Naima Tine was born in Kalamazoo, MI, and was raised on the DMV area’s east coast. She comes from a family with a deep connection to Michigan’s indigenous people, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and self-discovery. Continuing a long lineage of artists and creatives, Naima found herself deeply inspired by time spent shadowing her grandmother (whom she is named after). Media from Naima’s childhood still influences her depiction of womanhood. The inspiration can be witnessed in her heightened and expressive depiction of people and narrative.
What do you create?
I mainly create digital and sculptural art about my life, without limitations and unbound by my reality.
How did you get into visual art?
My grandmother was an art teacher. I would shadow her in her classes and draw a lot independently.
What is your favorite piece of art that you’ve created?
One of my favorites has to be the “Portrait of a Family.” The story behind it is long but the woman in the picture is a widow of a Geechee man, and she is posing with her children. Her children were gifts from a goddess because she can’t birth children. It’s my very own African American Folklore.
Who or what inspires you?
I have many influences. Visual artists like Ayami Kojimi and Hun Jun Di, fashion like Vivienne Westwood, the art of editorial fashion and advertisements, African American female artists like Janet Jackson, and African American culture in general.
How do you balance creating with the rest of your life?
I feel like I’m not very balanced—ADHD doesn’t help that, so my ability to create is very erratic. Sometimes I just need some stakes to create, or sometimes an idea will pop in my head that I just have to create.
Why do you create?
Mainly for myself. I put myself into my work in order to humanize me for myself. My art says a lot the way I view myself, its feminine mysticism, art that channels an aspirational fantastical visual story.
Any advice for new creators?
Create for yourself and create for people from the heart. There is a lot of thought and sentiment that goes into creating the intent to give as a gift.
How would you like to develop your art in the future?
I want to work more in sculpture and art fashion. I want to be wearing my art and become absorbed by it.