Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadia “ Miss 88” Personally would not like to disclose my last name.
Hi Nadia, “ Miss 88”, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started my artist career fresh out of high school. Art has always been a passion of mine since a young child. My father was a painter, and my mom was a jewelry maker. When I was getting ready to graduate high school, I was offered a job at my trade school, where I was studying graphic design. It was a graphic design job I was getting. But when I arrived at my job, my boss told me, “90% of the time, we make funeral obituaries” I was like ok, that’s fine. I didn’t overthink it. I was getting paid weekly and was very calm at 17. In such a serious work condition, I messed up a few times and almost even got fired. I realized the job I was in required me to find the beauty in grief, and I did that, touching multiple families in St. Louis with a heartfelt obituary. College arrived, and I had to leave the job, but now I had more free time to focus on my artwork. I picked up a job at Michael’s (October 2018). One day before closing.
The bandanas section triggered an idea in my mind. I wanted to make a bag. I made a couple of bags in the middle of the year, but it wasn’t anything compared to what I was thinking now. I bought a bunch of black bandanas. I found a crossbody messenger bag online and applied the bandanas and an iridescent small skull centerpiece. Still not complete with it, covered the same bag with red Bandanas and a cross jewel. That’s when I knew I would make multiple bandana bags, and I did. Most of the colors, shapes, and sizes were custom for people around St. Louis and even had some people in New York & Houston with them.
Ideas kept ringing, and now I wanted to do a full-blown ski mask. I did a lot to make it happen but not enough. But my drive wasn’t as fast to make it. I was already tired of the traditional print and wanted something else, and that’s when I quit Michael’s & ended back up at the print shop back, making obituaries but now making t-shirts. My boss then opened up a t-shirt shop connected to the print shop before I quit to attend college. April 2019, everything was connected and back opened. Since I already had graphic design skills + learned quick finesses from challenges with the obituaries, I was confident enough to start producing t-shirts. I made a lot for myself in the beginning and advised it instantly on Instagram as soon as I got it off the heat press or had a fit for it. People ate it up and demanded they needed one, so I started to sell t-shirts on and off for about a year and a half. I learned a lot about business and knew I didn’t have the patience for it. I loved the money. But I just wanted to create. I took a break from it because I felt overwhelmed with ideas and was constantly putting out multiple designs at a time all by myself. COVID hit, and I started back then for a short time, but the old feelings of getting burnt out came back again, and this time I knew I wasn’t going back to doing t-shirts anymore. Some people could catch me, and I’ll hook them up, but I need time to go back and do this for real on my terms and harder than ever. Since 2020, I’ve been experiencing on my terms with what I wanted to do; next, I was conflicted with life battles, and I did have an artist block for a minute. Now and then, I would pop out with something custom, 1/1, or whatever. In May 2021, I was happy to announce that I was the youngest board member for St. Louis ArtWorks. Following months later, in November, I revealed a large painting I had been working on for months called “CREAMSICKLE” everybody loved it, and I was excited about the support I was getting. However, I had a love-hate relationship with it and still somewhat do, don’t ask why.
Following the massive uproar in my art career, 2022 was calling my name. Since the year started, I quit my jobs and started living for myself and my art passion. On June 10th, I had my first art show called “All I Needed Was One Sip.” My first time was trying lean in 10th grade and taking that one experience, a pharmacy job, music I listened to, life experiences & more, and turning it into a show connected to my life. Nervous about it all, I had a great turnout! About 250 people came and supported me. I’m still somewhat overwhelmed by my experience, but I’m forever grateful. I plan on letting the whole world know who I am and what I do, and I can’t wait till you all see what’s in store next for me. Everything is possible, and I won’t stop until I make it happen.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Art is not a smooth road. This is one of the rawest fields you can be in. One day you can be up. One day you can be down bad. I have been in both positions multiple times but never folded. I made something shake, and I believed Allah would guide me through this every time, and he did. Some of my struggles depended on people’s words and the invisible money that was supposed to be in my pocket. Never believe anything till the money is in your hand. People love to talk about WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it too—Bullshitted as an artist and human being. I’ll admit it and do my best to fix it every time I can catch it, but hopefully, somebody will call your bullshit if they truly love you and care for you. The person who did that for me was my mother. I love her the most for that. She stressed to me about having a “portfolio” for school, questioned every piece I made, and asked, “Is this going into your portfolio” I would catch an attitude and say no. The pieces I was making weren’t it, I didn’t feel they were “perfect” enough for that, and honestly, I didn’t care for a portfolio. I also was going through a tough time figuring out myself, worrying about nonsense, and fighting an artist block beside, I’m going to be successful. Why would I care to please a school with my “portfolio”? As you can see, I’m not such a fan of school. It’s beneficial for some people and kind of for me, but I knew I didn’t need school to boost my art career.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist. I specialize in painting and sculpture work. I’m mostly known for my t-shirts and paintings/portraits. I’m most proud of the amount of work I generated for my first solo art show (6 pieces). What sets me apart from others is how much of my work connects me and my life in multiple extraordinary ways. I always have some backstory to tell with my artwork. It’s insane but intriguing.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
I necessarily don’t need anything to balance me out while working besides music & maybe television now and then when I want to lock in seriously on a piece and have background noise. The show called “The Wire” is one of the things I’ll have running in my background when it’s Go Mode. That’s forever my show.
photos by – @malikfabinm & @fivedollacam