Hello, I'm Janell Langford and I'm a graphic artist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For me drawing is therapeutic, It’s my self-care. I don’t feel whole or complete if I’m not being creative. Ever since I was a little girl I remember drawing being like a superpower. Even though I grew up in a house filled with chaos, if I was drawing I was able to block out the noise and be at peace. After high school, I started dating someone seriously and at that time I stopped drawing. The relationship became just as toxic and chaotic as my childhood and I had completely forgotten about my superpower. I suppressed the one thing in life that was my home frequency. Once I ended the relationship I started drawing again. The pain of the breakup lead me back to drawing and a rediscovery of my inner creativity.
I've spent the majority of my adult life in white spaces, so it became important to me to begin to illustrate the representation that was missing from my surroundings and the media I consumed. From Michelle Obama's speeches to Beyonce’s Coachella performance I am overwhelmingly inspired by powerful black women. I begin to feel SEEN in reading Octavia Butler, hearing Janelle Monae talking about cyborgs, watching attorney Maxine Shaw on Living Single, and experiencing a live Santigold performance. Representation is everything.
Soon I began the graphic design program at Seattle Central Design Academy. There I learned that I was passionate about creating a lifestyle brand that spoke truth to the kind of art that I wanted to see. That's how Obsidiopolis was born. The name comes from the word Obsidian, which is a protective stone that shields against negativity and also is a truth-enhancer. Black women and girls need to be encouraged to stand in their truth even when the world is not ready to listen. Obsidiopolis is a refuge, a sanctuary for black women and femmes to be empowered and inspired. After all, black women are from the future.
When I'm not drawing pictures or daydreaming about a utopia of my own design, I'm watching Steven Universe, Thrifting, having solo dance parties and listening to my favorite podcasts.
Photography by Kayla Wooldridge