plans?

SW: Stay creative. Stay happy. Stay healthy. After that, it's out of my hands... it's funny. I don't plan so much because anything can change in one second so I like to take things as they come... of course there is some planning but I like to go with the flow and keep my plans to myself until they are solid ventures.... I constantly have new ideas and new ventures and new partnerships so anything is able to happen at any time... It's a great wave I'm on and I'm just riding it. If a new one comes, cool, I may jump on that...but I like where I am. I'm happy personally, I'm happy career wise and I'm having fun. You're always going to want more but you need to at least be happy with where you are first then you build from there.

 

GC: What is your background in? Artistically?

SW: graphic design. That's what I "went to school for" but because of what I told you about the school it led me to other avenues. I'm just a creative person. Whether it's making a painting, building + executing a party, doing fliers, innovating, to making mixed CDs, I just am creative. It's so wonderful to be able to express myself in many ways like that. I'm appreciative that I'm able to... I think I'd go nuts doing just one thing for a living.

 

GC: Do you have any extracurricular activities?

SW: my extracurricular activities vary depending on my mood and what my day/night is like... I absolutely love to dance, I love to travel with people close to me, paint, watch movies, cook, chill out... But to be honest with you, I don't have much time to do much sometimes because I have 10 hats it causes for long days... Granted long days with freedom. So I'm not complaining... I'm super appreciative of where I am.

 

GC: Where are you and what do you do usually on a non-descript day?

SW: on a regular day I start out @ my new friend Sarah's coffee shop called ground floor on 2nd + poplar. She has free wireless internet (how dope is that) so I work from there quite often or I'm at the office. (Another shameless plug for Sarah but the place is cool + there is an outdoor area too...) Running around, phone calls, deadlines, dinner, parties, promoting and spending time with close friends. That's a normal day.

 

GC: What do you think of the quality of life in Philly?

SW: hmm. Philly is funny. It's a great place. I've lived here all my life and it's comfortable. The only quality of life I can really speak on is my own. Life is what you want it to be. Not everyone grows up in neighborhoods that are wonderful but they may be rich in love + family which can make all the difference in the world. I think the quality of schooling, the arts and influences/mentors for young children all need major focus. I think priorities need to be different. Instead of building new stadiums how about kids in high schools having books.

 

GC: What do you think about change (think of Uploading Change, GeoClan.com's slogan)?

SW: I'm all about change. Change is great but I've found that people have a hard time with change. We are creatures of habit so I think change has to occur gradually for people to accept it, but I'm all for it....

For more information on the art of Stacey Wilson checkout her website, http://www.flyjawn.com

 

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The Art Of Stacey Wilson
 
 
 
 

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