In celebration of #Pride Month, we’re spotlighting LGBTQIA+ creators who champion queer visibility through their creative work. Meet Brooklyn-based art director and illustrator, Shanée Benjamin.
Shanée is a seasoned designer with nearly a decade of experience, who made a graceful transition into the realm of digital illustration. She specializes in crafting content that resonates with the Gen-Z and millennial audience, amplifying the narratives of LGBTQIA+ Black and Brown individuals through her vibrant and powerful illustrations.
Her work transcends the boundaries of art, serving as a medium to foster community and connection. Each stroke is imbued with her passion for storytelling, as she seeks to affirm and celebrate the diverse experiences within the queer community.
You can check out more of Shanée’s work here on Creatively and @hellocreatively on Instagram.
What is the first creative project you remember?
Interning with Afropunk in 2013!
What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?
All of my collaborations are fulfilling because I’m given the opportunity to share my story as a Black queer artist! I’ve had the chance to work with brands that I loved growing up, such as Skittles, and it’s a great feeling for that full circle moment.
What are the primary challenges you’ve faced during your creative journey, and how did you overcome them?
Finding my illo style was an emotional process, but I love where I’m at with my art. Social media also takes a toll on mental health because our art is measured by KPIs.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
Having an illustration agent is a waste of time, and folks see artists as a 20%-30% commission fee rather than nurturing us.
How do you cultivate strong relationships with clients?
I like to be honest with my clients and, somehow, they like me back! I guess my candor keeps people coming back, and I am also damn good at what I do!
Are there any special processes or personal rituals that help aid your work?
I always smoke while I’m drawing. I love zoning out, with background tv noise. I prefer 90s tv shows, or The Walking Dead.
Tell us about any endeavors you’re part of that represent your creative passion and vision*.*
I host dinner parties where I get to intersect art and food! I enjoy setting up a space and creating a vibrant menu that encapsulates my love of Black joy.
One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?
That I did it for the Black queer femmes. For the shy girls who grew up listening to alt music. For the Black girls that don’t fit in.
Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective.
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