Category Archives: Art & Design

02Feb/17
cloudy visions

Taji Artist Lounge: Cloudy Visions

Cloudy VisionsCloudy Visions, born Danai Graham, is a painter based in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Taji Mag: How did you discovered my craft:
Cloudy Visions: I discovered art at a young age. I remember really trying hard to copy cartoon characters and finally getting that “S” with the the lines down packed. I used to not want to go out and hang out and lay with the other kids. I would rather draw cartoons and make up characters. I’ve always drawn, but never really did anything with it, it was a hidden talent that nobody really knew about. After taking school trips to museums and then later in life doing lots of research on dope artists such as Michael Jean Basquait, Miya Bailey, Justin Bua, Funny Tummy, Kaws and others helped me fall in love with art. I moved to Denver in 2015 for work, didn’t know anybody there. That’s where I painted my first canvas out of boredom and loneliness. It was pretty bad, lol, but I enjoyed the process and I’ve been doing it ever since. I have now been painting seriously for 2 years, started my Instagram page on 1/2/16, and did my first shows and events all in 2016.
Taji: What inspires your work?
CV: The inspirations for my art work are usually from conversations, real life occurrences, a lot from music, and my family.
Music: Music is big influence on my work. I listen to A LOT of music, it tells the stories that I’m not able to tell verbally. While painting, I am usually listening to instrumentals with a jazzy soulful vibe. This then allows me to make the words or the emotion that I would put on the track through my painting. In my art, it really is the thing that puts me in a creative space. Painting without music probably won’t ever happen. I am that guy who finds random artists from all over the world and digs for music. Its a passion of mine; I can’t live without my music.
Real Life and having my own style: I’ve gone through some stuff. Being an only child has made me a “loner” so being able to say it without saying anything is a big help for me. I really try to put something personal on every canvas I do, even if it’s just the color that I paint a character or a random place, that color will be an emotion I felt or feel. My style is different. Growing up in London, England exposed me to different cultures and lifestyles so you will see that in my art. Sometimes I will paint someone Black, other times the person will be blue but you can still see that it’s a Black person. To me that’s just saying we are all the same in ways even when we are different in color. I love being labeled a Black artist but I don’t want to be boxed in. I can do a bunch of everything. Just like in life, we all want to grow, don’t box me into anything, I’m a  free spirit. I am also a grown man with real world  issues like everyone, a husband, a father, etc., my aim is to let you know that.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

cloudy visions cloudy visions cloudy visions

cloudy visions

 

27Jan/17
Vol10

Taji Vol10: Revolutionize

Release Mar 7 2017 | Vol10 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling it’s theme of “Revolutionize”! This volume features Pan-Africanist and Entreprenuer EmpressAK on the cover. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick: Fruiggie is Making Painting Fun & Safe; the community feature on the powerful Ezekial’s Divine Oil; Hair Feature by Mz Lady Lox; “Multiple Streams of Revenue = Wealth” by Nay Marie; “The Root of Travel” by M’Bwebe Ishangi; the delicious seafood catering and pop ups of KnicknacksBK; unique eyewear from 9oclockteeparty; the sensual scrubs, butters, and jewels of TheCelestineCollection; #CareFreeBlackKids2k17 & Beyond” by Tajh Danielle Sutton; “#BlackLoveConvo” with Africa Jackson & Dapper Dr. Feel; our Health & Fitness Advice Columns with Trainer Clint & Delliz the Chef; Featured artist Will Focus; Must Have Comic Book: Is’Nana the Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysée; the Taji Model Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Purchase Taji’!

Vol10

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 10

Taji Mag is a Black Beauty & Culture specialty publication highlighting the artistry of our essence.

13Jan/17
Natoya

Taji Artist Lounge: Natoya P

Natoya PNatoya P created a collection of work that embodies her daily experiences as a woman. This body of work takes us through the present stages of life. She seeks to evoke emotions of heartbreak, love, bliss self-realization, and self-acceptance. She states that “many times society overlooks the inner evolution a woman goes through to attain self-actualization and become enough. We don’t take time to reflect on the journey we take to get to the point of self-love and acceptance. This collection takes us through that personal journey of a woman painting the pictures of the pages of a diary.” This is Natoya’s first formal collection and introduction to the world of art. Her work highlights the use of colors to depict the story on a canvas. Her dynamic pieces are multifaceted, showcasing various walks of life.

Natoya can be contacted by emailing [email protected] for showings, interviews and inquires. | Natoya P Instagram

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04Jan/17
Vernac

Celebrating our Heritage in Vernac!!!

