Addie Rawr - The Artist, The Illustrator, & The Designer

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The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how much of an “adult” I truly am. It’s the simplest things that make my heart smile like going food shopping, scrolling through interior design pages on Instagram, and even taking the weekend to just relax and finish a good book. I’m constantly daydreaming about how I’m going to decorate my future home. Everything crosses my mind, from the vibrant paint on the walls to the modern furniture, to what kind of black art will be displayed throughout each room. About a year ago I came across an artist named Addie Rawr, and I was automatically sold as a customer. Her pieces caught my eye because they weren’t like anythingI had seen before! Her artwork included fun notebooks, prints/canvas, passport covers, mugs, and so much more. She had pops of color and most importantly showcased black women in all different shapes, sizes, hairstyles, and occasions. Addie creates for all of us; black women, men, girls, and boys too! I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Addie about what her artwork entails, what she loves most about being a black woman, and so much more. 

As a young girl from Norfolk, VA, while in elementary school Addie started drawing and becoming more and more interested in art. This wasn’t a skill she had to take classes for, she was born with this God-given talent  and very early on, she decided to hold on to it tightly! In 2012, she officially began creating designs, which then lead to Art & Ambition Studios LLC. When asked, “Who is Addie Rawr and what is Art & Ambition Studios all about?” she replied…

“Addie Rawr is the artist and creator behind Art & Ambition Studios. Art & Ambition Studios is all about creating artwork and products designed to uplift Black Women and Girls along with helping black artists and designers reach the next level of success. We’re all about collaborating, creating spaces for advertising and promoting positivity within the community through art and design.”

Addie started off her business on a safer route, having a part-time job while gradually growing Art & Ambition Studios; the more streams of income the merrier! There came a time when all her bills were being paid with just the money from her artwork. At that moment she felt comfortable and knew it was time to step out on faith. Also, being a businesswoman and wearing multiple hats can become very exhausting and is definitely a 24-hour job. As an artist, illustrator, and designer, I can only begin to imagine what Addie’s daily schedule consisted of. Adding a part-time job on top of that made things even more tiring, but black women are always so resilient! Seven years later and look at how far Addie and Art & Ambition Studios has come! She made the choice to follow her dreams and that decision has been oh-so rewarding.

Through word of mouth and especially with the help of social media, every day we are introduced to the many talented artists all across the globe. The message that Addie hopes her art gives is that black women and men can be positive figures and role models, by doing whatever they put their mind to. On her artwork, we may see a black man who’s graduating, a woman who’s expecting a child, a little girl saying her nightly prayers, or even a couple on their wedding day. These are all just a few moments Addie has created for us to enjoy and resonate with. Without a doubt, she uplifts, encourages, and embraces black women, men, girls, and boys.

Too often in society, black people can be “painted” negatively, which is why Addie told me it is important that we are expressed in such a bright picture through her art. It shows the beautiful true stories that lie behind our lives and show the positive side of our deep melanin skin.

One of my favorites is her 2019 Fathers Day card with a dad and his son, both wearing durags, while brushing their teeth! This image, as well as her “Daddy’s Little Girl” card brings happiness to my heart and shines an amazing light on the many wonderful black fathers across the world. 

One of the things Addie loves most about being a black woman is our versatility. At evert given moment she’s able to switch up her style of clothing and even her hair, something that she also shows in her artwork. The women in her creations don’t always look the same. Another one of my favorite collections is of her Summer Doll pieces, which come as prints, as well as stickers. There is a black woman with short hair, huge sunglasses, and bell-bottom jeans; this one reminds me a lot of myself because that outfit is definitely something I have in my closet.  I’m also team short hair don’t care, and have seen myself reflected in her art that way as well! Fashionable, bold, and statement pieces that hold positive and encouraging messages is exactly how Addie described her art. This collection alone is just one of many that show how great of a job she’s doing at getting her message through to her customers.

When looking at Addie’s art, the strength of what she created can easily be felt. She also wants to help other artists gain the confidence to showcase their own talents and love in their work! With us being so versatile in physical features, as well as life journeys, I asked Addie how does she come up with different collections and she let me know, 

“Collections are usually birth from one piece that I become obsessed with. When I create a great piece, I think of ways of how I can make more of that same feel. My collection usually includes 3 - 12 pieces and are then sold on various products still as a collection.” 

From her Zodiac series to her Golden collection, Addie has created so many pieces and is still able to come up with new ideas that keep her customers obsessing and anxious for more. Since she has such a wide variety of pieces, it’s hard for her to choose which one is her favorite. Her “No Make Up” series is the one that she admires most. This collection is super special, including only 3, 30x40 canvas and the last time it was shown to the public was at Miami Art Basel of 2015, where Addie had an event. She describes this particular collection as very rawr and unapologetic, a feeling most women hope to feel when they are make-up free and living their best-moisturized life. You won’t find this collection for sale any time soon; Addie has it tucked away in a safe space at her parents home. 

of course, every business has different goals, long and/or short term, when I asked Addie about hers and she replied,

“I have many secretive plans for Art & Ambition in the future one long term goal is to have a physical studio place where artists and designers can come to work. It’ll be a co-working space along with workshops, gallery shows, and a shop. The main focus is to continue to service black artists and designers in their needs regarding the back in work.”

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I can see it now! This will be a melting pot, an amazing place for artists to connect, grow, and continue to build up their brands while being able to learn from one another. I’m always ready and looking for new art galleries to visit, so this will be a perfect one to support! Addie has already been featured on major platforms like Refinery29, Blavity, Essence Fest 2018, as well as AfroPunk! Her work is widely recognized by new people each day. Addie and her work aren’t going anywhere anytime soon but since she’s already created so many works of art and has a plethora of women like myself who admire and love it all! When I asked her what she wants her art to be remembered for. she shared,

“I want my artwork to be remembered as something that makes you feel good. I’m happy to say that most that purchase from me or enjoy my work have a special connection to it that’s very personal to them. That’s the feeling I want to have forever.”

Authentic, free, and beautiful are just a few ways I feel when I look at all of Addie’s work!  Her work constantly reminds me to keep being the best woman I can possibly be and that the sky is the limit. There are so many dope pieces Addie has already created, with still so much more to come. I’m very enthusiastic about what the future holds for Addie Rawr as well as Art & Ambition Studios! I hope you’ll want to add some of her art to your collection after this interview. Below I have the links to both her site and Instagram, so you can take a look at all her work!


Thanks for sharing Addie!

https://www.addierawr.com/shop

https://www.instagram.com/addierawr/