Empowering the Culture Through Art
Bieunkah has always had a love for art and has been drawing since she can remember. A Louisiana native and current Northwest Arkansas resident, she is surrounded by inspiration. After discovering her love for fashion, she combined her natural talent with her desire to empower and motivate others and created a collection of products that will bring a smile to your face.
She is bringing art right into your homes and offices to ensure that you have a little piece of happiness anywhere you go. Whether you are sipping from an inspirational mug, sitting at your desk glancing at a framed print, planning your day in her fab planners, or giving your phone a makeover with one of her stylish cases, there is something for the Fashionista, Diva, Boss in YOU!
“Sometimes we need a little reminder of who we are and what we are. We are Queens, no matter what we are facing at the moment!”
Sonia Sanchez says “the Black artist is dangerous. Black art controls the ‘Negro’s’ reality, negates negative influences, and creates positive images.”
Bieunkah lives out this quote every day by creating beauty that inspires.
Let’s get right to it.
I’m Bieunkah Anwojue, an entrepreneur, author, and illustrator. I grew up in Grambling, Louisiana, and now live in Northwest Arkansas with my husband and three children. Before becoming a full-time illustrator, I was an IT professional for several years. After battling with my mental health, I started back drawing and those drawings helped me get through my day. As I began to post them on social media, other women were encouraged and inspired, so I started to create diverse products and books to Empower the Culture!
Both books were created from a vulnerable time in our lives. Art is a form of therapy and I wanted a way to take others on a vacation, even if it’s for a few minutes a day. The Fashion Queens Coloring Book is filled with affirmations and words of encouragement. Sometimes we need a little reminder of who we are and what we are. We are Queens, no matter what we are facing at the moment!
Our oldest son, Jamarion created the Gratitude Journal after experiencing anxiety and depression. He has gone through multiple club foot corrective surgeries and that began to take a toll on him. After he saw that writing helped him with his feelings, he wanted a way to help other young boys understand their feelings, while empowering them. He filled it with gratitude prompts, self-love prompts, doodling sections and so much more.
3.) What was the inspiration behind these two books?
The need to encourage the community. I always say, “You have to go through it to get through it”. We are in a time where so many people are “going through it” and that’s a part of life. My hope is that each of these books, as well as the future books that we publish, will be tools that can help others have a break from the noise of the outside world. I hope that they are a constant reminder to be the best you that you can be!
4.) What was the hardest thing about these two projects?
5.) What was one thing you learned about yourself while creating each of these projects?
I learned that my pain had a purpose. The beauty that has come from those trials is something that I cannot explain. As I look back, I am grateful for those days spent crying and praying in my closet because it made me pick up a pencil again. From there, I have been able to draw strength and love to help others daily (see what I did there) lol.
6.) Tell us a little about your journey to becoming an illustrator.
7.) What’s one thing you absolutely love about being an illustrator?
Personally, I like to draw a lot of things that others never see. I grew up drawing animals and florals, so many of those pieces never make it to social media. I have been in a constant battle with myself on whether or not I should post because many of my drawings are fashion illustrations.
So, my biggest challenge is worrying about what my audience accepts. It shouldn’t be like that, but in this social media era, it is for me. Having to wonder “If I post this, what will they think?” makes me feel boxed in and limited.
9.) What advice do you have for someone looking to become an illustrator?
4. DO NOT COMPARE yourself to other artists/illustrators. As a creative, this can really affect your work. Don’t worry about how good someone else is or how many followers another artist has. Just create what feels good to you and your audience will come.
10.) When/where will your book(s) be available for purchase?
These two books are already available on my website, as well as major retailers. More books will be published this year and I always share updates via social media.
11.) Where can our readers find you on social media?
I am @bieunkah_illustrations on all social platforms
12.) Do you have a website?
Audra Russell is a blogger, freelance writer, and published author. She holds two undergraduate degrees in journalism as well as a Master of Science degree in Education. She also completed the Wesleyan University online Creative Writing Specialization course series.
She is an avid reader and writer’s advocate. Her passion for promoting the works of up-and-coming authors inspired her to create her new podcast, Between the Reads, as well as her website, Read It Black to Me. Her debut novel, BLOOD LAND, was published on August 29, 2020, as her fiftieth birthday gift to herself. She lives in Maryland with her husband of more than 20 years, her 3 amazing children, a 12-year-old perpetual puppy, two dueling cats, and 2 chickens.