We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Rachel Crosby. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Rachel below.
Rachel, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
The most meaningful project I’ve worked on so far, would have to be the mural I did for “Black Love Mural Fest” in 2021. I was hand selected out of 60 other artists to create a large-scale curation in Civics Center Park! It was such a great opportunity to not only be surrounded by Black artists, but to be able to represent so many communities within my work. I decided to do the mural in a Wimmelbilder style (which is like a Where’s Waldo- style illustration) that you can look at for a long period of time and point out different things. My worked focused on a variety of topics from tree equity, homelessness, environmental injustices, police brutality, missing children, DACA among many other things that I feel should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I titled the work “We the People” because as a collective it is our responsibility to use what we can to educate and act on these issues.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
Hello there! My name is Rachel Crosby aka Leanna Rae. Leanna being my middle name (also my grandmothers) and Rae being my nickname. I am an emerging artist based in Denver, Colorado holding space to acknowledge the work that was accomplished from generations prior, while focusing on creating narratives that elevate the collective. My medium I use to create is acrylic and oil paint and sometimes I like to play around with mixed media to give 3D effects. I sell prints, originals, puzzles ( dopepieces.art), bags and more artparel on the way! I believe in the quote by the late James Baldwin “Artists are here to disrupt the peace.” As a creative I will do my best to make sure I am using the gift I received to share knowledge and truth about the world around us. My influences are far and wide ranging from music artists like Billie Holiday to visual artist like Jordan Casteel. My goal is to create accessible bodies of work that can start conversations, spark emotions, and add to the narrative of all the amazing things Black people have accomplished and have yet to accomplish.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
A lesson for me that I had/must continue to unlearn is that things need to happen at a certain time in your life. There is always such a urgency in this society that at this age you should be here in your career, family, finances etc.. and although it’s great to have goals and vision over your life, I am learning to trust in God’s timing especially when it comes to the gift, he gave me!
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
For myself, one of the most rewarding aspects of being an artist or creative is the impact I see when people stop to appreciate my work. With the mural I discussed earlier in the interview, there was a group of kids on a field trip to the park who were a part of a social justice camp. One of the kids saw my mural from the bus and immediately wanted to go up to check it out, the responses were so great to hear from the youth on how they feel about these topics that I painted! I love seeing my work being received in a positive way or as a conversation starter!
- Website: LeannaRaesArt.com
- Instagram: LeannaRaesArt