Beyond The Expectation for Perfection: A Conversation with Daisha MB

NC:  Looking at a sampling of your work on social media, my first question for you is, do you consider your art a form of self love?

Daisha:  Yes — now I do.  Initially I didn’t … but the more I noticed that art started to give me a voice, the more I was able to say “this is something that I need to to do help myself as well” … it’s helping you get your ideas out, giving you a voice, and giving you an opportunity to meditate. 

NC:  Is art also a spiritual practice for you?

Daisha:  It’s come to a point where if I’m not painting, I am thinking about painting, and if I’m not thinking about painting, it will cross my mind that I should be painting later on.  Whenever I am painting I listen to a lot of jazz music; it is “me time” that I take very seriously.



NC:  As an artist who paints a lot of penetrating portraits and tributes to black artists, activists and visionaries, do you feel politically or culturally compelled to paint these subjects, or is it more of a personal journey for you as a black artist, or something else?

Daisha: It’s a little mix, actually.  Some subjects are personal role models for me, and some made a significant impact in our culture.  I like to point out people who ‘don’t get their flowers,’ basically, and many times they are personal heroes for me as well. 

NC:  How would you describe some of your more abstract pieces, for example “Brain Break Pt. II”?  

Daisha:  [Abstract art] pushes me outside my comfort zone.  People don’t realize that abstract art is really hard because you have to go away from being ‘perfect’ and be very non-judgmental of yourself.  It’s a practice to push acceptance of imperfection and make something beautiful out of it.  In grad school and I literally needed a “brain break” … I would start by trying to slow my mind all the way down and just make a line, and then, start looking at it and working at it from different angles.  It’s about pushing your imagination beyond the expectations for perfection.

There is so much pressure to be perfect.  We’re human.  You’re denying parts of yourself when you force perfection.  Letting it be wrong … is really healthy.


“Brain Break Pt. II” by Daisha MB


NC:  How would you describe your ideal creative environment or studio in just a few words?

Daisha:  Light.  I love windows, I love light.  And space to be messy.  My ideal art room has a couch to relax, a projector for listening or watching, or preparing a piece.  And real easels, not the metal ones that break all the time.  And a drawing desk, books, and anything to help me with my creativity.   But mostly, lighting and space to be messy!

NC:  Are there any specific practices or rituals you engage in to foster a sense of healing, inspiration, or self-care in your artistic process?

Daisha:  To help me even get into the mind space, I do meditate.  My meditation could be reading the Bible or just staring at the world.  It could be looking at other forms of art, too.  It is all about grounding myself and being okay with exactly where I am and accepting myself for exactly who I am — which means accepting my ideas for exactly what they are.

NC:  What are your biggest current sources of inspiration?

Daisha:  One, I love going to art galleries to be inspired by other artists and how other peoples brains work.  

Two, I love to read and look at what is going on culturally, and discerning what are things that might need voice or promotion.  I did my recent Frida Kayla painting after watching a film about her and deciding that despite all the hype she gets, she STILL doesn’t get enough credit.

Thirdly, I would say just the world and my surroundings, including music.  I know music is poetry, but certain music talks about mental health and life in ways that I do want to translate into a piece.  My paining “Hue: For Troubled Boys” is a painting of a black man painted in all different shades of blue.  It comes from a song called “For Colored Boys” by Kota The Friend which for me is about how it’s okay to be gentle with yourself and grow through what you’ve been through.  Black men especially suffer from a stigma that they can’t be as vulnerable.  By making the blue hue the face of a person, it’s encouraging acceptance of vulnerability, and how it’s okay to go through a depression in order to heal.  


“Hue: For Colored Boys” by Daisha MB


NC:  Can you talk about a particular body of work or project/piece of yours that had a personal transformative or healing effect on you as the creator, or perhaps, on others?

Daisha:  Oh my gosh, yes.  I went through a lot of mental health stuff in Fall of 2021 and it basically shut me down.  I painted a little bit to pass the time, but this one day, I started what I called a “F*** You Board” and I just wrote down all the anger I had on this board.  And after that, I painted over it and just allowed myself to be free with my palette knife.  I called it “Cope” … when I started it I wanted to be super perfect, and then I got pissed.  It was transformative because I allowed myself to be completely free with my emotions.  It was one of the first time I allowed myself to be free with the palette knife, and since then, everything else has followed.

NC:  It sounds like a breakthrough!

Daisha:  It really was, and at the most unexpected time.  Sometimes you need the moments of hurt — as sucky as it is.  You just want to scream and yell and skip over it, and your whole body hurts, but something always comes out of it.  

NC:  Do you often establish an intention or purpose before embarking on a new creative project? 

Daisha:  Yes and no. For example, I had already started an Angela Davis piece when the Ralph Yarl shooting happened, just up the street from where I live.  My own brother and sister do ‘Doordash’ and ‘Uber Eats’ deliveries all the time, and could easily go to the wrong house by accident.  I started to build the piece to show unity and solidarity, and some of my anger, and added some of her quotes onto there as it formed. 

I always do Instagram live’s when I paint, and I always tell the audience I have no idea how it’s going to come out!

NC:  How do you feel about the role the artist plays in metabolizing as well as creating understanding and awareness of societal trauma?

I think art plays a huge part in this because it’s gonna draw your eye in, and then you stare at it, and want to understand it and the messaging.  I think art actually has an obligation to make a statement because people are naturally going to want to understand it.

NC:  Is there any conflict for you between the personal and introspective process of creating art and the desire to either connect with a broader audience, or the need to make income?

Daisha:  I recently took a sabbatical from work, and I tried to use my art as best I could to make money but I noticed I still had to stay true to what ”my art” is … when you’re doing it just for the funds of it, your work is not going to be as good because you’re too focused on what other people want.  I want to focus on what I want and not force what comes out of it.  

NC:  How would you advise other humans who might want to make income from their art, but also personally employ artistic practice as a means for decolonizing their own consciousness, and healing from capitalist trauma?  Does that irony or potential conflict even matter?

Daisha:  My whole thing is focus on the healing first. Everything else will come after.  If you’re focused on the money, you’re not going to be authentic and your art’s going to be skewed.  You’re also going to be focused on imperfection, which also will make it skewed. People will invest in authenticity.  If it’s just another commodity then the question will still be “what’s so special about it?”

NC:  What’s next for you? 

Daisha:  Eventually I’m going to be painting full time.  I just want to wake up and paint.  When I go to sleep I am thinking about what I can paint.  I love how people are starting to resonate with my art, and seeing people believe in me makes me want to try more and try different things.  I have an interview coming up for something called “The Pitch” and have my art in a gallery here in Kansas City.  I frequently do Instagram and Facebook Live’s to engage with people, and I also paint live in person.  I love to show people imperfection!  Sharing that is humbling for me, and I think people get something from it.



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