TODGI J. DOZIER
Name: Todgi J. Dozier
Location: Greensboro, NC
Bio: Todgi is an upcoming visual artist from Rocky Mount, NC and began her visual art company, The Black Onion in February 2016. The Black Onion puts a spin on physical healing and welcomes the opportunity as healing for the imagination; interpretation, and representation on what has been labeled normal all while advocating for diverse people. The Black Onion creates art based on personal experiences, memories, dreams, and current events to educate, uplift and advocate for equal rights of human beings, not specific to but especially for people of color. Todgi uses pops of color to draw in viewers but hopes that they see or feel deeper emotions once their attention has been captured. When you look at these pieces, you should think - think about helping people, think about childhood memories, think about what you can do to better the world.
Todgi doesn't ask that you like or love these pieces but let them inspire you to free your minds of conformity and routine and break from what is labeled normal, for there is no normal.
"My desire is that we all realize that we are people who should care for, love and support each other." - Todgi J. Dozier
Describe your experience as a current artist.
I am a full-time artist. I’ve been professionally pursuing art since February 2016. I have always had the gift of being able to draw, sketch, and craft but didn’t take myself seriously until I had numerous requests from colleagues to create gifts for parents or significant others. My purpose as an artist is to simply show that dreams are real and can happen if you work hard enough. I want people to know that so many emotions and memories can be evoked from something so simple as lines and colors painted on a canvas.
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
I was a full-time Landscape Architecture grad student with a part-time job as a waitress and shift manager prior to becoming an artist. After graduation, I continued waitressing while applying to several jobs with little to no success. If I did land a job or an interview, it wasn’t worth the offer. I found myself waking up and dreading going to work. Life is too short to waste time doing something you don’t love only to survive. I had a decent amount of money saved and had planned on quitting in April but decided I’d just had enough in February. I saved money by moving back home with my mother for a few months but was often traveling back to my college town to be surrounded by friends. I had support from friends and my mother though she wanted art to just be a side hustle but to still pursue a job in the field of my degrees….really just to have stability.
What was your biggest challenge n pursuing art and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been charging what my art is worth and maintaining clientele that is willing to pay what it’s worth. There is a delicate balance of having to pay bills and eat and compromising a piece’s worth.
Describe your biggest milestone or project/series achieved since pursuing your art.
My biggest achievement is getting art exposed to millions of viewers by making the “On Wednesdays We Paint” segment of The Shade Room. To have that kind of exposure to millions of people is big. I have applied this by creating even when I don’t feel like it or uninspired. You never know who’s watching and what catches their eye.
How does your personal style and identity translate into your artwork?
I consider myself to be a free spirit and I think my art translates this well. I don’t only paint what I like but I think there’s a little bit of truth in every lifestyle and people relate to different subjects. I keep myself grounded in faith but it’s important to recognize that humans have flaws and weaknesses. I welcome expressing flaws and downfalls of humans.
What is one thing that makes your art unique?
I paint unapologetically and I think that makes my art unique. Hush, hush subjects that are frowned upon speaking on openly, I boldly put them on canvas as colorful truths.
What is your favorite art technique and why?
I don’t particularly have a favorite technique but I do enjoy painting female figures. I think God made females one of the most beautiful beings on this earth. Being able to capture the different tones, highlights, and curves is amazing to me. I enjoy using bold/neon colors and metallics.
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration?
I keep myself grounded in God and faith. This gift of creating isn’t mine alone but a purpose that He gifted to me. I pray a lot and dream a lot to stay connected. I appreciate nature a lot so if I’m feeling down or uninspired, spending time with nature always cheers me up. I take a quote from one of my favorite artists, Miya Bailey… “I can’t afford to be uninspired” and I’ve adopted that mentality. Even if it’s not monetary, there’s always someone that could be reached or helped with my art and they can’t be helped if my ideas stay in my head.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals and/or owning her own business?
Just keep going and you are ENOUGH. I think most people get sidetracked with comparing themselves to the next person and what they create. You have to make people believe your story. I’m inspired by the quote, “Do good work and people will come”. I try my best to do quality work and be as professional as possible. I try to balance working hard but also enjoying time off to recuperate and not burn out.
What is next for you? (optional: you can include any upcoming shows, events, creative ventures, or goals here too;)
I’d like to open a studio/gallery that eventually becomes a nonprofit creative space for troubled children and adults. I’d also like for my work to be featured in black cinema, black television, and black magazines.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
Being a black girl who paints welcomes the opportunity to paint freely and openly without being judged. It’s a huge position of power to create something meaningful and shocking an audience by your hue and sex.