VIBE Vixen: Khia! Jackson VIBE Vixen: Khia! Jackson

Vixen Initiation: Commercial Artist Khia! Jackson

With her eye for vivid color and bold, declarative elements that inspire future vision, it’s no wonder that Khia! Jackson has become an in-demand designer for a host of fashion houses and creative agencies. This Caribbean daughter and technicolor mastermind has created a slew of iconography for clients like Azzuré, Heatherette, Disney, Rocawear, Jordache, and VIBE Magazine. Plus, she’s been one of the primary go-to people for pop powerhouse Beyoncé and her domain of brands. In addition to working as head graphic designer for the Deréon and House of Deréon labels, Khia! recently created t-shirt concepts for Ms. Knowles’ “Move Your Body” anthem as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" program.

With a willingness to explore a variety of mediums as she opens up her own studio in Atlanta, Khia! has just produced the innovative webisode series Drawn Out with media house Visually Inklined; the pilot, featuring rapper Joell Ortiz, is set to launch next month on VIBE.com.

Vixen spoke to this accomplished entrepreneur about her history, her philosophies on art vs. design, and what it takes to run your own business.

When did you first start to draw? What was the feeling like holding pen or pencil in hand and creating?
I first began drawing when I was about 4 or 5. My family and I were in the Caribbean. I had an art teacher who taught us students how to make a palm tree with coconuts and two humps at the base for sand. I became obsessed with that little drawing, making it over and over. It was on and popping from that moment on. For all creative people, I feel like there’s a compelling force that pushes you to make something. For illustrators, your pencil is your vehicle. It’s like pouring lime juice through a sieve and making lemonade.  Something natural and raw on one side becoming something tasty and sweet on the other.

Beyoncé in Let's Move t-shirt designed by Khia! Jackson

Beyoncé in Let's Move T-shirt designed by Khia! Jackson

What made you decide to go into design as a career?
I love that design is commercial. It's not elitist. It’s art that allows you to speak to broad audiences with the most varied materials. Fine art often focuses on the artist’s life and perspective, whereas design is speaking directly to an audience. When you design a chair, it needs to be comfortable, it needs to be attractive, it needs to fit the person’s body… it always has to appeal to a group of people. Design always has to appeal in function to a larger audience than fine art. People use design. They sit on it, use it to open their cans. Even if I do a piece that’s considered art, it’s always commercial, for the masses.

Speaking of the divide between art and design, you have a whimsical illustration style yet you're also able to come up with elegant designs, a la your logo for Déreon. How are you able to exist in both worlds?
[Laughing.] Well, when I design for myself, things do get pretty pop, that's true. But when you design for a client, you’re meeting their needs and speaking to their audience, so you translate your skills to do just that. It's not as difficult as you would imagine.

Are there any artists or designers you would name as influences?
I'm influenced by Karim Rashid, Insa, Banksy,  Alexander McQueen, Roy Lichtenstein, and Archie comics.

What are the rewards and challenge of being an entrepreneur?
Working for yourself gives you a freedom that’s hard to walk away from once you've had it. I can take the day off when I want to and know I still have job. I can prioritize my work vs. my life more than an employee can. But you also have to steer your own ship, meaning you have to market yourself and manage your own time and the people that work for you. The pressures of the business are all mine to navigate and there’s no clocking out.

What advice would you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a design career?
Your relationship with people is key. Every major job I've gotten is because someone not only liked my work, but also liked me as a person.  In the creative world, that's rare and valuable. Also make sure that all legal agreements protect your interests—especially if they were generated by your client. Shoot for extended contracts; building new relationships takes time and money. And don't be afraid to align yourself with someone who can do the things you don’t do well. I woke up one day and realized that I'm a big old softie… so I went out and got myself a shark. My new agent is Ari Gold in a skirt!

Check out some of her artwork below:

For more information on Khia! and her work, visit khiajackson.com

From the Web

More on Vibe

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

Continue Reading
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Trina Braxton’s Ex-Husband, Gabe Solis, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Trina Braxton (@trinabraxton1) on Dec 21, 2018 at 9:49am PST

READ MORE: Phaedra Parks To Join 'Braxton Family Values' Cast

Continue Reading

Top Stories