N.C. A&T student grows art business


Courtesy of Kendall Ivy

Kendall Ivy , Photographer

When junior fashion merchandising student, Linaya Berry, was young, she would watch her grandfather paint. He noticed her interest in his art and taught her how to draw when she was five. 

She watched her Grandfather paint so much, it felt natural, she said.

Berry remained passionate about painting throughout her life. But in 2014, her grandfather passed away. 

The loss of her muse led to the fade of her artistic motivation. Although she stopped drawing, she put her creativity into her newfound passion for fashion. 

Before coming to N.C. A&T, she attended Central Piedmont Community College. While she was in between schools, she looked for things to help her pass the time. 

That’s when she found her way back to what always made her happy. Art.

“I needed to bring back my passion,” Berry said.

Thinking of her Grandfather, Berry tried painting again for the first time in a while. 

Painting opened a whole new world for the young artist. 

Art strengthens problem-solving and critical skills and improves confidence, according to learningliftoff.com.

And as she began to paint again, she fell more in love with the brush and canvas and how it made her feel.

“I really go into it,” she said. “I kinda fell out of my love for fashion because I was painting so much.”

Berry said painting makes her feel empowered and confident. But originally, her paintings were not something she wanted to turn into a business.

“At first I was just doing what I wanted to do as far as art because it was just something I did to get away,” she said.

Her painting style is animated with a pro-black theme. She likes to paint pieces of black cartoons, natural hair, and black empowerment. 

Her first painting was for her college advisor. She surprised herself with the outcome. 

She began posting videos and pictures of her paintings on social media and people took a liking to her work. 

“She’s an amazing artist and her art is so dope,” said Hallpass.shop, a licensed collegiate apparel distributor. 

People soon began to ask her how much she was selling her work for. This led to the making of her business art page.  

Berry made a business plan and began to separate her leisure paintings from her custom ones.

She wants people to know that she is serious about her work and very professional.

When asked what advice she would give to artists wanting more recognition, she said would tell them to not be afraid to put themselves out there and to believe in themselves.

She also advised them to record their painting process. 

Berry is now seeking to have her work in the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American

Arts & Culture in Charlotte. 

In the future, she would like to incorporate her art into fashion.