Celebrating our Heritage in Vernac!Vernac

The everyday language spoken by people as distinguished from the literary language. Railways Cafe is of an indigenous building style using local materials and traditional methods of construction and ornament especially as distinguished from academic and historical architectural styles. Every country has its peculiar turns of phrase – quirks that give local languages flavor, color, and character. But unless you’re a native speaker, local slang can be tricky to grasp, let alone use. South Africa, with its 11 official languages, is blessed with a rich slang culture that can be quite daunting for foreign visitors – heck, even some residents flounder when faced with some of the more obscure lingo. “Heterogeneous We Are”

Railways Café, based in Irene Pretoria, is one of the most diverse restaurants enriched with culture and the spirit of UBUNTU.  On this day we celebrated the underground musicians that go unnoticed, yet produce the most powerful, rich sounds of Africa. People from all parts of the globe came through to honor these beautiful souls.Vernac

Vernac  Vernac

We spotted Mr Sibabalwenathi Mfabe, writer of Azania 1236″

The story of Azania continues in the year 1236 in the territory slightly south, and then into the north and its east in what we know today as KwaZulu Natal. In Azanian times no such place had existed at the time of the events that begun in 1234 and continued two years later. Here in these lands, lush and well vegetated, had been brought to order and control by the well liked custodian Cagn, under instruction and supreme protection of Tsui-Goab, Azania’s Arch Custodian. The book will be launched at one of the Taji Night’s book reading events soon.Vernac

“DO NOT SAY YOU WERE NOT WARNED”

 Vernac             Vernac             Vernac

All artwork sold is exclusively hand made to suit your individual desire by;

Sam

Biggie

Tendai

Felix

#Proudly African

Vernac Vernac Vernac

This wall is situated just outside the restrooms for individuals to write what they want to do to change the world. I found that very fascinating.

Vernac

“I want to change the world by always trying my best in everything I do and by being an outstanding ambassador for our nation, everywhere and under all circumstances, create an environment that will enable us to fulfill our vision of making our nation exceptional.” -Muhlez

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki Giovanni

Last month, Taji hosted an event to honour our Queens, and with that came a gift hamper sponsored by ShowbizAfrika, Muhlez Catering and Projects and Peo Information Technologies. This hamper went to the Queen who is and has always been the light in underprivileged communities, and selflessly so.

“My dream is to retire to my very own orphanage.”

Vernac Vernac

Vernac   Vernac

The children of Setlopo, a small village in Mahikeng north west of South Africa, hand printed this sheet in her honour.

Vernac

This woman has been sharing her income with communities for over twenty years, and has never asked for help doing so. We found that very touching and not to mention inspiring and heart-warming.

She carries five (5) degrees of different sectors, yet she chose to teach ONLY in rural settlements, because she believed it was her calling.

“YOU WILL NEVER INFLUENCE THE WORLD BY TRYING TO BE LIKE IT.”

20Dec/16
Myke Archie, WorkForce Comics

#MustLoveBeards Profile: Myke Archie

Get to know a brilliant emerging artist named Myke Archie

Happy #MCM Taji readers! Taji Mag is happy to introduce Myke Archie because we love his work & now you will too.

First of all, we’ve been fans for years. Myke Archie is the Perfect Man to buy a holiday gift from If you’re looking for a unique option this season. Check out our #MustLoveBeards profile features a down to earth Southern brother with a knack for creating beautiful works of art. He is the creator of WorkForce Comics who has been stirring up controversy all over social media. Today’s #MCM is a comic prodigy with a lot to say. His work has beeJ. Dilla x Myke Archien featured by Polite Conversation, All Real Radio, and now Taji Mag. Especially relevant is his drive to make economic autonomy a stronger part of how his fans live.

Graphic designer Myke Archie is on the rise. He illustrates book covers, album art, posters, and logos. This Atlanta native earned his BFA from Georgia State University. Consequently, he is not the biggest fan of traditional education. He prefers to think critically rather than follow trends. Perfect Man Designs, his privately owned company, has lots of fans. The first volume of his critically acclaimed series WorkForce Comics was released 2014. It looks at the crazy ways we think about life, making money, and politics while scratching and surviving in a society that cares more about loot than love.

Art x Myke Archie

His work has a certain quality that is not the same as other designers. The style, the stroke, and the scope is different than any comics out there. Other influences for his work include classics like Ice Cube’s film Friday and another favorite: old school Sci-Fi thriller called They Live. Myke invites fans to listen to his playlist of artists like Isaiah Rashad, Yani Mo, Denmark Vessey, and Knxwledge. The man something special.

