Many people spend years trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives; others find their calling in the third grade. The class assignment was to draw a boat. While the rest of his peers were sketching basic figures, as most eight year olds do, J Phillip Smith created an epic pirate ship. He said, “From then on, I knew this was for me.” In twelfth grade, his teacher suggested that he take his skills on the road to showcase his art. Now, he has two children’s books in the works, a graphic novel, and the Focsi brand to show for it. Smith and his wife created a children’s book series based off their daughters called “Miya’s Bad Hair Day,” whilst the Focsi brand spreads an artistic message through apparel, accessories, and home décor.
The brand celebrates and emboldens women through the phrase “You are Beautiful Just As You Are.” Focsi personifies the divine feminine figure throughout the African Diaspora and is an inspiring reflection of the women we see in our daily lives, not in the mainstream media. The brand adds to the conversation “Black is Beautiful.” The woman in the Focsi illustrations represents a friend, mother, daughter, or grandmother. She is a symbol of admiration and inspiration, of hope and strength. As our artist described, “The work is unapologetically black with positive messages of self-love, empowerment, strength, pride, and beauty — embodying the raw unfiltered art form for the new generation of creative minds and progressive thinkers.”
In balancing his career as a family man and an artist, J Phillip Smith leaves us with a piece of advice: “Always find time for your passions in life! Take time to get into your zone with your craft. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, a drawing, tag, sketch, painting, or design each day.” The brand is currently working towards having a retail space and creative lounge spot. In addition, we can watch out for his various design ventures and shows for 2015.