Creative Feature Friday - Inari Washington
I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing artist Inari.
We chatted about mental health, her inspiration for art and acts of self care.
Can you Introduce yourself?
My name is Inari (not Briana, that’s my middle name). I was born and raised in Atlanta and still reside. I’m from the southside, south west Atlanta. I started college at Savannah State my freshman year and transferred to Georgia State, my sophomore year and graduated there in 2017.
I’m a commercial and editorial photographer, I am also creative director and director.
What does mental health mean for you? Also how does it reflect in your art?
I love that question. Mental health means literally everything to me, I feel like mental health is such a taboo. It’s not talked about the way it should be, it should be brought to the forefront way more than it is. Making it seem like it’s not a big deal really upsets me. In order for you to move forward and be happy with your life, you have to zone in on the things that are happening within yourself mentally that make you feel the way you are feeling.
When it comes to my work though, I usually notice my friends always say I wear neutral colors, grays, blacks and greens not really like hot pinks and yellows. Yet in my work it’s the complete opposite, I’m able to express myself the way that I want to within my work. Even if it’s just something simple like a portrait and it’s not too creative, I’m going to make those colors pop every time. I feel like with my colors popping it’s expressing how vibrant of a person I can be even though when you see me in person, I may seem like I’m standoffish. I’m also a very social person so I feel like with my work you can see the influences that I get from the movies that I watch but you can tell that I put a lot of effort into my work.
I’ve had situations where I’ve been depressed like I got through a break up or whatever and the first thing I do is go straight to work. I go straight to photography and create the best projects, even if it has nothing to do with the breakup. It’s the thought of me creating something that I want, and putting it out there for the world to see and the reactions that I may or may not get from it. It just makes me feel more like myself, it makes me feel like I’m getting back to myself.
On days when you're extremely busy, what does a silent moment, self care and/or grounding yourself look like?
1. A self care moment is me coming back from a shoot and taking a hot shower, putting my favorite lotion on and my Savage Fenty onesie. Then going to the living room with some comfort food and watching a really good show or movie and not talking to anybody. That’s literally a cozy self care moment.
2. I’m such a cinema and tv person, if you see my tweets or Instagram I’m constantly talking about television or movies. But going to the movies by myself and just looking at influences from the movie or shows I watch and letting my mind go wherever it is.
3. Cleaning my apartment, cleaning my space. If my space is clean, my mind is clean.
Little domestic things, like cooking or cleaning, are kind of like therapy for me. It makes me focus on something else outside of other shit that’s going on. I can literally feel like I’m doing it for myself and it makes me happy. It’s also just the end product of when you’re done, it’s like I did that, or I made that and it’s cool.
Do you see art as a form of therapy?
The world would be a very bland, boring and sad place if we didn’t have art. Art is definitely therapy because you’re doing that to express yourself in probably a way you can’t do vocally, or physically or mentally. Music is art, no matter if the music is terrible or amazing, it’s art. You’re doing something that makes you feel or will make someone feel.
I’ve done shoots where I didn’t really feel anything from it but when someone saw it they told me they felt so much. It’s open to interpretation, it’s very abstract. I most definitely think art is probably one of the best forms of therapy.
As an artist how do you protect your emotional and mental wellbeing? Especially when dealing with critiques, how do you protect your peace?
I’m very self critical of my stuff honestly. I’m still trying to learn that, I don’t really know.
I feel like protecting my peace, I just sometimes have to step away from the world. The world is more often on the internet or social media because that’s where I publish things. I can’t keep up with those things anymore, I’ll get on Tik Tok or Instagram and see a funny video and repost it but after that I get off.
I might post my work but then I get off, but I’m not going to let myself stress over whether or not someone does or doesn’t like it. I’m already self critical about my own stuff, I don’t want to add onto that. It’s also a matter of me just feeling confident in my work, and understanding this is what I created, this is what it is and just accept it.
There’s been projects I’ve done that I cannot stand, but when I see it in the limelight or in the forefront and I’m like I actually did do that. I didn’t even like it but I did it, and if someone doesn’t like it there is someone else that likes it. Someone liked it enough to use it for whatever they’re using it for,
So I guess that’s how I protect my peace, not giving myself the space to let someone affect how I feel about what I do. When honestly all that matters is how I feel about it. Now if I do like a project then I know it’s going to be fire, I’m like okay let’s see the reaction.
What are some of your goals for this year or life in general?
Finish decorating my first apartment
Get on Forbes 30 under 30
Get on Season 5 of Stranger Things to do their promo photos
Be a lot more happier for myself, and more content and focused
Getting through the first year as a full time photographer and getting as many bookings that will change the game for me.
I want to do this for the rest of my life and not have to worry
Inari recently was featured in an art show case. Here's one of her stunning pieces from the series.
Check out more of her work below.