Graphic Artist Avery Nejam Explains how Tina Turner and She are Kindred Spirits


My eyes are constantly “Craving Beauty” and during one of my hunts to feed my hunger, Avery Nejam’s graphic art came to rescue. Making hearts skip a beat with her interpretation of my favorite musical artist (and baby father) Pharell, tapping into my long lost childhood with Pee-Wee Herman and ET riding off into the sky, and having me consider rocking frames, Avery has my mind bursting at the seams. This incredible woman speaks to a generation through her art and beautiful approach to life.

Scroll down to find out more on Avery Nejam


 What are some of the greatest influences in your career?

The greatest/tragic experience that influenced me to take hold of my career would have to be escaping death in Shanghai, China. In 2012 I had a series of pretty severe health problems caused from Crohn’s Disease which included three blood transfusions, three major abdominal surgeries, and the removal of my entire colon. While traveling in Shanghai, China, I had a massive flare of Crohn’s, causing me to become severely anemic. I was hospitalized in Shanghai for the remainder of the trip before making the long journey back to the U.S.

My road to recovery was far from easy and has been an entire two years coming, so when it’s all taken away, you start to realize that we all live with a false sense of invincibility and that tomorrow really isn’t promised. Whatever it is you want to say or do…say or do it now!

Coming out on the other end of things I’ve learned that, “Tragic events which cause change in our lives are often the root of emerging opportunities.”

 Where do you draw inspirations from?

Everywhere. I like to try and keep four eyes open at all times. (Do my red glasses count as an extra set of eyes?) I never know where that next piece of the inspiration puzzle might come from. Keeping my mindset open to anyone, anything, anywhere is a vital mantra to nurture my creativity. Someone that has been an unlikely yet consistent inspiration to me throughout my life is Tina Turner. My obsession started at a very young age and still to this day there are no words to describe the way she has changed the game for all creative women to not only overcome the many hardships life has to offer but to realize that there is truly no river too deep or mountain too high. And as a female in the art world like myself, I am forever grateful. She’s ‘Simply the Best.’(pun intented.)

Pee Wee Phone Home Pattern

 When did you discover your passion in the arts?  Was there a significant turning point that promoted you to pursue your passion professionally?

Skateboarding is where it all started. It’s the root of everything I do. I started skateboarding when I was 5 years old, so you can say somewhere between then and now (I’m 22), a flame of creativity was lit and has no plans of going out anytime soon.

Avery Nejam Skateboarding

 Where are your favorite places to skate?

Growing up in Jackson, MS I was one of the only female recreational skateboarders in town and there weren’t any skate parks. But as a kid, I used to go to skateboard camp every summer in Oregon at a place called Windells. When I was 13 years old we built a 5ft half pipe with a 7ft extension in my parents backyard, so The Nejam household quickly became every bodies favorite place to skate in Jackson. Nowadays I enjoy skating bowls and learning the occasional old school trick here and there but for the most part I’m a cruiser.

Janelle Monae Poster 1

What role does music play in your creative processes?

Being from Mississippi, music has always held a special place at the crossroad of Highway 49 and 61 within my soul. (Robert Johnson reference) From Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to Bo Diddley, it’s safe to say that if it wasn’t for the Mississippi blues, there wouldn’t be Rock n Roll.

I feel as though artists in any creative field, “create to relate” most prominently in music, but if I can create that experience visually…I’ve done my job. So to answer your question, music is and always will be the driving force in my workflow and encompasses the mood and feel of everything I create.

 What’s your favorite albums on your rotation?

Damn, that’s too hard to answer…It’s safe to say my taste in music is wide and far, crossing over many genres, which I think can be picked up on through my body of work as a whole especially through some of the music artists I’ve created work around.

Miley Cyrus Pattern

I love your personal style! What are the go to items in your closet right now?

I’d say my fashion style would be described as tomboy chic. My red glasses will always be a staple and I’m a pretty big hat fanatic. My fedoras are made by Goorin Bros., and my 5panel cap collection is split pretty evenly between Supreme and Obey. As far as shoes go, my favorites would have to be my Adidas Basket Profis, all of my Dr. Martens(I’ve been collecting docs for years), and my latest obsession, which are platform Chuck Taylor Converses. For clothing…I love anything Commes Des Garcon and I’m heavily influenced by Japanese street styles.

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 8.18.58 PM

I really love your “Iconify Me” piece (Shown above) . What personal message are you expressing with that piece?

‘Iconify Me.’ is my coined ideology that the characteristics that set us apart, often become our trademarks. What we’re remembered by. ‘What makes you, you.'(for me, it’s my red glasses!) It was while in art school in both NYC and Boston (I attended Parsons New School for Design & The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) my ‘Iconify Me’ series was born. It stemmed from the revelation that people started recognizing me solely by my red glasses. But to touch on your original question, the ongoing series is a study of iconography and the literal representation of the word ‘ICON.’


A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something

“To me, a true creative spirit means to fight the good fight, always rejecting Con…and creating Icon.” -George Lois-

 Besides my personal commission work I am the head Creative Director and Designer for ’DREAMTEAM.’(The creative collective of rapper PELL(@PellYeah )

Check out Avery’s great work and updates:

Instagram: @averynejam

One Comment Add yours

  1. Courtney says:

    this is a great interview,and she has lovely style and a great viewpoint,I love it(:

    Courtney Dunsmore

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