Born in the British Virgin Islands, Roma Osowo blooms as one of a handful of black abstract artists in the United States over the last few years. Her story is nothing short but remarkable as she sweeps over the nation with her vibrant impressionistic imagery.
The Artist came to the United States when she was just sixteen years old. Growing up in a large family with four older sisters, and two younger brothers, Osowo credits her sense of freedom to create to her mom.
“I’m blessed because from a very early age, my mom always supported me in whatever I wanted to do,” she said, referring to her big move at the age of sixteen to the US for college, and more recently pursuing a career as an artist. “I painted quite a bit as a child but stopped once I got the United States. It wasn’t even an option when I first moved to the US because I viewed painting as a luxury.”
Osowo shared, “I forgot how much I loved it, but remained interested in pursuing creative outlets and small business ventures throughout the years. During that time I prayed consistently to find my purpose. It wasn’t until five years ago that I picked up my brushes after a fourteen year hiatus.”
My husband was the one who really encouraged me to do it. I was homeschooling my kids at the time, and spent most of my time focusing on my children and taking care of everyone else. He suggested that I do something just for myself and encouraged me to paint again.
Osowo is now a full-time artist where she paints in her studio four to five times a week. “There are definitely times when I feel uninspired, but I find that taking a break, engaging in conversations with other creatives, and doing something outside of painting like taking long walks always helps to reignite my creativity.
Sometimes I paint even when uninspired, and inspiration shows up during the process. Osowo credits her faith and West Indian heritage as the sources of major influence for her work. Vibrant is the word that Osowo uses to describe her culture on top of the feeling of liveliness and warmth.
If you’ve been to a Caribbean destination like the British Virgin Islands, you would understand my love of color. Most Caribbean people love using vibrant colors to express themselves. The beautiful colors of the landscape and ocean are repeated in the color choices of their homes and businesses. I desire to evoke joy and give hope through the use of vibrant color in my work.
Osowo explained abstract art as the encapsulation of a subject’s essence, Sometimes I create a layer of work on canvas, and then respond to what I see through the next layer, but sometimes,“If I’m thinking about abstract florals, I would begin with florals in mind, but allow the piece to unfold organically.
Osowo shared that although she appreciates representational art, she is most drawn to abstract art because it allows the viewer to fill in the blanks, which often means each person sees something unique to their own experiences.
Osowo is a true believer of authenticity when it comes to her artwork and when asked to share her advice to fellow emerging abstract artists who are trying to expand their portfolios, she shared, “Always do what feels the most authentic to you. A lot of new and emerging artists struggle to find their ‘style’ or artistic voice. As an emerging artist myself, I’ve learned that ‘style’ is a curation of the things you love.”
When you see people that have a very strong look to their work, they’re very aware of what they love, and that takes time. It’s a process. Just do what you’d like to create in the meantime. Don’t allow comparison to prevent you from reaching your full potential in whatever stage you’re in.
Her work has been collected throughout the United States as well as Internationally and has been licensed and featured in Home Goods, as well as on several products through a collaboration with Erin Condren. Osowo is represented by the Liz Lidgett gallery in Iowa and her work is also carried by an art, decor and interior design store in Fort Worth, TX called “Park + Eighth..”
Her work is also available to purchase and see through her website. Find out more about Roma Osowo on Instagram, Facebook, her website. You can also check her work in the Liz Lidgeet Gallery and Park + Eight Gallery.