1. Tell us a little bit about yourself? What's your background?
My name is Rae` Frasier and I was born and raised in Schenectady New York. I am a full time educator, a collegiate basketball coach, a community activist and an artist of many forms. I am also the secretary of Miracle On Craig Street which is a non-profit organization that leads efforts in re-opening Carver community Center located in Hamilton Hill Schenectady New York. I enjoy empowering people through art. Poetry and walking canvases are my two favorite forms of art. My new found love has been painting iconic figures and powerful messages on clothes. I don’t believe canvases should be confined to the inside of a home or building or stagnated on a wall. Art is much more powerful and meaningful when it moves and reaches different locations. I like to make sure there is always some kind of educational component within my art. Unfortunately people have shied away from reading and writing. Vibrant colors and beautiful images are undeniable to the eye so I try to make sure all of my images are meaningful. Whether it’d be images and messages from Basquiat, Nefertiti in her true melinated form or Egyptian Kings and Queens draped in gold. There is nothing like dressing extremely well while being educated. Anyone can look good and be ignorant. I aspire to help people look good and exude knowledge.
2. What kind of art do you do?
I sketch and paint mostly. I believe EVERYTHING should be painted. My favorite canvases are ones that can be worn. Adding color is my absolute favorite thing about creating art. It’s like adding life.
3. What/Who inspires you?
I am most inspired by life. I literally get inspired everyday through different experiences in my life. That includes the people in it as well. I believe art is about life and we create art every single day. Some of us are just unaware of it.
I’m also very inspired by other local artist from my hometown. There is something very special to me about knowing someone who creates greatness and being able to say that we are from the same place. It’s fantastic.
4. Who are your biggest influences?
Life as a brown, educated and fashion forward woman from an impoverished yet beautiful neighborhood inspires me more than anything. Another big influence to me is black culture, the fashion, music and the overall art within it. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a beautiful culture. It is my duty to continue to contribute to it.
Jean Michel Basquiat is my favorite visual artist of all time. I love how free he was with is paint brush. I appreciate the very authentic and organic nature of his art. I try my best to make sure that I am being free and operate from a place of love and pride. Keith Haring is another one of my favorites because of the consistent use of vibrant colors and the fearlessness within his messages. Kanye West is also one of my biggest influences on many levels (fashion, music, visual art, poetry, etc) his unapologetic existence throughout modern day black culture is refreshing and contagious to me. I could go on for a while on artists who have influenced me and who have been important in my life. I’ll list a few more worthy mentions; KID CUDI, Pharrell Williams, Frida Kahlo, Lauryn Hill, Denzel Washington, Rosa Rivera, Kid and Play, Muhammad Ali, Aaliyah, Busta Rhymes, Missy Eliot, Bruce Lee, Prince, Michael Jackson also the beautiful black and brown children that I have the extraordinary pleasure of teaching every day.
5. How did you get started & for how long?
I’ve always loved painting and drawing. At a young age I was never the artist in the family. My mother and older brother were the ones who were blessed with the ability to draw and sketch. I would always lecture my older brother about him wasting his talent and how he should be doing more with his art because he was/is a phenomenal artist. He didn’t really care that he had this amazing talent. I was always nervous to do art because I felt like I wasn’t that good at it. I’ve always focused more on art through fashion. Just recently I decided that something was missing from my being and I felt like I needed to dive more in depth into my artistic being. Last year I decided to start creating art on a larger scale for myself and others mainly on clothing and whatever is requested. Ever since I started to become fearless with creating, I’ve been in love ever since. I only wish I should have started sooner.
6. Do you have any favorite pieces or piece?
Every new piece that I create always becomes my favorites but if I had to pick one, I’d say the tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat that I did on the back of a jean jacket for myself.
7. What kind of struggles have you faced as an artist & how did you overcome them?
I often struggle with feeling like my art is never finished and trying to make it “too perfect”. As of now I tell myself that art makes no mistakes. A mistake is subjective. While I am working, if there is something that occurs in my artwork that was unintentional, I try to improvise and just go with the flow. Also dealing with other artists who try to compete. I am only in competition with myself because I believe they is no way you can compete with someone else’s personal art… I mean, it’s personal, I’ve already won… You’ve already won. If anything, I like to have pieces from other artists, not compete.
8. What kind of advice would you give to other artists?
Be free through your art. When it becomes strenuous, I believe it loses purpose. Art should never feel strenuous or feel like a job. Once it begins to feel like a job and you lose your freedom, allow yourself to step away until you’re ready to return to it. I think that is the definition of having respect for your art.
9. What messages do you try to convey through your art?
In some way shape or form all of my messages through my art are about LOVE. Whether the message is self-love, love for other humans or a love for something in life, it is always love.. When I create a piece for some one, I want them to exude self-love, confidence and to overall feel fantastic about life. I believe love should be our fuel for everything in life. Once we figure out that true love conquers all, we will exhibit true power.
10. What are your goals? Where do you see your art in the future?
My goal is to stay creative and keep inspiring other humans to apologetically be them through art and whatever other passion they have. I’d like to bless as many canvases as I can throughout my life time. I want to see as many people wearing something I’ve created for them as possible. I know that when I create a wearable piece for others to wear, they feel good about themselves and they feel a sense of empowerment. I believe sharing my art with other humans is my contribution to society and my culture and nothing is more fulfilling than that. As long as I am able to create for myself and others, I am certain that I will continue to live my best life.
- Rae Frasier