We're absolutely thrilled to share this short interview with Philadelphia artist and teacher, Kelechi Azu a.k.a. Collie Flower Jones. Kelechi is a cartoonist, novelty designer, and teacher based in the Greater Philadelphia Area. She is currently working towards her MAT at Rutgers University. Kelechi studied sculpture at Temple University, where she founded Creative People of Color Collective October 2015 which is now called Artist of Color Collective. We recently caught up with Kelechi to learn more about her coloring book series, Emo Farm coloring book!
The book is now available and ready for purchase!
Q: Tell me about some cool things you’ve done lately, Kelechi!
A: So I am currently in Rutgers Masters in Arts of Teaching program. It's kicking my butt, but it's the dream. I also just published my coloring and activity book Emo Farm. The book introduces you to group of emo black kids and animal friends that hand out on a farm and play music in the corn fields. This has been a passion project of mine for over a year I'm glad its here. Q: What inspired the creation of Emo Farm coloring book?
A: June of 2019 I spent most of my days drawing unicorns with different themes for kindergarteners as a teacher's assistant. I remembered how my kindergarten teacher's aid drew Barbie's for me. I decided that it would be nice if could draw something for myself. I stuck with drawing houses but the emo theme took over the idea. My experiences growing up in the suburbs, loving pop rock /punk music and not fitting the "look" had a big impact on me. I was called a gorilla from time to time. I came off like I was trying to hard or that I was trying to be white, which really hurt as a kid. Seeing the resurgence of emo through trap music made me want to represent emo black kids in a better light. Q: Is there anything in particular you're reading/watching/listening to that inspires your work?
A: Revisiting the music I used to listen to and the newer pop-punk/rock, and alternative music artist out to day. The music can be streamed on the Emo Farm Playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/67q0tHTOhUxmA68VosennC Q: What are some of the most memorable responses have you had to your work?
A: "This is so funny?" "My kid is 4. Would this be okay for him?" "Totally thought I dreamt this last night, but nope, it’s real." Q: What advice do you have for young, aspiring artists like yourself?
A: Prioritize one project at a time if you are not already. It's nice to have ideas but it's special to have finished something.