Hear from artists, designers and community organizers about making a career in the creative economy, the advice they would give to their younger selves, and how to network in the time of COVID.
Panelists include shoe designer, artist, and consultant ANTIONE JENKINS, visual artist and Waiting Room director KRISTINA JOHNSON, and social justice poster campaign designers MIKE GAINES and MAGGIE WILLIAMS.
About the Panelists
MIKE GAINES (Instagram:@mikestheworst) is a creative from The Bronx, NY inspired by Billy Mays and bloody noses. Most mornings before school, his eyes were glued to the TV screen watching infomercials—from vacuums to grills. When not watching the morning infomercials, he started his days with sports highlights and game rebroadcasts. When it became evident he would fall short of making a Mets or Knicks roster, he shifted his focus from playing sports to creative services and branding. Once getting to Syracuse University to study Advertising with an emphasis in Art Direction, he fell in love with boxing. Since graduating in May 2020 he traded in his gloves for the Google Suite, working as an Art Director Intern at Solve and Junior Art Director YoungBlood Creative Resident at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY.
ANTIONE JENKINS (Instagram: @antione_jenkins3) is an artist, consultant, clothing and shoe designer, and founder of Antz Creationz (Instagram: @antz.creationz), a Minneapolis-based brand pushing the boundaries on not only fashion but the culture surrounded by it. What started out as a hobby in 2016 soon turned into a brand.
Quitting his childhood dream of playing professional basketball is what led Antione into designing. Since Antione was young he always had a spark for creativity. From being in the back of the classroom doodling on the desk to getting his first pair of shoes to customize. He has always found a creative escape.
KRISTINA JOHNSON (Instagram:@kristinamjohnson) is an artist, curator, and small business owner from Minnesota. She attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (‘17). In 2019, she took over as director of Waiting Room (Instagram: @waitingroomart) gallery and established an e-commerce platform, Backroom (Instagram: @backroom.sales). She has produced exhibitions that explore critical questions about the relationship of art to abstraction, the environment, social concerns, political issues and theories of identity, individuation and subjectivation. Her curatorial work has been featured in Artforum Critics Picks; as well as personally featured in local Twin Cities publications such as City Pages, MNDaily and Star Tribune. Today, Kristina works out of Minneapolis helping to support emerging and mid-career artists gain wider recognition for their work.
MAGGIE WILLIAMS (she/her) (Twitter: @MargaretDanger) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota in 2011 and was active in the Twin Cities performing arts scene until 2017, when she made the decision to pursue a career in advertising. She was a student at Brainco portfolio school from 2018 to 2019 and started working as a copywriter at Solve in March 2020. Maggie believes advertising and art are mutually beneficial and not mutually exclusive, but holds that opinion pretty lightly.