By Victor Ochieng
Yashiva Robinson, a Miami, Florida-based painter has become a real online sensation after she started creating art depicting Black music legends such as Erykah Badu and Tupac Shakur and sharing them online.
Since her kindergarten years, the 26-year-old Robinson has been drawing and creating diverse pieces of art on a variety of mediums.
Interestingly, with social media success, she got a new opening for her business. Because of her various talents, namely, artist, beautician, tattooist, model, and singer, she now has more than 17,000 followers on Instagram and a successful Tumblr blog.
Although many people find it a challenge turning their passion into a money making opportunity, Robinson, commonly known as Sheeeves, has done it.
She gained online fame last year after she released her series of paintings, entitled, “Favorite Series Volume 1,” in which she had depictions of music icons from the 1980s and 90s such as Shakur and others. This collection went viral on Tumblr, opening up a great business opportunity.
For close to six years, Robinson has mainly been releasing her artwork online and even giving some for free, thus helping her build a strong online audience and potential customers.
On May 8, 2015, Robinson decided to become a full time artist.
“As an artist in the digital world, I grew my audience by drawing other people online, and they would share with their following,” Robinson said. “I mainly work in acrylic paint, so I can’t really pinpoint which piece aided to my viral success. [However], my popularity stemmed from giveaways and drawing others out of the kindness of my heart. But a drawing I did of [actress] Amiyah Scott via Instagram catapulted me.”
The Black Lives Matter movement too has seen many artists win big with Black art. This is as a result of growing Black consciousness that the movement has nurtured over the past few years.
Recently, the Atlanta Black Star reported the forthcoming release of “The Hate U Give,” a novel focusing on Black Lives Matter movement.
There is also rising preference for natural hair and greater interest in Black history, all of which coincide with the movement.
Many artists who are conscious of such openings have taken advantage of social media platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram to turn their lives around. Most such artists gain popularity and meet new clients by first sharing their ideas on these platforms. While some have physical stores, there are many artists who sell their artwork exclusively online.