I Create Birmingham: Alyssa Moore & Shea Washington

“The academy has given me some confidence in my artwork. At first I didn’t really think of it as anything more than scribbles, but now I look at my work as art. It has helped me realize that there are some good parts of Ensley, and people want to change the way their community is viewed.”

Name: Alyssa Moore & Shea Washington
Occupation: Students at Kuumba Community Arts
Creative Industry: Design
1. What impact has the Kuumba Design Academy had on you as a student, an artist, and a resident of Ensley?

Alyssa: Kuumba has impacted me as a student because it has taught me a new skill I never thought I would be good at. As in artist it has propelled my knowledge of graphic design and the standards of graphic design. I’ve gotten to work with a type of computer I’m not used to, but have learned to be just as efficient with it.

Shea: Kuumba Design Academy has had a huge impact on my life because I know that if I didn’t go here I would probably be sitting at home wasting away and failing all my classes. Kuumba Design Academy has given me a reason to want to do better. The academy has also given me some confidence in my artwork because at first I didn’t really think of it as anything more than scribbles but now I look at my work as art. Also it (especially this recent project we did for The Junction) has helped me realize that there are some good parts of Ensley and people want to change the way their community is viewed.

2. Tell us about Ensley through your eyes.
Alyssa: Ensley is my home. I go to church in Ensley, practice piano and got my first job here. It is the place I have been able to express myself ever since I was a little girl.

Shea: Ensley has always been unique to me. I see all the culture, music, and art that I see when I just walking down the street. I hear people of different races speaking their native tongue. I hear people blasting music and communing with friends and family. And I see the big houses with all their various colors.

3. Where did your interest in graphic design come from? Where do you hope it takes you?
Alyssa: My interest in graphic design came from my longing to know as much as I can about the arts. I plan on opening a non-profit that centers on uncommon interests. Graphic design as an art form was not something I was familiar with. Now that I have enough knowledge and connections to people who are pretty close to mastering the art, like some of my coworkers, I can be prepared to have it in the future.

Shea: When I was in middle school I started redesigning logos for different stores I would see, like Walmart or Taco Bell. Also, I was assigned a project to come up with a product, make a logo then put it on a business card and a flyer, create an advertising video, and then present it to my teacher. I was the best at completing projects and turning them in on time but this project I completed and had the most fun doing! I knew from then on that I was interested in graphic design and tried to learn as much as I could on my own. After attending the academy I have realized that I missed some crucial parts.

4. Alyssa: What would you like your non-profit to accomplish? How do you plan to expand globally?
My non-profit will hopefully not just be in one state. I plan to have one in multiple locations across the country and one in a foreign country, hopefully Africa. I want it to hinge of the same aspects as Kuumba which is a safe environment to learn a skill, helping learn about the business and social aspects of life, and get us a step forward in being successful people.

5. Shea: What graphic design projects are you most drawn to?
I am not particularly drawn to any specific projects, but I do like creating logos with hidden meanings because watching someone realizing the hidden meaning is so exciting to me.

For more info please visit kuumbaensley.wordpress.com