Considering how competitive the American job market is, most people wouldn’t think of leaving their day jobs to pursue their dreams. For some individuals, that would be too much of a risk. However, not everyone thinks that way. A few years ago, Keturah Ariel Bobo left her 9-to-5 job to become a full-time freelance artist and entrepreneur.
In addition to illustrating children’s books, managing an online store, and working on a collaboration series with NaturallyCurly.com, Bobo was recently asked by the director of Hairfinity to create promotional advertisements for the hair vitamin company.
Many celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Keisha Knight Pulliam, and Christina Milian, have publicly endorsed the product and hundreds of other bloggers have done the same. On Instagram alone, many users have documented the growth of their hair after using Hairfinity and judging by their results, it seems as if the essential nutrients that make up this vitamin has worked for the best.
However, that is not the only reason why people are excited to use this product. The artwork that Bobo has created for Hairfinity has caught the attention of so many people. The natural hair community, in particular, has embraced her work because it represents them in a positive light. Her work promotes diversity, confidence, self-love, and strength, which are attributes that seem quite synonymous with those who are used to long hours of co-washing, pre-pooing, and just hoping that their twist out comes out decent in the morning.
Moreover, with faith, determination, and family support, Bobo was able to turn her passion for art into a business of her own. 4CHC interviewed the Columbus College of Art and Design graduate about natural hair, why that topic is so important to her, and the work that she does for Hairfinity:
4CHC: Why did you focus your art on natural hair?
KB: Big hair and Afros have always been aesthetically intriguing to me and it has also been a constant theme in my art. More recently, I realized there was a need for it. I thought about how great it would be for my art to illustrate an entire movement –a movement about embracing yourself.
4CHC: Why do you think the natural hair community has embraced your work?
KB: People see themselves in my work and that is something that we need as a community. We need to see positive representations of ourselves in our world.
4CHC: How do you think you’re helping to change the conversation on natural hair in the media through your artwork?
KB: I’m actually planning to do a painting concerning this topic more directly. I’ve been hearing a lot of people say natural hair is a fad, and I would have to disagree. This is the first time in the history of African American people where we are actually being educated on the science of our hair. That in itself is history changing. Art, science, education are all tools that help people embrace and accept progression.
4CHC: When do you believe you had your big break in the art industry? Also, please explain the process it took for you to reach there.
KB: It’s hard for me to say, “I’ve made it.” I have very high expectations for my long-term goals and myself. Being able to quit my 9-to-5 and devote all my time to creating art was definitely an accomplishment. I’m extremely grateful for that and it came with receiving more exposure and getting long-term contracts.
4CHC: Describe the commission work that you do for Hairfinity. When did you finish the projects that you’ve done for them so far?
KB: I’m actually still working with them. Their director contacted me via email and wanted to commission me to create basically whatever images I wanted for their brand. So every month I send them what I have and they post it, it’s definitely one of my favorite collaborations to date.
4CHC: What is your take on natural hair? Do you like it? Do you think the topic of natural hair has become overrated?
KB: I LOVE IT. Every. Single. Thing. About. It.
4CHC: What are some of the art projects that you plan to create for Hairfinity in the future?
KB: We’re working on getting the artwork printed on various different products, so stay tuned.
4CHC: Are you natural? If so, how do you take care of your hair?
KB: Yes, I am natural; I always condition and try to stay moisturized.
4CHC: Tell us about your family life. Did they have any sort of influence in the art that you have done thus far? If so, please explain how.
KB: Of course, my family is the reason I’m here now. We are a very eclectic group. I was homeschooled as a child. My parents both always stressed the idea of being unique, thinking for yourself, and just being your own person. They are my support and my backbone. None of this would be possible without them.
4CHC: What is the hardest thing about being an artist nowadays?
KB: It’s difficult to control what happens to your art once it’s released on social media. I have found that a lot of people may not respect your work and illegally use it, copy it, or alter it.
4CHC: What advice would you give others who want to become natural, but are afraid to do so because of the way the media has portrayed it?
KB: You should never be afraid of embracing your true authentic self. Natural hair is nothing but an extension of that concept.