I love art and am always inspired by artists. This upcoming artist was introduced to me by a Women of Wisdom highlight Jamesha. Her work is truly unique and her bubbly personality is evident through her words of encouragement on her page. She is truly impressive, not because she is following her dreams, but because you can tell that she lives authentically.
Welcome to the world of Yogi Dada….
Who gave you the gift to paint?
What events lead you to starting your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit even at a young age. I used to wash cars and babysit and do odd jobs to make money. But YOGI DADA was birthed out of something I love, big, funky earrings! I basically hand painted a pair for myself (acrylic on wood) paying close attention to creating a different design on each side. I wore them to Atlanta on a visit and everywhere I went people were asking, “WHERE did you get those EARRINGS?!” and asking for business cards. For about a year I gave away DADAS or sold them for little of nothing. It took a while but I finally realized this was a business opportunity, so I prayed. I asked God if this is a business He wanted me to pursue and I clearly heard, “Who gave you the gift to paint?” So I began doing things to operate like a business and not a hobby. I see all of this as a manifestation of my Mother’s prayers that I would one day be able to come off of my job as an Optician and pursue my craft full time. She passed in 2009 and my business became in official in 2012. I’m walking in purpose and destiny.
Were there people who weren’t fully supportive of your entrepreneurial endeavors? How did you overcome the doubt?
Not that I know of directly. I’m sure some doubt, some may just sit back and watch, but some of my strongest supporters have been those Clients who purchase my artwork, some of whom I’ve never met.
What was your overall vision for Yogi Dada and has that changed over time?
It’s been surreal even creating a vision because it was so organic in development, I just loved to paint. But I can say now my vision is to bring the beauty of art to everyday items through the unique lens that is YOGI DADA. I’ve been asked to custom paint everything from a wall to a car, hats to shoes, I realize it’s not just the earrings, it’s the art that people love. And with technology today my designs can be applied to anything from a penny to a jet. My vision has also expanded to helping other artists find their voice through their medium and not be confined by what others consider as art.
Do you think it is important for women to support other women? How do you overcome some of those more negative stereotypes (like women are catty and insecure)?
In my journey I’ve learned to deal with people on an individual basis. I find that people that are hurting, insecure and broken operate with malice and backbiting, and women don’t have the market on that. LOL I do network with a lot of women and I enjoy and encourage the positive relationships and steer clear of negativity. Anything I miss God handles the rest. I find even an ounce of energy spent on addressing negativity is energy wasted.
What do you believe is the most important life lesson you have learned thus far?
The most important life lesson I have learned so far is “Do it afraid”, a phrase my Mother often used when I was afraid to try something. She didn’t ignore that fear might be present, but overcome it immediately by forging ahead with what it is that frightens you. She also said, “What does hard have to do with anything?” Yes it’s hard, but you still have to do it, so go ahead. These two philosophies have taken me to places I never thought I’d go and more is coming!
Do you actively share your wisdom that you have learned over the years? In what ways?
Yes I do. I’ll share whenever God provides the right environment and a heart that is prepared to hear. I share in private phone conversations and public speaking opportunities. I teach poetry once a month at a shelter for women and it’s always so much more than just poetry but an exchange of life. I have also been a guest speaker for several years at an entrepreneurship program for girls. I share life lessons whenever I perform as a performing artist through poetry, song, rap and American Sign Language to music. From churches to schools, city blocks to cell blocks, I’ll share love, light and inspiration.
What inspires you to do some of your pieces?
I absolutely love color and design, so oftentimes I’ll see an image and the color arrangement sparks excitement in my soul. I register the feeling and recreate it in my own way. But most times I just sit down with wood and paint and see what comes out. I must admit though my first love is really graffiti. Growing up in upstate New York I was exposed to so much of the origins of hip hop culture and just fell in love with the freedom and funk of graffiti.
What is one piece of advice you carry with you?
I’d definitely have to go back to my Mom’s words, “Do it afraid”. It has carried me so far to experience things I never would have had I given in to fear. And I’d have to add to that my Father’s words, “NEVER give up!” It may sound cliché, but it’s so real. With God on my side and these two powerful anchors, I just keep pushing day by day, moment by moment and somehow it all works out and I see another day. Success is in the moment, so I’m free.
“Do it afraid”
I am always humbled when people take the time out to be interviewed. It helps me to walk in my destiny. Remember when you purchase from an entrepreneur you are doing more than buying a product, you are supporting a dream. Support the work of Yogi Dada by purchasing her wearable art.
No matter what your gifts are, remember there is someone out there needing exactly what you can provide. There is a place just for you and your talent.
Keep growing and keep pushing!
Until next time….