Flordia native and creator of the brand Moodrich Destyni Swoope and I talk about many different things, such as her journey of becoming a visual artist, current events, and how she uses her creative talent to bring awareness to social injustice.
What is your background?
I’m a 21-year-old Afro Latina visual artist. I was born in St. Lucie County, FL, but I currently located in Miami FL.
How old were you when you started drawing and painting?
As a kid, I was always pretty good at drawing and coming up with creative ideas, but I didn’t begin painting until about 2016 when I was graduating school and had to make that decision on what I wanted to experience next in life.
When/ why did you start taking it seriously?
I started taking my art and creativity seriously when I found myself at a point where I wasn’t passionate about anything I was previously involved in. I did a number of things and enjoyed them but, none of them gave me that understanding of self and a sense of freedom to just be me and do it unapologetically. At the time, I was afraid of committing myself to something that would emotionally and mentally drain me and end up stuck within that space. When I decided to commit myself to being a visual artist is when I began to discover who I was and wanted to be. I had never realized that my creative mind and ideas were worth anything until I was like, hey… people actually like this stuff and care haha. I learn more about myself and the world through art every day, which always feels worth the time and effort.
How do you feel about the rioting and looting?
Well, what do you think happens when you violate the rights of people and antagonize them with more violence? Do you know? They’re killing us out in the open and getting away with it, and then somehow only concerned when things escalate to violence. A language they seem to understand, I do not feel that I or anyone else have the right to tell any black or brown individual how to be angry, or if what they’re doing is the best way to get things done. It does not matter what I think. This is what happens during a revolution, if you look back into history, all of these things occur when real change is to be made. The only reason America is America is because of the looting and violence inflicted on us when we were brought here on ships. I would say that the real concern should be it that its time this country held itself accountable for all the terrible things that they’ve done and not so much the reaction of the people they are hurting.
Being a woman of color in America, have you ever experienced racism or mistreatment from the police?
As a woman of color and an artist, I’ve been emotionally affected by racial injustice. I try to use my creative voice to express that the best way that I can. I think all black and brown people in this country experience racism in a handful of ways. Whether, it is keeping us from learning our real history and going through the educational system that feeds false history and narratives about how this nation was built, systematically making it difficult to simply take care of ourselves and families. Or just the difficult struggle of being a healthy human being due to the lack of resources and teaching in our communities.
Have you ever used your artistry to protest social injustice/ police brutality before? If not will you?
As an artist, I accept the role I have of creating a visual subject and allowing it to be open for interpretation. I have a small series of pieces on social media going on. As well as an art piece created on a pair of sneaker’s I was able to auction off and donate the sale toward George Floyd’s family and two other foundations. I felt passionate that I needed to do something and not remain silent as far as creatively and being a young black artist within the culture at this time. If I can continue to use my artistry as a tool in being a part of the change, then I’m all in for it.
Any advice for the upcoming artists?
Advice that I have for upcoming artists would always aim to be open-minded and open-hearted in your work. Embrace the empathy that comes with being a creative person because that’s where you can find the truth. Whether, it’s your own or someone else’s. Always be you. Stay original. You never wanna be the 2nd version of anyone when you have a perfectly great one and only within yourself. Move where you feel urged and inspired and don’t allow fear to stop you from being who you need to be for yourself, and ultimately the world.
Check out some artwork by Destyni Swoope: