The Harlem Renaissance was an era where artists (often from other parts of the country) convened in Harlem to create and showcase their art. The residual effects of that by-gone era continue to have a significant impact on aspiring and professional artists everywhere. One such artist is Trina Slade-Burks. Born in Harlem Hospital and raised in Marble Hill, Trina comes from a family of artists. She says that art is in her blood and even married an artist (Anthony Burks) and is now raising two sons who have also inherited the artistic gene.
Trina recently took some time out of her hectic schedule to answer a few questions for Uptown Flavor about her inspiration for creating art and her first book that was self-published this summer.
Q: Uptown Flavor is a Harlem-based blog. What is your Harlem connection?
A: I am Harlem born: 149 W. 142 Street.
Q: When did you first know that you were called to be an artist?
A: I come from from a long lineage of artists. My mother, my great aunt, great uncle & uncle, many cousin. In high school (Cardinal Spellman) I was forced to change my major from math to art. I didn’t realize until my mid-20’s that I was destined to be an artist. I never looked back.
Q: What is the most challenging and the most rewarding part of your journey as an artist?
A: The most challenging is to get other artists to understand that this is our way of life. I hate hearing stories about fellow artists being nickeled & dimed by galleries. We work very hard at what we do and deserve to be treated with great respect & admiration. Pay us what we are worth.
The rewards are when I have a student or a fellow artist approach me and say how they are inspired by what I am doing for the cause. I know then that I am doing something right.
Q: Do you believe that you have reached the pinnacle of your art yet? Why or why not?
A: I absolutely have not reached that pinnacle yet. When I can call every client, source, artist and get exactly what I need at any given moment…when I and all the artists I represent go international…when you call Oprah and she knows all of the artists that I represent and has at least one of our pieces and books…then MAYBE I have reached the top of where I need to be as an artist and art advocate…and I mean that seriously.
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: I live in Florida now. I am working with the West Palm Beach Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority along with my husband and local students to do a salute to The Harlem Renaissance at the end of the month. My husband has his second one man show coming up in September. I am in NYC this month finalizing two book signing locations for October. One will be in Harlem. An artist never sleeps.
Q: Please tell our readers how they can get a copy of your book.
A. You can get my book of poetry, art & affirmations called What is My Priority? on my online bookstore at www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/784633.
Trina Slade-Burks is a multimedia artist who has been influenced by creative writing, visual arts, music, and theatrical art disciplines. After graduating from college in Fort Lauderdale with a degree in Visual Communications Trina married a fellow artist whom she met in college, and together they have journeyed on to the next level of exposing people to what makes the world a better place. ART. Besides nurturing other creative souls they are raising their two teenage sons Anthony Jr., 16 & Raymond, 13; who are equally as creative as their parents. Visit her online portfolio at www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/d/dizeimage