Tokyo Brown

March 27, 2023 9:27 am

"I've been doing digital art for two years, but I've been drawing for about 6 or 7 years," says 20-year-old digital artist, Tokyo Brown.

"I developed my skills through lots of practice — recreating already existing art until I developed my style and no longer needed to recreate. I can just draw my own.

I started creating erotic digital art because I saw there was no black representation in the area, I was interested in.

For me, the black female body is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The different skin tones and the curves are gorgeous.

I also love how strong our black men are naturally, so I draw a lot of physically strong men.

I find a bit of inspiration everywhere — music, mainly in literature, and film.

My goal is to create work people can relate to. It's a bit out there, but people see something familiar to their eye yet it's different and it's colorful. It attracts people's attention.

I believe that art has a huge role in society. Art is a way for artists to express themselves through whatever they feel is going on in this world. It can denounce or expose a lot of things that are happening. Things people may not want to talk about, but artists can put it in their art and show that this is the truth — bringing awareness to the situation.

I think art is like a superpower. We have this talent of being able to draw, paint, or make music. It's not something everybody can do, but we can do it, and we can make whatever we want.

But it's hard to make a living if you want to do this full-time. If you're passionate about art, you can't survive strictly off it.

Being an artist in St. Maarten, I feel like people don't take you as seriously as you take yourself. People try to underhand you and ask for you to do things for exposure, but exposure doesn't pay the bills.

We're not given our flowers as much as we should. We're not being paid as much as we should. People want these extravagant works but don't want to pay for them.

I think one thing that St. Maarten needs is a space where artists can showcase their work, be taken seriously, and be able to get paid jobs.

My support system is my mother and my best friends, because, with the type of art I make, people may not understand why I'm doing it. It has a deeper meaning than just erotica. It's about representation. It can be discouraging when people don't understand what I'm doing. But my mom and my best friends, they've always hyped me up and I appreciate that.

Honestly, my message to the public is: support young local black artists, please! We are talented. We are more than capable, and we need that recognition from our people."