Q + A with Sharifa Callender
Sharifa Callender is an abstract painter based in Houston, Texas. After taking a short hiatus to rebrand and rebuild her creative business, she will be relaunching in September, and we can't wait!
1.) Much of your work is reflective on your faith and God. Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to become an artist?
Throughout my childhood I was very passionate about art. At any moment you could find me drawing, painting, or crafting. I even competed in art competitions. Unfortunately, when I went to college I shied away from creating. I was strongly discouraged from studying art because of the starving artist stereotype. Being young and impressionable, I decided to major solely in math instead of taking up a double major in studio art.
By my junior year of college I was tired of stifling my artistic gifts. There was an open call for art in a campus culture show. I took a leap of faith and entered even though I had not created anything in a while. I poured everything into a mixed media piece that depicted a beautiful black woman with an afro. I was nervous because aside from being out of practice, I was unsure of how the artwork would be received. To my surprise and delight, I received a number of compliments and ended up selling copies of it!
I know for a fact that God used this experience to encourage me to pursue art seriously. Over the next few years I took art classes and began creating consistently. In 2016, I launched my art business.
2.) You say, "The process of painting without boundaries is completely freeing". We couldn't agree more! But we all have our struggles. What do you struggle with the most?
I struggle the most with making the time to paint. I would love to paint every day, but I only do so once a month - creating multiple pieces in a sitting. My goal for the latter part of 2018 is to paint at least once a week.
3.) What is your creative process?
Because I work well in quiet, distraction free environments, I paint early in the morning or late at night. Painting is a form of worship. Before I begin my creative process, I pray and ask God to guide me so that what I make is a reflection of Him.
I start by mixing various colors and blending gels to create unique textures. Then I use palette knives to apply paint onto the canvas. As a final touch, I sprinkle glitter onto my artwork.
As an abstract artist I move with a lot of freedom and flexibility across the canvas. I don’t get caught up in using certain colors or emulating different effects. I embrace every mistake and work as the Holy Spirit directs me. Each completed painting is a pleasant surprise!
4.) What is next in 2018?
This September I will relaunch my art business. I closed my online store in May to rebrand and make new paintings. I’m excited for what is to come!