Yashiva Robinson is Art’s Next Big Thing
Yashiva Robinson was just doing what she was good at when she unexpectedly became an internet sensation. If you’ve seen interesting pieces of artwork depicting black music icons such as Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and Erykah Badu, chances are they have Robinson’s name attached to them.
The Miami native has been painting and drawing since kindergarden, and for her, creating works of art comes almost as naturally as breathing. Now wearing many hats at just the age of 26 (including visual artist, singer, tattoo artist, beautician and model) she has already turned her gift into cash, and is well on her way to building an art empire.
Known affectionately to her followers as “Sheeeves,” Robinson currently has over 17,000 followers on Instagram, as well as an extremely popular Tumbler blog.
How She Catapulted to Online Stardom
Robinson’s climb to online success began when she uploaded a series of paintings entitled “Favorites Series Volume 1” to her Tumblr blog. The series, which featured depictions of 1980s and 1990s black music giants, was favorited by several Tumblr users and went viral.
2015 wasn’t the first time that she had posted her work online, though; she has been doing so for the past six years, at times even doing portraits of persons for free in order to gain followers and build clientèle.
“As an artist in the digital world, I grew my audience by drawing other people online, and they would share with their following,” she told ABS. “I mainly work in acrylic paint, so I can’t really pinpoint which piece aided to my viral success. [However], my popularity stemmed from giveaways and drawing others out of the kindness of my heart. But a drawing I did of [actress] Amiyah Scott via Instagram catapulted me.”
In May 2015, she decided to take the plunge into becoming a full-time artist by profession.
How Tragedy in the Black Community Affects Her Art
While many other black visual artists have chosen to let their frustrations with the turmoil the black community continuously faces reflect in their work, Robinson sees a dark side to doing so.
“I’ve become uninspired [at times],” she said of the pile-up of black bodies and the police brutality. “Just the thought of it and the things attached to it triggers too much negativity. Don’t get me wrong. There are very inspiring stories [from the movement and] I love my people, but everything that’s happening is too repetitive.”
She expressed a desire to see all of America come together, regardless of ethnicity and creed.
“Until we as a nation come together, [racial division] will persist,” she said.“Some [people] really care and others want to but are distracted by any and everything the government will throw at us.”
Her Personal Style
Robinson’s work bears a signature combination of psychedelic metallic colors and abstract designs, while still managing to excellently capture the facial features of her subjects.
Her art has been receiving an immense amount of love in the digital world, having been shared and re-shared many times over, and many have applauded her for showcasing the beauty of the black community every time she paints.
“My goal is to create, inspire and uplift, not to trigger negative emotions within another being,” she said. I feel like every piece created out of negativity should be stored out of sight. This is how harmonious environments are created,” she added. “I’m more conscious of the balance between my mind, body and soul. I’m constantly doing what I can to rise past what I think I can achieve. ”
Her pieces are usually priced around the $350 figure, which is reasonable, since high art pieces are sold for as much as $1000. Along with her paintings, she also has reasonably priced phone cases, customized portraits, and phone cases.
When She’s Not at the Easel
Robinson doesn’t just create art; she is also regarded as a work of art by photographers. She began modelling in the early 2000s while still a pre teen.
“Growing up under my cousin in a hair salon, I was introduced to a different form of modeling within hair shows,” she shared. “It’s a more vivacious approach to walking down a catwalk, with creative hair styling — this had to be around 2004.”
She took the runway for the first time in 2006, and has since been featured in the 2007 Miami Beach Funkshion Fashion show and the 2010 SoBe Hair Expo. She is currently attempting to be featured in magazine spreads.
How She Manages to Do it All
For this multi-talented young woman from the sunshine state, multi-tasking is a way of life. She listed her many jobs in detail to ABS.
“That’s what I actually do accumulated: event coordinating, hair styling, tattooing, designing, sculpting, etc,” she said. I find myself implementing more and more into my schedule, but the easiest way [to juggle it] is to organize and [prioritize]. From hair clients to murals, if I’m not busy doing one thing, it is the next. I’ll say that [business is] picking up. It’s definitely not slow. I’ve had to not do commissions for a while to work on personal projects and keep up with the events I coordinate.”
Robinson plans on making business trips to Chicago, Atlanta and New York City in the near future.
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani