Today we’d like to introduce you to Steph Sparks.
Steph, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up as a shadow artist, trying to recreate everything in the drawing books my dad bought me even though I felt I wasn’t good enough to call myself an actual artist. Fast forward a few years, I was on Paint Shop Pro teaching myself everything there was and then Adobe Photoshop came along – rinse and repeat. Once I got to college, I realized I could actually have a career as a graphic artist once I stopped focusing on what I ‘thought’ I couldn’t do and focused on what I wanted to do. So, I bought myself a sketchbook, got back to my roots, and after a few months of consistency I realized I was better at drawing than I made myself believe I was. I finally became comfortable referring to myself as an artist, kept up with my practice and the next thing I knew, 5LTH + Fortune was born.
Has it been a smooth road?
Honestly my biggest struggle has been rooted in my sense of identity and, admittedly, it’s something I still struggle with to this day. The love I have for art runs deeper than any love I’ve ever known, but the fear I ‘ve had in taking myself seriously as an artist runs just as deep. I want to be a successful graphic artist, but I find that I constantly have to prove to myself that I deserve and am capable of it. And it becomes exhausting at times but I finally got to a point where I feel comfortable accepting clients for work.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
5LTH + Fortune (pronounced Filth and Fortune) began as my effort to bring attention to work made by creatives of color. Born as a blog and, after a few false starts, eventually developed into the early beginnings of a collective for creatives of color. Artists involved with 5NF submit one of a kind works to be used on apparel, accessories and other novelty items. Eventually, 5NF will produce our own films and television shows using in house production designers and writers, transforming the collective into a self-sustaining production company, run by and for people of color.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a great place to start a film production company, but a collective for creatives of color can begin in any urban city in America. However, being that the city of Los Angeles has an overwhelming number of people who are living on the streets, and with the increase of police violence against peaceful protestors of racial injustice, I plan to donate portion of all proceeds to non-profit organizations committed to fighting both of these epidemics in our city.
- Apparel: $25 – $60
- Accessories: $15 – $60
- Commissioned Work: Varies
- Website: www.5lthandfortune.com, www.artbystephsparks.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/sparxxtheartist
- Other: www.instagram.com/5lthandfortune
All professional photos of me as well as the basketball at the Kobe Bryant memorial were shot by James Stephens of Eye Wonder Films