Artist Davian Chester aims to redefine traditional beauty standards with his Black princess collection.
As a graphic designer, Chester sees that there is a lack of representation for Black women in both the entertainment and media industries. His Black princess collection is a spin on classic Disney princesses, portraying each traditionally white character as a Black woman. (Of course, this is with the exception of Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s only Black princess to date, whose natural #BlackGirlMagic Chester captures in a stunning portrait.)
The Chattahoochee Valley Community College graduate lives in Columbus, Georgia, and works full-time as a teaching artist. An art lover since adolescence, Chester describes his work as thought-provoking, beautiful and motivational.
“I have always been interested in art since elementary school. I started my digital journey in high school,” he told Blavity. We sat down with Chester to chat about the inspiration behind his collection and what we can expect from him in 2019.
Blavity: What artist inspires your work and why?
Davian Chester: I am inspired by the artist Sevell. His work is awesome. He captures the pure emotion and beauty in all of his pieces. You can view his work on Instagram [via] @illustration315.
Blavity: What inspired your Black princess collection?
Chester: The lack of representation of Black women in mainstream media inspired my Black princess collection. I was inspired by the question, “What if some of the most iconic women in the world were Black women?” I imagined that they would be bold, Black and beautiful with all shades of color.
Blavity: What do you want people to walk away with, after they view your artwork?
Chester: I want people to be able to relate to my work. I want my art to make them feel and think a little. I want other artists to be just as inspired as I am when I see other awesome pieces.
Blavity: What has your experience been like, as a Black artist?
Chester: Being a Black artist can be challenging — from trying to find work to being taken seriously in the eyes of large companies or the community. I do not think there is enough representation of Black art and beauty, especially in mainstream media. We need more Black beauty in our homes, online and on TV. It is getting there, though. I [also] believe Black artists should work together and collaborate rather than compete.
Blavity: What does Black beauty mean to you?
Chester: Black beauty is being confident, loving, brave and proud — not letting anything stand in your way because you know your worth.
Blavity: What can people expect from you in 2019?
Chester: I am actually going to push my illustrations and cartoons even more. I also plan on doing more animation. You can view my artwork online by following me on social media at @real_Toons.
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