We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Trina Slade-Burks a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Trina, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. So, one thing many business owners consider is donating a percentage of sales or profits to an organization or cause. We’d love to hear your thoughts and the story behind how and why you chose the cause or organization you donate to.
When we started doing pop up exhibitions in our home with other artists, one of the requirements was to have artists donate a percentage of their earnings to a local charity. This was to teach other artists a way to develop relationships with non-profits in the community.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Trina Slade-Burks. I am a Florida transplant originally from New York City. I met my husband, artist Anthony Burks Sr at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. I come from a legacy of artists (mother, great uncle, great aunt). Though the plan was to be a CPA, changes in high school guided me back to considering art as a real profession. When my husband and I got married, a year later we started a graphic design company. We provided logos and other corporate identities for individuals and businesses. Prior to marriage, while living in NYC I taught art in a Catholic school in the South Bronx as well as interned and then later worked for a Black owned graphic design company that designed logos and corporate identities for music companies (primarily hip-hop artists) and companies like Lane Bryant, The Limited, the Source Magazine just to name a few.
Thanks to these two very different, but very creative industries, I was able to format our business that allows us to create, teach and promote all things art through our company ATB Fine Art Group Inc. (formerly known as A.T.B. Fine Artists and Designers LLC). Producing this business allowed me to not only work as a visual artist but also as a writer.
Have you ever had to pivot?
When COVID-19 hit, many artists struggled with the thought of not having their work exhibited in galleries. I didn’t have time to worry about that, because I was in the middle of managing a new corporate brand within our company, managing a non-profit and figuring out how to generate capital through my husband’s art as well as my own and my writing. The irony was I was able to utilize my talent as a writer to apply for individual grants for myself and ghost writing for people like my husband to get our talents exposed to the industries and people who didn’t even know us a year prior. It pushed my writing skills to a point where we acquired bigger curating opportunities and collectors from out of state.
How’d you meet your business partner?
My husband is the co-founder of ATB. I met my husband Anthony Burks Sr. in college (the now defunct Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale). He was definitely a talented artist who was serious about his art. I on the other hand was a student who was more interested in partying at the moment. Somehow, we connected, because to be honest after going to a college prep high school, I was bored with nerds and needed a break. And Anthony was definitely an art nerd. My plans were to go back to Pratt in NYC after graduating. But he proposed in 1989, and we married in 1991. A natural problem solver, my first task was to get more people to see his art. I learned how to market online when social media was nonexistent. After work at my nine to five I would log on and network with non-creatives to get them to see Anthony’s work. He became a sign maker by trade at that point. Anthony and I used our talents we learned in school, his signage skills, and my former job to establish what is now ATB.
- Website: https://www.trinasladeburks.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trinasb68/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dizeimageart
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/atbarts/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/dizeimage
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dizeimage
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=kfqoO8SIBAE0lP1eoPYZlw
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/dizeimage/
Durga Garcia Studios and ATB Fine Art Group Inc.