I am Aja Moon, a Black Female Artist from Washington, DC. I painted my first painting on June 7, 2020, just one week after closing my thriving Reiki business. I was grieving the temporary loss of my healing space, of the trust connections I had made with so many strangers, of the tears and revelations that poured in that room. From June 7 to July 7, a 30 day span, I painted 22 paintings. Each painting was a catharsis. I wasn’t trying to make beautiful art. I had a simple strategy, figure out what I was feeling, find a picture that depicted that and challenge myself to paint it. I wasn’t concerned with sales, marketing, collectors or critique. I’ve learned to trust my craftsmanship enough to believe that I can consistently create great art. I have finally taken what I learned at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and coupled it with the pure desire to emote through the paint brush. The Academy provided a classical framework and theoretical understanding of an approach to create art. As a DC Native, I understand that there is no such thing as fitting in. DC girls don’t fit in anywhere. We are different by birth. It’s not enough to stand out, you have to give them a reason to never forget you; a reason to properly pronounce your name. Thats what I intend to do with my art. When you see it, you feel it. Every single time.
creatHER: constructing the Black Woman
creatHER: constructing the Black Woman is a seven piece collection that explores Black radiant feminine energy, tasseled and adorned in strength, tears, racism, sexism and identity. Those featured in this collection include: Judge Shannon Frison of the Massachusetts Superior Court, Issa Rae, Screenwriter and Actress, Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Peace Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2011), The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson, US Supreme Court Justice, Chaka Khan, Musician and Award Winning Recording Artist, Viola Davis, Award Winning Actress and Best Selling Author and Pearl Cleage, fiction author. I chose these women, meticulously. I chose them because I could relate to them and I wasn’t afraid to see myself in their greatness. I painted larger canvases to remind myself that this is and will always be bigger than me. I wanted to offer myself to the conversation of elegance in Black Femininity, I chose these women based on my desire to push my acceptance of my greatness further. I wasn’t afraid to project my own uniqueness, intersectionality, audacity and liberation. I chose them because I am not afraid of my own light and their light reflected on me amplifies that within. I believe in my authenticity and the mastery of my craft.
I thoroughly enjoyed the honor of investigating the many layers and colors of what it truly means to be a Black Woman. After spending just one year at the Academy of Art University, I was consistently confronted with my Blackness, a Blackness that I have questioned for years. I was obviously Black, but never Black enough. Instead of being a Black Woman, I was consistently conceptualizing and analyzing Black Women and I never measured up. I learned that Black Women are unique. They come in so many forms, shapes, sizes and colors. But each is different in their own way. Black Women are fearless. Black Women press against the borders and exist within the intersections. It is the intersections that matter the most. Where you can be yourself as a Black Woman, but also relate to other cultures and speak the language of their heart. With a background in healing, I synchronized my intuitive ability and research skills to explore my own boundaries as a Black Woman. I constructed this Black Woman from ashes of insecurity, sexual assault, harassment and consistently being misunderstood. I constructed this Black Woman from abandonment and disrespect. I burned down the buildings that were created by those who were blinded by my light and reshaped the broken tools provided to develop a foundation of pure, unconditional self-love. I was inspired by the elegant women in this collection who presented themselves as the standard for the sophistication that lies within this beautiful dark skin and the humility in their radiant hearts and minds. As I worked through each piece, I was captivated by the work of each of these women. I was able to read their novels, listen to their interviews and watch their rise to success. We see others reach levels of success and we often times desire to know how they’ve done it, step by step processes. By studying these women included in this collection, I was able to understand that the very first step they took was to acknowledge themselves, to acknowledge the greatness within. There is no dream or idea that is placed in your heart that you cannot achieve. These woman knew that. They didn’t initially set out to make change, they set out to follow what was placed in their hearts. Evoking change was a by product of their authenticity. I listened to them recount the many ways that they have constructed themselves out of the ashes of inferiority to their white or even male counterparts and rose to their own gleaming opulence. I am she and she is me and together we tell the story of the Black Woman.