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A budding artist has recently been thrust into the limelight all due to a single Instagram re-post by megastar Beyoncé.
A couple weeks ago, 20-year-old Baltimore artist, Briah Neale posted her painting of Beyoncé on her Instagram and it was re-posted by Beyoncé, which has since garnered immense attention towards Neale and her art work. The recognition which Neale has received by Beyoncé is something that she is humbled by and still in awe of.
“I was honored to have her recognize my artwork, I appreciate any and everyone who loves my artwork but it is amazing to have the person you created for to feel the same as well, sort of like an affirmation of a job well done. Beyoncé is very influential, not just in the music industry but in the world…right now it still hasn’t sunken it yet,” Neale said.
Neale has always dreamed of becoming an artist but she did not think that her dream would manifest so suddenly.
“I can remember being that kid in second when asked what I wanted to be saying an artist, or sitting on the curb at recess with my best friend drawing. I never wanted anything more; I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. However, I didn’t expect the recognition to come at all I never thought my art would have this affect. I just create because it’s what I love and I still would without any accolades or praise,” Neale said.
Neale has been painting in her animation style for about four years now and she first learned how to manipulate oil paints in the summer of 2009 during a portfolio building course taken at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
“The skills I learned there were traditional stylings but I have recently come into my own style, giving each of my pieces a sort of pop art feel,” Neale said.
The Beyoncé piece is 14 x 17″ and it is mixed media on a Bristol board. She used everything from a sharpie marker, to Speedball inks, acrylic paint, oil paints and gouache. She wanted it to be fun and playful like the image but she chose a more pastel palette because it seemed softer. Neale imagined Beyoncé being “very dainty, very feminine and I wanted to play on that.”
The enormous attention surrounding Neale and her work has become a whirlwind with her receiving countless emails, inquiries and comments through email Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram regarding the prints of the Beyoncé piece. She did not realize how many people saw the painting until requests started pouring in. She has heard from Singapore, Japan, France, Thailand, Australia, Canada, Germany, and London and all over the UK.
“Beyoncé has diehard fans who just want to feel like they have a piece of her and knowing she approves makes it that much more special,” Neale said.
Having such a strong demand for prints, Neale has decided to sell 99 exclusive prints that will be autographed for authenticity. She is building a website and will be releasing them and have her other artwork showcased at the top of this year.
“I chose to do 99 copies because to me the piece was special so I wanted it to be a rarity, a treasure. That much more exclusive knowing that only 99 in the world have been made and once they are gone they are gone. I will not do a reprint, each one of them will be number 1 of 99, 2 of 99 and so forth,” Neale said. She also plans to get the original piece sent to Beyoncé in the near future.
For Neale, having Instagram as the media outlet that got her noticed was a shock but it was not completely unexpected.
“I know the influence that social media has on my generation and the world as a whole in today’s society. I knew very well that it could be a gateway to get my artwork exposure, but I never imagine it would happen so quickly and on a scale of this magnitude,” Neale said.
She is grateful for the rise in recognition and as far as what it will do for the future it has definitely gotten her name out there and even better on a global platform.
“I am so excited for what is next for me, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me, and I can’t wait to show the world my full potential.”