Art in Motion: Interview with Ambreia Stephens

Art comes in many forms: sculpture, painting, ceramics, photography and more. Most artists seldom stick to one form of art to express themselves, like Ambreia Stephens. This young lady is an amazing painter and has started her journey in tattooing. Her work has been showcased at The Baltimore Gallery, Riopelle Studio, Lithouse, and more. Incorporating her love of portraits, the human body, and her unique outlook she has been able to make a mark and will continue to blaze a colorful trail.

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

I  decided that I wanted to be a full-time visual artist in December of 2015; it was right after a rocky breakup and losing a good job. Art is what kept me afloat that winter, been at it ever since...

What made you start tattooing?

I wanted my art to be a lasting impression. I want people to take it with them wherever they go..

How is a body different than a canvas?

Your canvas is alive and responsive so that always adds fun to your project! Your time is also limited when working on human canvas compared to leaving a canvas and returning to it at your leisure.

Who or what inspires you?

The city and my creative peers inspire me to be honest. You can find art everywhere in almost anything and that is how I get out of my creative slumps most of the time. Simply leaving the house, seeing people and the atmosphere helps. Working with Krissy The Butcher has definitely been a life changing experience as well! She is so full of life and creativity, it’s hard not to be inspired by her!

What is your role with Art with a Spark?

I'm the head instructor at Art With A Spark. My job is teaching people of all backgrounds that art can be enjoyable, whether you are a beginner or a Basquiat! Also, who doesn't like a smoke friendly paint class?

What has been your biggest achievement?

Being able to travel with my art has been one of my biggest dreams! So having the opportunity to be able to tattoo in Los Angeles for the Ladies Of Ink Tour has been an absolute blessing.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

Happy, healthy and expanding my brand in all ranges. Collaborations with more like-minded artists, more community functions, and Urban Truth Projects. Progression is always the goal. I'll still be tattooing and painting so I'll be traveling more to share my gift with people all over the world.

Digging with John PT.1: Paramita Sound

Anyone that knows me knows that music is the WORLD to me. I appreciate all forms of art but I’ll ignore a world crashing around me to finish listening to a song I love. Luckily over the past few years I’ve been able to meet some amazing people who are just as crazy as I am about so much of the stuff I love. And they also just so happened to own a record store I’ve picked up plenty of bangers from.

 Paramita Sound will be going into their second anniversary this year in October, but when you go in the store it feels like they’ve been around forever, along with the rest of their West Village neighborhood. After winning the 2014 Practice Space competition, Andrey Douthard, Anna Atanassova and Zach Poley have launched themselves smack in the middle of Detroit’s music scene, and pretty comfortably from what it seems. As a new and used record and cassette store, Paramita keeps an incredibly diverse arrangement of music in-house from hip-hop to punk to world music that they’re all incredibly knowledgeable in. Whether you’re looking for some great music to take home with you or just wanna chop it up about your favorite music, Paramita’s most definitely worth dropping by. One of those people you’ll probably meet is Anna, who is an owner at Paramita, a dummy, and one of my best friends that kindly agreed to do this interview. You’ll probably even run into my dusty ass just hanging around the shop, being dusty.

 John: What was the first album that got you into collecting?
 Anna: Hard core albums, because right around that time when I was getting into all that is when color vinyl became relevant in punk and hardcore. Revelation Records were doing all their reissues and it was cool to get, y’know the Chain of Strength logo’s green so you’d get the green LP or whatever. Everything was about color so I think that’s what made me start actually coveting things, instead of just buying shit without a layer of intension. I honestly have no idea what specific record it was though, I try to repress that time in my life as much as possible. (laughs)

 J: I feel that, it’s kinda weird how seemingly EVERYONE does clear or color vinyl now. Like I grabbed a reissue of D’Angelo’s Live at the Jazz Café and it came on two clear LP’s, and I highly doubt D’Angelo gives a fuck about what color his LP’s are when they’re pressed, just that the music sounds good when it’s played.
 A: Yeah shit’s different now, I fuck with picture discs too. I actually have an original picture disc I stole from my Freshman year roommate (who I’m never gonna see again so I don’t care) but it’s actually an unplayed copy of The Stix first album on picture disc that I think is worth a couple hundred dollars.

 J: How do you feel about the current state of vinyl collecting and the current accessibility of vinyl? Compared to the days before Record Store Day, Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble etc.
 A: The vinyl industry’s become more accessible for some people and less accessible for others, and it hasn’t really stayed the same for anybody. When you think about new vinyl, you need a pretty disposable income to be able to casually drop $20.00/$30.00 on one record, whereas you can damn near download anything for free. And if you wanna grab it on iTunes I think the running rate is like eight or nine dollars. But I think that vinyl’s only accessible to young people right now as a result of it being available from retailers like Urban Outfitters. It’s these, sort of behemoth retailers that are the reason why these kids know that vinyl collecting is a hobby you can even have. I look at any subculture like that as a funnel, the larger the funnel the stronger the stream. It is pretty crazy to see this kind of stuff at the mall though.

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Why is handwritten letters not a thing?

When was the last time you went to grab the mail and found a letter? That doesn’t include baby shower invitations or thank you notes from weddings. The letters that…when you open it, it greets you and follow-up with an update or great news. Nope, instead bills, credit card offers and random coupons are delivered to your door. Unsolicited.

Get this damn Sprint bill away from me. Why do Capitol One know who I am? Glory’s has beef bacon now?

I miss opening a letter and indulging in what’s going on in a friend’s life. I can see every detail and understand the feeling behind every pen stroke. Replying was just as exciting. You don’t know where to start. Sometimes you may want to save information for the next letter. And then the anticipation chimes in when you’re thinking to yourself like, ” I wonder what he/she is going to respond with?”.  Same thing when passing notes in class. I didn’t have my own phone up until my sophomore year in high school and it was only for emergency. Life was simple, I guess… Continue Reading