Aramis Hamer is a proud black woman artist and not afraid to use all the colors of the spectrum.
By Bao Nguyen
November 16, 2017
As we’re getting prepared for the the 2017 International District Holiday Festival, we’re working with many local vendors to make the event a success. Time after time, we’re amazed at the entrepreneurial spirit and energy of these immigrant and minority business owners. They are what truly make America great and we want to share their stories with you.
In the next couple of weeks, we will tell you about some of the vendors who are participating in the pop-up market on November 25th. We hope their stories will inspire you to come support them and others like them. Who knows? Maybe they’ll stir up your own dreams. They are the reason we do our work!
Maybe it was the lighting in the room, or perhaps because we were in a shared artist studio surrounded by colorful and intriguing artworks, but sitting across from Aramis Hamer and talking to her, she seems to illuminate the space around her with a warm and buoyant energy. Every now and then, her laugh fills the quiet and dimly lit space like water rippling across a pond.
“I love the whole gamut of colors,” Aramis says about one of her inspirations as an artist. “I feel like we don’t have to be skin-tone. We can be purple, blue, orange. We have so many colors at our disposal. Why not use them all?”
A quick look at Aramis’s portfolio confirms this. Her works are vivid arrays of hues that blend together softly yet combine to create striking and powerful images. Many of them feature black women.
“I’m very proud to be a black woman. I was raised by phenomenal black women,” she explains further before quickly adding with a big smile, “AND men. Gotta give my daddy credit for being there.”
Coming from the Hyde Park neighborhood of South Side, Chicago, Aramis originally came to Seattle four years ago to attend Bastyr University and became a registered nurse. Although wellness is still a big part of her life, she quickly found herself reconnected with her creative passion through exposure to the local art scene. Aramis talks appreciatively about how the support her friends, other artists, and her husband have given her makes it possible for her to be a full-time artist.
It’s still not an easy job, though. She’s constantly grinding it out, doing a lot of art shows and exhibits in addition to selling original pieces that can go for several thousand dollars.
The path from painting in a corner of her apartment to where she is now, unapologetic about her prices, took some work in “disciplining both sides of the brain.”
In the beginning of her career as an artist, the lack of organization caused her to miss many deadlines and waste a lot of time in front of audiences who didn’t connect with her art. To fix this, Aramis has had to put a lot of systems in place to help keep herself organized so she can take advantage of opportunities to make money and be sustainable.
Being effective with her time means Aramis spends more time in front or her audience, people who she says are “conscious members of society who are just over the bullshit.” Who are these people?
“Men, women, young, old, purple, green, the whole spectrum,” she laughs.
All of this outward expression of her passion and creativity and strength is grounded in a spiritual practice that involves yoga about 3 times a week and daily meditation (that’s the goal at least). It helps her maintain a state of awareness about the power that she has over her life and to be as intentional as possible.
“The future looks big and bright. But it’s scary. I feel super vulnerable,” she says with some hesitation.
“At the same time, I feel like this is where I need to go. I need to make those scary moves if I want to see the scary growth.”
Don’t we all?