My name is Shaqkeara K.C Clarke, and I’m an artist. Before I never really considered myself an artist until I realized that everyone introduced me as one. I just saw what I did as a way of life. I live it everyday, I incorporate it in everything I do, how I dress, when I cook, when I clean, every and anything. I first realized for myself that I was an artist when I was in the second grade. I was a quiet little black girl in a school with predominantly Asian students so already I stood out. I even felt as if I was singled out. But one particular incident I knew I was out right being picked on. I remember my teacher Mrs. Guyatt had given us a social studies assignment where we were given a country and we were to ask our family and friends about their people, traditions and land. I was given Kenya. Along with a few sentences we were to draw a picture. I remember it as if I drew it yesterday. I drew a black man with his wife and child harvesting vegetables. I know, fancy for a 7 year old. But I took my time with this. I even recall my mothers criticism, she knew of my artistic capabilities so she pushed me hard from a very young age and even supported my decisions in pursuing all things art. When the assignment was due I handed it in with pride, something I never did through out elementary school. When my teacher saw my work in the pile of homework she called me to the front of the class and accused me of handing in work that didn’t belong to me, she even called my mother. I remember this all so well because I never showed my pictures to anyone after that, not even my mother.
I grew up trying to figure out what I’d become because of my embarrassment, when in reality I wanted to pursuit art. I knew I couldn’t do anything else even if I wanted to. Not that I wasn’t smart enough, but because I knew I wouldn’t be happy. It was the reason I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, so I spent two years after high school trying to make up my mind. I wanted to do it all. I felt magical. As if anything I touched could somehow be turned into gold. From a t-shirt to the dresser it goes in. I was making something better than it already was or creating it myself and I found joy in that. I wouldn’t give that up for the world. To be honest, I don’t even want to be wealthy, as long as I can live comfortably, I am happy with what I do.
When I finally decided to go back to college for Interior Decorating, I was overwhelmed. I doubted myself. Not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because I didn’t want to make the wrong decision in choosing my career. Fast forward a few months later and I couldn’t be happier. Yes college is expensive but I definitely see where my money is going. I’ve improved as an artist and just a creator in general. I love doing what I do and what it does for others. I realized that my art isn’t just for me. It is for everyone. My art has affected others in ways I couldn’t imagine and for that I am grateful. When I do, I am leaving this earth with a piece of me left behind. Not only on paper but in the memories of anyone that has ever seen my art, and that is why I am and always will be an artist.