The Artist Series, Part Two: Geist

Working as a public relations director for My Melanin, a public relations rep. for WODU, going to school full time and still making time for art is not the easiest thing to do in the world. ODU artist, Geist, somehow manages it all. A humanitarian and an activist, Geist took some time to sit down with Her Campus and talk art and ethical issues.

HC: What’s the work you’re most proud of?

G: The work that I’m most proud of currently would have to be my “Gun Series.” I feel like that series really reflects my personality the most, it just requires some digging to understand. I tend to go against the grain of society and I try to inspire no matter how many toes I might step on. The idea of the series was to show how easy it is to capture an audience whether it’s for a good reason or bad, the media only cares about what’s entertaining. I was able to capture a decent amount of attention and buzz off of something that is negative, gun violence in the media. It was also my first series that I had ever shot and that’s just what made it that much more special. It was just really dope to make a piece that traditional photographers wouldn’t care for, but I knew it would be successful because I focus on where art is going, not where it’s been.

HC: When did you get into art?

G: I’ve been interested in art my entire life. I used to draw in middle school and I would always try to make little cartoon comic books when I had free time in class. I used to make music and album covers in high school too, but I never got into photography until a year ago. Honestly, I started taking photography seriously after realizing something about a local artist, but that’s a story for another day.  

HC: Who’s your biggest inspiration?

G: I can’t name a single person as my biggest inspiration because that would take away from the melting pot that I am. I’m inspired by a lot of people; Kanye West, Malcolm X, Jhene Aiko, Basquiat, Lyncia Berry, Alex Taylor, Lupe Fiasco, Dominik Williams, Karen Polonko, Derrick Allen, Charlamagne Tha God, Jessalynn Smith, Jessica Williams, Joshua Miller, Ahmad Davis, Josef Hicks, Montae Taylor, Jamel Lewis, and my parents are all inspirations. Many people expect me to name famous photographers like Christian Aslund or Annie Leibovitz as my inspirations but I try to focus on where photography is going and not where it’s been.

 

HC: What do you do in your spare time besides art?

G: If I’m not creating art, I’m either trying to inspire another artist or I’m planning a way to better the world as a whole. I hope to create a better world for people in general, so I spend time coming up with plans to feed the homelessness, plans to spread awareness about social issues or I’ll read and research things that I know nothing about just to educate myself and those around me.

HC: Have you found that your life has been affected by the current political situation?

G: I think everything in my life is affected by politics because I care about people. My art is just a reflection of feelings and emotions I go through on a daily basis. The election left me with mixed emotions but I’ve never felt this inspired in my life. I feel like I can make or do whatever I please now and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

HC: What is your favorite type of art? To create? Admire?

G: My favorite type of art is art that catches your eye and inspires. My favorite pieces stand out in a room full of other art and they keep you wondering what it is that the artist did to make it. Admiration and inspiration are necessary for me to really like a piece of art and I’m extremely hard to impress.

HC: What do you hope to do with your art?

G: I hope to create art that garners me enough attention to speak on social issues and have an influence in today’s society. I’m not like a lot of these other photographers whose goals are to be working with magazines like The Fader or Complex or whatever. I want to actually change the world and leave a mark in history. If I don’t get to a point where I have hospitals and schools in my name, then I’ll be disappointed in myself.

HC: What’s your biggest accomplishment thus far as artist?

G: My biggest accomplishment thus far has to be the fact that I’m still able to create whatever type of art I please. Many artists get wrapped up in the idea that they have to do something to fit in. They think they have to take photos a certain way to be credible or they have to create some type of persona to be marketable. I’m either an artist you love or hate and I see that as an accomplishment because I haven’t attempted to fit in. I’m still myself and I’m still prospering.

HC: I know you're working on a big project and trying to stay low key about it? Is there anything you can tell us about it?

G: I’m working on a few major projects that have the potential to garner state-wide if not national attention. All I can say is that many people are going to love what I’m working on and many people are going to hate what I’m working on. You just have to wait and see.

A motivated lover of the arts, Geist sure is one to keep an eye out for in the upcoming months. If you want to contact Geist his email is [email protected]