BXTRA with Raheem Nelson–iPad Artist

–Tatyana Turner

In 2010, the world was introduced to an iPad, a tablet computer that serves as a computer, music device, and movie player amongst other functions. Little did anyone know, this technological advancement birthed a new genre of art…iPad art.

Seven years later, I was introduced to a creative gentleman at a social event. He was drawing remarkable portraits of people in under 10 minutes! I was impressed and knew that he had to come on BXTRA to share his work.

A few days after Christmas, I met with Raheem and honestly, I was excited because there was a lot to learn about iPad art, but first I wanted to cover the basics. ” What is your definition of art?” I asked. Raheem responded, ” Self-expression; putting forth something you think is part of yourself.” Something he has been doing since the age of seven.

Raheem has a background in cartooning and throughout high school and college, he was able to self-publish a number of comic books. When the iPad was introduced, he took to a new medium and created his works on a digital platform. Drawing and painting works of art on the iPad was not a hobby for Raheem, it was a lifestyle. Within the past year alone, his works were published in books, one was a cook book filled with tasty recipes for the holidays!

Many if not all the people who are in a creative field must overcome a tedious struggle. ” Do you ever get ‘artists block?” I asked.  ” I definitely get artists block from time to time,” said Raheem. The solution…taking a break and getting inspired by checking out different works of art and scrolling through Pinterest.

Though the talented artist is from New Haven, CT., he was still very influenced by the Bronx. “From the Elm to the Empire,” was the result of his inspiration. For four years, Raheem illustrated a book that captured his two-hour commute between New Haven to New York City. Aside from the book, Raheem created an album cover for one of his favorite neo-soul music groups called, “King.” He also created a portrait honoring the singer, Solange Knowles which portrays the message of self-care. To date, the portrait is Raheem’s proudest art piece and he hopes for Solange to one day see it.

When asked to describe his work in one word, Raheem chose the word, “vibrant.” For me, I chose, “wow”, but if I had to choose another word, without hesitation, I’d choose extraordinary!

To see the full episode of Raheem Nelson, click the link below.

Do Good. Stay Well. BXTRA.

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Tatyana Turner is a Bronx native who grew up in the Mott Haven and Grand Concourse sections of the borough. She has experience in print journalism and photography. In December 2016, Tatyana graduated from Temple University with a degree in Communication Studies and returned to her home in the Bronx where she is applying her skills to further discover the extraordinary people and places in the place she calls home.

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