South Carolina artist I’ja Charles uses superpower to spread joy


Though her expertise has garnered countrywide awareness, Ija Charles’ serious energy lies in her like for individuals and the community.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ija Charles is a superhero. Armed with creative talent and an attitude of gratitude, she spreads joy to every single canvas her paintbrushes touch.

“I’m likely to use my superpowers to enable,” said Charles.

Whilst her talent has garnered countrywide notice from celebrities, city leaders, and countrywide organizations, her genuine electricity lies in her really like for people today and the neighborhood.

“A whole lot of individuals may well go by way of existence and know there’s not a lot of very good, but if I designed you smile for a next, then I did my position,” the 25-calendar year-old spelled out. “I cannot help most people, but I know my function will reach much more people than I will ever get to converse to in my lifestyle.”

Her mission assertion is “painting positive vibes on the canvas of life” which she has been doing considering that grade university.

The self-taught artist found out her love for artwork for the duration of childhood. “It was remedy for me,” Charles stated. “Growing up, as I dealt with points, no matter if at school or property, rather of having a negative route, art was my escape.”

Even however her parents, who are veterans, were being not constantly capable to manage art provides, they supported her passion with constant encouragement, aid, and appreciate. “They allow me be me,” Charles stated. “They ended up constantly there to pat me on the again and let me know, ‘We never know wherever you are going, but we’re below for you as lengthy as you are giving 110% to on your own,” she recalled.

Over the a long time, as her talent grew, so did the awareness her work acquired from friends, academics, and neighborhood members.

Focused to pursuing art as a entire-time occupation, Charles ongoing doing work to cultivate her talent. “I would paint shots for folks for $25 and get them performed really, definitely immediately whether or not I’m at the bowling alley or at school,” Charles recalled. “I got me really at ease with performing things outdoors of my convenience zone.”

At 17-many years-outdated, Charles became a nationally commissioned artist, building the initially at any time black record month banners for the city of Houma, Louisiana.

Similar: SC Pupil Commissioned For Portray In Louisiana City

Soon after graduating from Westwood Significant Faculty, Charles moved to New Orleans and labored in quite a few various roles such as as a cake decorator and Mardi Gras float decorator.

After creating herself as an artist, she moved again to the Palmetto Point out.

“I feel like South Carolina is misunderstood, misrepresented and people today are generally leaving,” Charles stated. “I am not going wherever.”

Considering the fact that returning to the Midlands, Charles has completed at least 15 murals in South Carolina. Residents can see her do the job on the sides of numerous properties together with Richland Library on Assembly Road, in the “The Miracles of Cayce” art corridor, as properly as inside of immersion – an interactive artwork gallery on Principal Street in downtown Columbia.

Similar: New mural additional to the ‘original heart’ of Cayce

Charles is also dependable for the mural at the corner of Washington and Principal Road commemorating Columbia’s Black Wall Street. It was a thriving black small business from the early 20th century by means of the early 1970’s according to the Richland Library.  

Linked: Neighborhood artist produces mural commemorating Black heritage in Columbia

Her talent has also gained national praise as she was tapped to build a piece for the NFL’s National Artist Replay Initiative and highlighted on Wager (Black Amusement Tv). 

Connected: Community artist featured by the NFL

Whether or not a personalized piece or a mural, Charles pours her feelings into each individual painting. “It’s a part of me, they are my kids,” She defined. “When folks purchase my function, they are using a soul with them.”

When her perform is a sort of therapy, it is also an chance to honor communities of colour. “I experience like it is irresponsible for you not to build things that are primarily based off what you know, I know my men and women,” Charles said. “To be equipped to distribute a renaissance of pleasure to my local community by showcasing individuals that appear like me, seem like you…it just helps make me truly feel superior to be equipped to do one thing like that.”

Charles is booked and hectic with a number of new assignments lined up. Even nevertheless she has a lot on her plate, she hopes to locate time to mentor up-and-coming artists in the hopes they can avoid the difficulties she confronted navigating the business.

She also hopes to create murals exterior of the United States and has taken an fascination in animation.

No issue wherever her talents get her, Charles states the Palmetto Condition will constantly be house. “I just want to deliver it (pleasure) to South Carolina due to the fact it’s been introduced to me all my lifetime.”

Relevant: Area artist Ija Charles highlighted at Columbia airport by May well

Linked: New art at Richland Library honors Black Life Issue motion


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