#MustLoveBeards feature Myke ArchieMyke is part of the #BlackBusinessSelfie campaign via Nay Marie’s Black Owned Business Collective. He showed off several businesses including: Freedom Paper Company, Rooted-N-Nature, Dash Motor Oil, The HXLM Collective, and of course Taji Magazine!

Support Black Owned Business – Buy WorkForce Comics

WorkForce Comics Volume 4 is set to be released this month. Until then, customers can buy copies of volume 1, 2, 3, or all three on his blog: Perfect Man Designs. Like his fan page for the latest news and exclusive content. In conclusion, respect the man’s grind.

17Dec/16
yeezy

Is Yeezy Season Over?!

 You seen Yeezy’s new line?! That s%#t is ugly bro!

..says the guy trying to convince me while contradictly standing in a distressed sweater from a popular Euro brand. It’s insane how the same people who disrespect one’s art surprisingly have the audacity to purchase mimicry. Now, I’m not saying Kanye’s prices for Yeezy pieces aren’t outstandingly ridiculous, that’s another topic for another day. I guess what I’m trying to convey is, how does one depreciate his (Kanye’s) designs, then, with the same mouth, say to the cashier “Yeah, I want to buy this” while presenting a garment literally inspired by Yeezy. It’s okay, I will ask Yeezus to forgive them of their blasphemy, they know not what they do. 

Here’s an interesting question; What about the individualistic stylish people who’ve been wearing distressed garments before Yeezy season?! To those I say, there are two things you can do in these times of abused trends. One, box up and store away all the pieces that are obvious participants of the “distress” trend. The only other thing one can do is separate themselves from the doppelgängers by staying true to the style before it became a trend. People who are trendy-chasers are like “wave surfers”… when the “wave” dies, so will their “surfing”. In other words, when the trend dies, the ones who were true to the “distress” style by it being their lifestyle (because there’s a difference – style v. lifestyle) will continue being… themselves!

Unfortunately it’s continuously growing, top fashion-retail companies, of affordable pricing for the majority of society, are producing Yeezy mimicry pieces and more and more people are absorbing the trend. So, will the abuse of the trend heat up so much that it ends Yeezy Season quicker than expected? Will you pack away your distressed garments until Yeezy season passes along with the creation of its disasters (people abusing the trend)? Or will you stay genuine and fight through the disasters Yeezy season has involuntarily created? These aren’t jabs at Kanye West for the awesome creative direction behind this season of Yeezy, but definitely stabs at those who trend-surf and don’t have a life-style which kills fashion as quick as it’s launched. Choose your fate and may Yeezus be with you.

01Oct/16
luke cage

Luke Cage Broke Netflix. All of It…

Okay, you got us. This is pure speculation, but why else would NONE of Netflix be working the Saturday after the release of the highly anticipated series, Luke Cage? Lucky for us, we binged watched it before Netflix glitched.

** LUKE CAGE SPOILER ALERT **

Reading beyond this point without having watched all 13 episodes of the most Blackity Black series in years is all on you…

luke cageWe watched proudly as a strong Black Man, who refused to be called nigga, came to grips with his unexpected abilities. If you’re a comic junky, you’ll enjoy it for purely that. If you’ve seen any of the news surrounding the Black community since 2014, you’ll be mmhmm-ing and uhhhuhh-ing for 13 straight episodes. The not so underlying tone is a Black man in a (usually Black) hoodie, framed for charges/crimes he didn’t commit, who is constantly being shot at. Aka. Ode to Trayvon Martin.

Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, sees the dirtbags that rule Harlem and eventually decides, with the push of barber shop owner Pops, to do something about it. The show taking place in Harlem is gold gem #2, #1 obviously being the BEAUTIFUL predominately Black cast. The vernacular is real and relatable enough, where you don’t feel like anyone is stereotyping. It felt like a family reunion with all of the colorful family members most of us can relate to in some form or fashion. The interpersonal relations were also real. For a fictional series, everything felt real enough to the point where you get wrapped up in it and almost forget you’re watching a scifi show. That is until he punches someone into a wall.

