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photo of Laura

Tenbeete Solomon

IG: @trapxbob

Washington, DC

Tenbeete Solomon, AKA Trap Bob, is a visual artist, illustrator, and animator based in Washington, DC. She is known for her use of bold colors and gestures to convey both the humor and struggles of everyday life. Her work is socially conscious and frequently inspired by activism and community issues, with an aim to bridge the gap between the audience and her message. Her work can be found in both the digital space and on permanent murals throughout DC.

 
 
 

Spotlight on Tenbeete

1

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Tenbeete Solomon, AKA Trap Bob, and I'm a visual artist, illustrator, and animator living in Washington, DC. I pursued the arts because I was studying marketing as an undergrad, and really didn't feel passionate about anything and had no idea what I wanted as a career or what my future would look like. So, I started drawing just to relieve stress. It's always been a part of my life. I just never took it seriously. But at that point, I became obsessed.

2

What’s your favorite part about being an artist?

My favorite part about being an artist is the freedom to create whatever I want, and also the power and influence that the work I create holds. I love that I can reach so many different people and not be held back by the vocabulary that we have. I get to communicate in this form that really has no rules. And so, that means the world to me.

3

Describe your experience as a female artist in a male-dominated industry.

My experience as a female artist in a male-dominated industry has definitely had its ups and downs. On one hand, you feel alienated. You don't see examples of yourself. So, it makes it hard to figure out how to enter the industry, what to do, and how to grow as an artist. But I'm so thankful that I was able to really take chances and blaze my own path and create opportunity and possibility for the artists that come after me.

4

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from a lot of different parts of my life. But specifically, growing up as an Ethiopian first generation in this country, I spent a lot of time in church, just looking at the beautiful artwork and its bold use of colors and outlines. It definitely influenced my style as of today.

5

Do you have any favorite artists or role models?

The artist that I really looked up to growing up was Lisa Frank. I just loved her use of color and brightness and just the consistency of all her work. And definitely her business mindset. I really admired that. And also Wayne Tebow, who is such an amazing artist. I just love the warmth and the happiness that comes from his work. I think art is so pivotal in making people happy and keeping their self-care up, even in the midst of a lot of negativity.

6

Tell us about your hair journey.

My hair journey has really been a journey. I started with perms in elementary school and obviously damaged my hair. So, I got to college. I cut it all off and started playing around with color. Then, I upgraded to getting braids. I wanted to cause less damage to my hair and was able to still have a lot of fun with colors and different styles of braids. Now I'm definitely trying to take advantage of and celebrate my natural curl pattern and really just embrace my natural hair.

7

What’s on your wish list this holiday season?

My wish list this holiday season is more time with my loved ones and more downtime. It's easy to get swept up in work as a distraction now, as we're dealing with so many crazy things, but we really have to cherish the time that we have together.

8

What does the theme “Time to Shine” mean to you?

‘Time to Shine,’ to me, means that you need to focus on yourself. You need to address your needs, do your self-care, and allow yourself to shine. Don't downplay your greatness.

 

@trapxbob

artist spotlight