September 8, 2020 | Contributor: Jamesha Bazemore
After an exhaustive school supply hunt to find notebooks that personally matched the style of my 9-year-old identical twin daughters, it became obvious that there was an absence of brown boy and girl images. Instead of becoming sad or angry, my girls, Brittney and Brianna, turned to me and asked, “Can you draw pictures for us and put them on our notebooks?”
My immediate response was to use my artistry to create relatable images so that my daughters could be proud and confident about displaying their items. This was how Cocoa Twins was born.
Hello, my name is Jamesha Bazemore. I am a mom of 4, grandma of 1, wife with over 20 years of experience, a veteran, and an artist. I have been drawing since I was a kid, but I sat my pencil down after high school because I stopped believing in myself.
My counselor in college suggested that I pick another area of study because girls who look like me do not do well as artists. Do not feel bad for me, though. This became part of the journey that led me to serve my country for eight years.
It’s hard to believe but I actually started gaining digital art skills while on active duty in the Marine Corps as an Engineering Specialist. I learned how to design construction documents, or “blueprints” as they are more commonly known.
One of the many projects that I was fortunate enough to work on was the design of the Crucible, an integral part of the Marine Corps boot camp. As a non-commissioned officer, I was in charge of leading the stakeout of the construction sites for one of the obstacle courses. This was my first opportunity to lead my own team after earning my stripes as a Corporal.
After being honorably discharged from the Marines, I worked as a CAD Designer at a civil engineering firm in my hometown of Detroit, MI. Then, as a CAD Manager, I took part in designing Campus Martius, Ford Field, and Comerica Park as part of the initiative to redevelop downtown Detroit. The responsibility of having to manage the completeness and correctness of documents for construction allows me to forever be a part of revitalizing my hometown. This is where I learned how to manage design projects.
It was only in 2016 that I picked my pencil back up to draw characters similar to those that I drew when I was younger. Inspired by my daughters desire to see characters representative of themselves, I began to draw again.
The skills I learned over the years, coupled with my artistic ability made it possible for me to give Brittney and Brianna what they were looking for… And, in turn, give so many others what they were looking for as well – quality images that better represented our community.
After going back to creating the art I was discouraged from doing in college, I have received multiple messages, photos, and videos of appreciation. Parents tell me about their children who are excited to see images that like them. Seeing their little faces light up is the best thing ever for me. Moreover, the outpour of support encourages me to make more. It has also helped me understand my purpose.
Although my dream was realized later in life, it does not diminish that fact that I am here. Like how I was discouraged from art to then join the Marines and learn design management… The journey I took to get here was all designed for what I can do today, which is to partner with Cricut.
I was extremely excited when I received the call from Cricut. Being able to work with Cricut not only appealed to my technical and artistic side, but it also allows me the opportunity to take my dream further by reaching even more people. Not to mention, all their products and services are the BEST.
At Cocoa Twins, I do what I love with a purpose. I share my love of art with others and create positive, reaffirming, fun-loving, and beautiful images of people of color. I could not be more ecstatic to share my work with everyone in the Cricut community.
I hope you all enjoy my work, and thank you, Cricut, for creating the tools that let me create my happiness projects. Most importantly, thank you for giving me the space to share my happiness with your Cricut family.
Cocoa Twins – For the Culture (30 Images)