Yes, Luke Cage whips a lot of ass and it feels like vindication for all of us. Backstory (based luke cageon the show): Luke went to prison due to a frame job. His CO convinced him into joining the prison fight club. All the while, the doctors of the prison were watching him and other potential prisoners closely for an experiment they were conducting. Luke got injured badly and the doctors placed him into the tank that was meant to rapidly heal, but of course something goes wrong and electricity surges everywhere and by the time he woke up he had super strength and his skin was impenetrable. Essentially, he was “bulletproof.” They broke down the science, but we won’t give everything away…

He broke himself out of prison in Georgia as Carl Lucas, swam to shore, and resurfaced as Luke Cage in Harlem. He worked a day job as the janitor at Pops barber shop, and a night job as the dish washer/substitute bartender at Harlem’s Paradise. His day job and his night job eventually both come colliding and he could no longer hide in the shadows. Since we want those who said “eff yo spoiler alert” to form their own conclusions we’ll stop here, but the ins and out and plot twists make this series an amazing roller coaster. The villains are as fun as heroes. To see how little loyalty there is among villains and to watch the community come together (eventually) in support of their hero, all mixed in with musical cameos, Black women with natural hair styles, and life lessons dropped on EVERY episode, makes this is proud moment in Black history.

luke cage#RepresentationMatters. Luke Cage and Misty Knight are as important characters as Black Panther and the whole Wakanda nation. Although Taji is ALWAYS here for stories about us created by us, we’re also here for when the larger platforms represent the community as close as possible. There were some notions we could have done without, but we won’t let that 7% outweigh the 93% of dope Blackity Blackness. So hop on your Netflix, or borrow someone’s password, and clear your calendar for 13 hours. Thank us later 😉

29Sep/16
Alan Gray

Taji Artist Lounge: Alan Gray

Alan GrayAs a kid, Alan Gray always loved comic books and anime. He adored reading comic books and the depth of the storytelling. His father used to watch anime with him and they would bond over it. Alan began drawing in kindergarten and hasn’t stopped since. 5 years ago, the direction of his art changed.

“With me coming into knowledge of self and learning whats been happening to my people, I wanted to use my art to represent my community through the medium I love so much. I never had access to digital resources, so I always focused on perfecting my craft the old fashion way.  I’m hugely inspired by the comic book artist I saw as a child, but anime has really influenced my style and storytelling.”

You can find Alan’s art on instagram at @blackgodcomics and at blackgodcomics on facebook.

 

22Sep/16
craig c

Taji Artist Lounge: Craig C. Tha’ Artist

craig cCraig Carter, also known as Craig C. Tha’ Artist, is a self-taught mixed media visual artist from Houston, TX. He uses any and everything to create his art pieces from acrylic paints to different hues of coffee and tea. He’s always striving to find amazing and creative ways to express himself artistically and continue to grow as a visual artist. Most times he tends to go the extra mile when it comes to working on a piece. He always knew he loved art; watching the 80’s hip hop film called Beat Street is what solidified him into drawing. Seeing “Ramo” put those color combinations together on those graffiti pieces had him fascinated and he knew he wanted to do something with art. As a kid and teenager, it was just a hobby – something to pass time and stay out of trouble – but the more people kept complimenting him on it, the more he took it serious.

Everyday he wakes up passionate about art because it’s another day to create and learn another technique. “For me, it’s time to unwind and ponder about other things on my mind like music and traveling. I’m also passionate about doing live art events and getting the youth involved in the arts as well. Hopefully by them seeing me create, it inspires them.”

His work has been featured in different galleries and publications both nationally and internationally.

More of his artwork can be found at https://craigctheartist.carbonmade.com and on Instagram @Craigctheartist

craig c

16Jul/16
Art 2 Activism

Art 2 Activism Brings Creatives Together for Awareness

Art 2 ActivismArt 2 Activism, hosted by Nasir and Sassy of Art 2 Ink and presented by Art 2 Ink & The Shade Room, cultivated awareness of the problems plaguing our community. Art 2 Ink, a tattoo studio at it’s core, covered its walls with art from featured artists such as @TheOneWillFocus and @CocaineandCaviar. Live Performances were given by the powerful @Mal.Mero of @NYCUnity and energetic @_AlexPhoenix. Donations were collected at the door for the International Youth Leadership Institute. Throughout the evening, video clips of controversial, yet pertinent, discussions looped on the tv, including a special message from The Shade Room.

When we’re being slain in the the streets, it’s important for us to commune and heal. The energy was felt. We look forward to the next installment.

Art 2 Activism

Flip through the photos for a glimpse of the magic that occurs when our people are in one space emitting positivity. Photos by NayMarie for Taji Mag and budding 11 year old artist, Sean Jaiden.