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ON THE SPOT with Storm Cuff

Our 'ON THE SPOT ' interview series highlights individuals throughout the creative community for their contributions to art and culture. Putting these artists "on the spot" we created a space where creatives and innovators tap into the conversation to uplift and continue to inspire the creative community. Next up is...Storm Cuff.

You can't fit her into just one box. Storm Cuff is an artist that focuses on an array of art forms and genres from photography, painting, creative directing, fashion, and dance. For Storm, art communicates ideas of love, euphoria, sexuality, and family through black and brown people. Desired to create stories of people who look like her and challenge the way black narratives are conventionally told in media spaces.

What's the best thing you've done, simply

because you were told you can't?

The best thing I’ve done and am still doing is learning how to be unafraid of my potential. Speaking transparently, I think for a while I’ve been afraid to get uncomfortable and allow myself to truly grow. I had all the right seeds, but was too apprehensive to plant them and cater to their needs. Now I am doing just that and because of that I’ve seen tremendous growth within myself as an artist, a person, a daughter, and a friend.

What does the statement "Phenomenal Women" mean to you?

A Phenomenal Woman is fierce and unapologetic. She carries herself with such effortless grace and poise. She has a solid back and a soft heart. Her spirit exudes love and zeal. A phenomenal woman is just as kind to herself as she is to others. She walks with long strides and her chin to the sky with confidence never arrogance. A phenomenal woman holds an energy so rare, it can’t be touched, disturbed, or destroyed. She embodies her femininity that is sculpted by her own notion, no one else's. A phenomenal woman is firmly aware of who she is and acknowledges her worth.

If you could build your dream creative team featuring all women who would it be?

My creative dream team would include my mother first and foremost, Melina Matsoukas, Solange, Bisa Butler, Deana Lawson, and Teyana Taylor.

Photo Credit:

Storm / @thekidinthestorm

What have you grown to love and/or outgrown in the past year?

I’ve grown to love photography. I enjoy being the person that captures a moment in time and telling stories through my lens. The way I have learned to view photography has changed and altered the way I see the world in my everyday life. It has redefined my eye and constructed a new lane of artistry to add to my creative repertoire. In addition, I have outgrown limiting myself to practicing one form of art. I started off as a dancer and I thought that was all I wanted to be until I invited other forms of art into my space to expand my mind. I’ve outgrown this idea that art is linear and that what you do with it has to remain in the lines and confined to just one not multiple. I’ve developed layers to my artistry and with those layers everything still remains connected, the roots still lead back to me and the love I have for what I do and will continue to do.

If you could change the way women are portrayed in the media, how would you?

If I could change the way women are portrayed in the media I would first invite more women into leadership roles on television/film sets, marketing/media teams, and editor/designer groups. I think if more women are in these rooms where decisions and creations are made, there is more likely to be a change in how they’re viewed. While there are more women working behind the scenes, I think in these stories about women they should be able to defy gender norms and stereotypes of what a woman “should” be or act like.

Who are the biggest women influences in your life and how have they shaped the artist you are today?

The biggest women influences in my life are my mother, my sister, and the women I named previously (Melina Matsoukas, Solange, Bisa Butler, Deana Lawson, and Teyana Taylor). Starting with my mother, she is my biggest advocate when it comes to my life in general and especially my art. Wherever I go, she is always right behind me with the warmest grin, cheering me on. She never fails to remain active and attentive in the million art projects I have going on at once. My sister also plays a huge role in being an influence. She is an artist too and I’ve watched her flourish within her creative space and develop who she is as an artist and a person. That alone has inspired me in my creative processes. Lastly, in regards to the list of women I’ve mentioned, they all are involved in different forms of art: directors, photographers, artists, singers. I aspire to gain knowledge of all of these worlds and combine them into my own.

Are there any particular themes or messages that you often explore in your work?

I center my work around black and brown people. I focus on themes involving love, euphoria, sexuality, spirituality, and family. I build my concepts for my photography and painting based off of these core themes because I desire to be someone that changes the narrative of people who look like me. I don’t want to paint pictures of black and brown people struggling or experiencing trauma. I am by no means ignoring the turmoil we continue to face in the world we live in, but that is the only story that is told about us. My art is a space for black love and the warmth and kindness that lives inside of it, it’s a space for black queer individuals basking in their identity, it’s a space for black families to flourish and heal.

What are you most unapologetic for?

I am unapologetic for being me. It’s as simple and can be as deep as that. I feel there’s no reason to apologize for my identity, my art, and the way I carry. I will constantly be growing, aging, and changing and through that I have to accept myself for me every step of the way.

If you had to title this era of your life, what would you call it?

This era of my life is called Welcome to the Thunderdome.

Photo Credit:

Storm / @thekidinthestorm

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