Today we’d like to introduce you to Kahdija Murray.
Kahdija, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My first memory of creating art was in kindergarden. I painted using primary-colored acrylics and a floppy newsprint pad. There wasn’t an “a-ha” moment. It just seemed natural. I’ve been creating visual art ever since.
I drew on tests and on the insides of textbooks, to my teachers’ dismay. I created t-shirt designs for the senior class of my high school and fliers for our school events. I drew anime characters and comic strip panels inside a sketchbook gifted to me by my amazingly supportive mother.
I had commissions before I knew what they were, yet I didn’t consider art to be a viable career path back then. When I found out it was, I dropped everything to pursue an education in it. I studied fine art and illustration at Academy of Art University in San Francisco for five years, and graduated with a Bachelors of the Arts. During my schooling, I took on small commissions from my network in Los Angeles.
After graduation, I continued to complete graphic design and illustration commissions, and displayed my fine art paintings in three exhibitions. After three years of creating part-time, I shifted my focus to full-time work.
I now design remotely, creating logos, album covers, portraits, fliers, banners, websites, apparel, illustrations, and fine art for local and national clients. I assist local artists and entrepreneurs with small business and branding, and my artwork is featured on the U.K. based Print-On-Demand platform Ayok’a Deco (www.ayokadeco.com), and my online shop (www.dijaouija.com/shop).
In my free time, I work on my personal art, blog, create music, and collaborate with local creatives on various projects.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Bringing ideas out of the ether and into the physical realm is never smooth. Resistance is the ultimate foe of the creative, which is inside of the artist and outside as well. My biggest struggle was stepping out of the role of the thin-skinned amateur and into the role of the dedicated professional, and of course, resistance played a large part in that.
I resisted improving my drawing skills by excusing my errors as “just my style”. I resisted projects that challenged me because I was stubborn to change. I resisted working larger because I felt like I didn’t have enough studio space. I resisted fully committing myself because of my fear of instability.
I overcame my artistic blocks, bouts of procrastination and hesitation by devoting myself fully to my craft, my sources of inspiration, and my vision. When I miss a day, I pick myself up and work tomorrow.
Avoid making amateur moves like undervaluing your work, dwelling on past mistakes, and waiting around for inspiration. Art won’t make itself. Keep on creating and constantly learning.
We’d love to hear more about Dija Ouija.
Firstly, I front the visual art and design platform DIJA OUIJA. It offers design services, fine art commissions, and sells apparel, prints, and original paintings. I utilize both traditional and digital tools to create visual art and design.
I use digital raster and vector editing software to design graphics and to create illustrations, from digitally painted portraits to clean logo vectors.
I am primarily a mixed media artist, specializing in graphite and charcoal drawings of women with natural hair. I incorporate acrylic paint, liquid gold leaf, watercolor, and digital painting in my artwork.
My body of work balances analog and digital, urban and classic, femininity and strength.
Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
Keeping up with commissions can be a nightmare if you aren’t organized. Agenda is an application that allows me to set deadlines, keep track of notes and updates on clients, add links, images, and checklists towards projects and regulate my entire work schedule. Evernote has been very useful to me over the years also.
I update my business Instagram with pictures of my fine art, and aesthetic is ultimate when presenting my work. Lomograph, Preview, and PicsArt have been phenomenal at adding stylistic flair to my photos and planning out my feed.
The War of Art is a book I’ve been competing at a snail’s pace this year. A friend and great client of mine @malondotcom recommended it to me and it has completely changed how I view my craft and has helped me grow into a professional. I highly recommend it to any creative.
In life in general, I’ve recently learned that minimizing self-care to make more space for work is a grave mistake. Taking time to slow down, tend to your wounds (and your needs), and make room for self-love and self-care is the best step towards a clear mind and a more efficient artist.
- Website: www.dijaouija.com
- Phone: (213) 787-4556
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/dija_ouija
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/dijaouija
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/dijaouija
- Other: https://www.dijaouija.com/shop