Picture It, Sicily – 1922. If you’re a Golden Girls fan, you laughed at that. If not, then your life is deprived of great comedy, so let me start over – Picture It, Virginia Beach, 2019.
The above picture is the result of a very interesting 2018, and a very eye-opening 2019. I’ve always heard my church folk say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” This photo is an accurate depiction of me also laughing at those plans, being grateful for where I am, and enjoying these random moments called LIFE.
This year has been filled with all the expressway, roads, and lanes that all lead to me finding myself. Such a cliché, right? Truth be told, I finally understand that statement as a post-graduate, adult and an entrepreneur. Strangely enough, the death of my grandmother produced the opposite of grief, but more of a determined discovery mode. This year has afforded me the opportunity to accept my shoved entrance into ‘Adulthood Bri’ and nestled comfortable (at least now, anyway) into putting full force action behind purpose –
Enter House 273.
I shifted from 1st gear to 4th gear pretty fast. I took a route that many (and I do mean MANY) encouraged me that I should never take, especially upon the exit of college. The formula for college is simple. Go to school + Graduate = Find Internship/Job. I did that. And in that, I felt more incomplete than ever. Instead of trying to figure out different ways to squeeze my abstract variables into this formula of normalcy, I created my own formula. Me + Dreams = Doing what I want to do, by my own rules, my way. I went from staying in my little corner in the Fine Arts Building - traveling exactly 20.8 miles round-trip daily on my trek to Norfolk State University, to traveling over 13,000 miles this year and into two different time zones. FANCY!
This rollercoaster of “Straight Outta College” entrepreneurship has been one worthy of documenting. In highlighting the beginnings of House 273 and my year as a whole, I wanted to shout-out a few of my accomplishments and partnerships along the way; people that have either given me or have had the AUDACITY TO CREATE.
ADIDAS | PHARRELL | SOMETHING IN THE WATER FESTIVAL
So my friend (Shout-Out to Anna Rupertova) gave me this pass to come check out the ADIDAS Creator Park – A free event that Something in the Water (SITW) was putting on for a chance to meet the creative team of ADIDAS. I met with Will Smith (LOL), an Apparel Graphic Designer with ADIDAS. It was such an AMAZING experience, especially the day after my senior show. I was able to show my work and get honest feedback on what I want to do with my future. So, long story short, because I was out at the ocean front super early, the HR manager of ADIDAS asked if I wanted to meet Pharrell. And this happened. I met this amazing genius of a man who spoke to me like he was my old friend I was catching up with. I told him how grateful art students like me were for SITW, especially events like this one. It gave us one on one contact with people who were doing everything - we dreamed of. Such an honor! He even recalled our conversation on a CBS podcast interview about the festival. (He did not mention my name, but he quoted our conversation so there it is.)
NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY | MR. T
Shout-Out to Norfolk State University (NSU) for the interestingly amazing experience of college. I graduated with my second degree, Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts (specializing in Graphic Design), in May 2019 with Additional shoutout needed for Mr. Tillman for making life as an art student equally as frustrating as it was rewarding.
CHICAGO | HOW DESIGN LIVE 2019
Shout-Out to HOW Design Live 2019. HOW Design Live is an annual conference for creative professionals celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2020. The conference included educational sessions, hands on seminars, networking social events, and space for the creative community to change their way of thinking. I flew to Chicago two days after graduating - and it was the most rewarding trip ever. Coming off the high of graduation, this conference really gave me a sense of belonging in the design world. I met so many creative people outside of the actual 'design' perspective (Marketing Execs, Teachers, etc.) This trip was the perfect bridge between ending one of the biggest chapters of my life and starting the next.
ESSENCE FEST | AISHAE COUTURE
Shout-Out to T'lia Green, founder and creator of Aishae Couture. Aishae Couture is a luxury fashion line that embodies the essence of the working woman that is seeking elegance. Aishae Couture's Ethereal collection made its local debut at the the NSU Senior Art show for the graduating class of Spring 2019, Behold: Creative Innovators. (Whoop Whoo!) Aishae Couture made its first large platform premiere at Essence Festival 2019. T'Lia, much like myself, has taken an alternative route ‘Straight Outta College,’ head first into entrepreneurship. House 273 had the pleasure of developing the logotype, brand identity and web presence for Aishae Couture. House 273 x Aishae Couture have several projects in the making for 2020. It has been an honor to be apart of your continuous growth into not only the fashion industry, but to watch you blossom as the young woman boss you are. I look forward to our continuous collaboration and growth.
CURVY LOVE SPELLS | RAVEN WILLIAMS
Shout-Out to Raven Williams, founder and creator of Curvy Love Spells (CLS). CLS is a new and compelling plus size lifestyle blog. She documents fashion, styling, makeup, and daily happenings of a single mother with an active 2.5 year old son. The blog launched in July and has been working steadily in creating room for herself on the blogging scene. Under her guidance and creative influence, House 273 developed the logotype and branding for the blog and all promotional material for CLS. We have a long standing work relationship with Raven. It has truly been a pleasure and honor to witness Raven nurture this idea from many years and go full force into her dreams in 2019. I am so proud of you, and I look forward to what 2020 has in store for you and your brand!
CALIFORNIA | KELCEY NEWMAN
Shout-Out goes to Kelcey Newman, founder of ATTAIN Design and Marketing Communications (ATTAIN+) . I started my internship with Kels in October 2018, and from then on – life has never been the same. I went to California in March to visit. First of all, WOAH. I’ve never been to California; never thought I’d have any reason to go there besides my daughter’s obsession with Lego Land. Never in a million years did I imagine I’d be there, let alone assisting with the branding for an awards event in Downtown LA!
While there, I got to experience GLAAACC (Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce) Annual Economic Awards Dinner, an awards ceremony to recognize individuals and businesses that have contributed to the development of the African American small business community. I also attended Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) Truth Awards, an award ceremony that highlights the contributions made by African American’s in the LGBTQ community who put forth effort to embrace their truth. At BBLA, from the event social media branding to the meal tickets, I assisted with it all! (Click here to see). It was such an indescribable feeling to walk into an event filled with my artwork, celebrities, and to be acknowledged by the fabulous Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph herself (depending on your age, you’ll know her as the Deena Jones from the original Dreamgirls cast or Moesha’s step mother, Dee.) I experienced working under extreme deadlines, LA traffic, authentic Mexican food, the Hollywood walk of fame, and so much more!
When I started my internship with ATTAIN+, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t confident enough in my work to feel worthy of such an opportunity. Over the past year (and continuously), Kelcey has taken the time to really groom me into a professional level designer. My portfolio has truly blossomed with amazing projects to include GLAAACC, BBLA, Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), and many more to come. I entered this experience as an underclassman intern and transitioned into a Junior Designer, with not only a much better judge of design, but an overall better person.
Big huge shout-out again to Kelcey Newman for taking a chance on me and for keeping his word in bringing a fellow NSU alumni along for the ride.