We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Crosby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, what inspires you?
As a black female artist living in America, I feel that it is important to provide imagery that represents the Black community in a way that encompasses positivity and relatability. What inspires me to create is the history, resilience and creativity that Black people hold within themselves. My current focus is building a body of work that captures the beauty of Black culture and explores the legacy of African American art and expression based on the experiences and truths of Black people. My goal is to tell stories, inspire new ideas, and challenge the way that people see the world through a perspective that is rooted in my own personal experiences as well as my understanding and connection with the experiences of others.

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally? Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way? What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
For me, my art is an expression of the experiences I face as a Black female artist. My main goal is to tell stories, inspire new ideas, and challenge the way that people see the world through a perspective that is rooted in my own personal experiences as well as my understanding and connection with the experiences of others. The path to creating my own business and becoming an artist, has not been easy. My love for art began at a young age, constantly doodling in notebooks or not on notebooks haha and then finding a love for painting. In middle school, I started painting just for school projects and in my spare time but it wasn’t until college, when I posted my artwork on my snapchat and seeing the response I got from others that I thought that maybe I could do this with my life. Since then, I’ve been growing on my practice as an artist and exploring many opportunities to navigate this art world. The biggest challenge I faced and still am overcoming is myself, through the past couple of years as an artist there have been many new opportunities to create, but there have also been a lot of closed doors. I’m constantly working on self motivation and perseverance, knowing that opportunities will come and I can give myself grace to learn and grow as an artist. Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way have really grounded me over the years they include; community, staying true to your work and patience. The power of community is very important as an artist, really in any field of work. Not just finding people who gravitate towards your work but finding people who can support you at any stage in your artistry. Another important lesson I’ve learned is staying true to who you are as an artist, it’s so easy to get consumed with what everyone else is doing who is “successful” or only paint what sells but the reason I create is going to be different than someone else’s reason and that’s OKAY! And lastly learning patience, it’s a difficult skill to master but allowing myself to stay present and in a state of gratitude makes this path as an artist more enjoyable. Something that I am excited for, is branching out of painting and working in different mediums. I’m someone who loves to learn new art styles and techniques and since I am self taught I work hard to expand my knowledge when it comes to art and to business, one of my goals is to illustrate my own children’s book so keep a lookout for that!!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was coming to Colorado I would first take them to breakfast at Four Friends Kitchen, their food is amazing and it’s right in the neighborhood! ( This is after a rapid Covid test hah) After, we would take in the sights of Denver making sure we head to the Santa Fe Arts District to take in all the art and creativity Denver has to offer. For lunch, we would head down to Welton Street Cafe in Five Points to enjoy some delicious soul food, and stay to hang out in the neighborhood. There’s some great business on Walnut street that I’m sure they would enjoy! My best friend, like me, loves to read so I would take them to some local bookstores to pick up a new read for the flight back home ( Tattered Cover, Capitol Hill Books, Book Bar or the Kilgore). The following days consist of exploring outside of the city, we would knock out a bucket list of Colorado hikes as they are avid explorers and don’t get much mountain life where they live. We would go to Saint Mary’s Glacier, Matthews Winter, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and some close to the city trails like Red Rocks and Lookout Mountain. The last day would be spent back in Denver brunching and visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost a shoutout to my creator God & Jesus Christ for giving me the gift of life and the gift of artistry, To my parents Denise and Terry Crosby who fostered and supported my love for art since day one, To my family, friends and teachers, the unlimited support I receive from you is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. And a special shoutout to the ones before me who knew moving backwards was not an option and standing still was not enough. I thank you, appreciate you and wouldn’t be here without you!

Website: leannaraesart.com

Instagram: LeannaRaesArt

Facebook: LeannaRaesArt

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.