Kashmir Thompson may not be a household name just yet, but her artwork is just as important as the Jean-Michel Basquiats, Kara Walkers and Kehinde Wileys of the world.
The 20-something-year-old Cleveland native has become an internet sensation over the past year for capturing some of the most iconic moments of the 1990s in a vibrant and unique fashion that pays homage to what’s considered the golden area of black entertainment.
Thompson is bringing art to the forefront of audiences who very well may not appreciate artistry. As the creator of KASHMIR.VIII, Thompson sells apparel, accessories and home goods – all inspired by African American pop culture.
Get to know Kashmir VII through Kashmir Thompson.
What year were you founded?
Though I’ve been selling my art since I was 16, my company didn’t get off the ground until Feb. of 2015.
What inspired you to launch your business?
I had recently moved to Atlanta and knew that I had no desire to get an “actual” job. I started really doing research and marketing myself so that I could push my art a lot harder to support myself, and it worked!
What makes your brand/product unique?
What makes me unique is 1) my customer service and the way I interact with my supporters and 2) the fact that though many of my pieces may have featureless portraits, you can still tell who the person is supposed to be.
Why should everyone #buyblack this holiday season?
Everyone should #buyblack this holiday because cooperative economics is one of the aspects of the black community that needs to be a lot stronger in order for us to really be successful as a people. Circulating our dollars within our own communities and business is key to our own financial freedom.
How do you pay it forward within your community?
I pay it forward to my community by using my art to raise money for different fundraisers and scholarships as well as using my art to portray messages and spread awareness about different issues.
What is your business mantra?
My business mantra is to stay true to myself and those who support me!