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Conversations with Kiante’ Habersham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiante’ Habersham. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Thank you for this great opportunity to share my story. I feel like all my life I’ve been creating art in different forms. From Elementary to high school I’ve played multiple instruments, 11 to be exact. My love for visual arts started in middle school. Around this time in my life, puberty hit me like a bus. I started to really acknowledge my emotions and allow myself to express and explore everything. Having a wonderful, open, loving, and acceptable mother really helped me. I wore all types of costumes in and out of school. I started to draw and paint. This Is also around the time I discovered digital arts and web designing. I can thank Myspace for the love of coding at the time. Lol! After middle school, I attended Garrett Academy of Technology where I majored in Graphic and Web design and my elective was band. At the moment I felt like this was my prime time. I started to create art that described how I felt, every time I picked up an instrument, I gave it my all, all while going through average teenage things. I graduated with a diploma and certification of graphic and web design. I felt like I needed more in order to get a good-paying job, even though with my certification I could’ve started my career after high school, so I attended The Art Institute of Charleston for Graphic and Web Design. College was one of the most bittersweet moments in my life. I met so many people like me. I ended up enrolling in student housing, even though I was a native, just to have that full “College Experience”. I was creating more, finding new ways to make art, and learning more about myself. I started researching more about my body, listening to my spirit, collecting shiny rocks and trinkets like stones, crystals, and different plants and herbs. I felt like the more I learned, the more I was evolving and finding my purpose in life. My figurative art started to become more expressive and contemporary. I graduated AI with a bachelor’s of Fine Arts in, you guessed it, Graphic and Web Design. After college, I started working for a screen print and dye-sublimation company as a screen-printer. Eventually, I got promoted to a graphic designer, then later to a duel position still being a graphic designer but now also running the print department for the company. While in college I started my first business in art and named it after my artist persona, Kalianna. It felt appropriate to name it “Kalianna. Arts” because of all the different ways I expressed art. The Dot is simply symbolism for completion. I add my energy and signature to everything and I always finish with a dot. In February of 2020, I made my business official by gaining an LLC. A month later I received a phone call from my boss saying that due to covid, I had to be let go. At this time, I thought my entire life was coming to an end. I had lost my full-time job, I lost my apartment, and ended my 6-year relationship with my partner at the time. Of course, going through all of this, it was hard for me to see the blessings that I was receiving. Me losing my full-time job gave me time to invest in myself and my business full time. Me losing my apartment gave me the opportunity to travel more and explore places like Las Vegas and New Orleans. In the middle of all of this, I started to use more herbs in my diet and learn more ways how they could help me through my depression, insomnia, and other mental and physical things I was going through. I started to make my own tea blends and herbal smoke blends. Thus “Herban Karma” was born. I have recently purchased and built a shed and converted it to a studio to give myself a safe space to further express myself, create my jewelry and art, create healing herbal blends, and share my experiences with the people I love and care for. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It hasn’t really been a smooth road, but that’s what makes it interesting. I’ve always been an “Extra” person so I knew having an easy and simple journey was never part of the equation. However, I will say that even though I’ve had my detours and roadblocks, I find that all of these obstacles turned out to be blessings in disguise or important lessons I had to learn. One of the struggles I’ve had to face was feeling hopeless because I lost major things in my life for a moment, I felt like I had no purpose. There’s also been times where I didn’t feel appreciated for my art which resulted in not getting paid by old clients. I’ve also had to deal with not receiving recognition which, unfortunately, I feel like that comes with the territory at times. Even dealing with personal problems like being in my own way due to things like self-doubt, fear of success, and procrastination. I strive to work on these things every day because I realized sometimes we can be our worst critics and it’s good to practice being more gentle with yourself especially when you’re not feeling as “groovy” as usual. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I would say that I specialize in expressing myself through visual arts and healing the mind, body, and soul through Earth’s natural elements. I am a painter, graphic artist, web designer, jeweler, and herbal healer. I cater more to the contemporary and expressive side of art due to its freedom of expression. My creations reflect a contemporary/Afrocentric style that allows my audience to relate to me on an artistic and personal level. I’ve participated in Spoleto in 2017 for a kinetic type music video I created. I have been showcased in 3 galleries in Downtown, Charleston and my jewelry has been featured in the Charleston Fashion Week Show. I am currently the owner of two businesses. Kalianna.Arts LLC is a small creative arts business where I specialize in paintings, digital art, provide special branding, advertising, and collateral for businesses, and making high-energy jewelry using elements like crystals, metals, stones, and local shells. Herban Karma is an herbal holistic product line of teas, smoke blends, inhalations, and bulk herbs used for healing the mind, body, and soul. 

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I feel like Art can and has always changed the world. There are so many different types of art. I feel like a true artist sees art in everything. Personally, I think it has been taken for granted in our society and looked over because it’s literally everywhere. People tend to think that having a career in arts isn’t going to get you far, but they don’t realize if it wasn’t for painters, jewelers, graphic designers, interior designers, fashion designers, even automotive engineers (I could go on), we wouldn’t really have anything to look at or enjoy in life. Since The pandemic, I’ve seen artist get more recognition especially for entertainment, whether that be for virtual art shows, Virtual auctions, or virtual concerts and that makes me really happy. It gives me hope. While doors start to open back up around the world, I hope that the appreciation for artists in all forms stays present and even expands. Because of how things are shifting now, I see more support for small businesses and more opportunities for local creatives to shine and be heard, felt, and seen. 

Contact Info:

  • Email: info@kalianna.art
  • Website: www.kalianna.art
  • Instagram: @kalianna.arts (art page), @jewels.by.kalianna (jewelry page), @herbankarma (herban karma page), @kukaa_ililenga (personal page)
  • Facebook: @Kalianna.Arts, @Herban Karma
  • Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@kukaa_ililenga

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