Keeping the pace with our series of love letters entitled “Year of the Outre Woman,” our second feature celebrates Chindo Nkenke, a graphic designer, unapologetically honest podcaster, meticulous stylist, and effortlessly cool #OutreWoman. Chindo is the embodiment of an artist, calling on inspiration from music legends Earth, Wind, and Fire, Nile Rodgers, and Diana Ross to reel in her keen sense of color and movement for graphic design creation. We spent the afternoon with Chindo in her perfectly sunlit, colorful-sneaker-splattered New Jersey apartment to chat with her and to get a closer look at how she is able to achieve so much in the creative field as a woman of color with a vision, sharing in our mission to deliver beauty for all.
What’s your favorite part about graphic design?
My favorite part about graphic design is having control when I’m designing for myself. When you have clients, that’s different, but when I’m designing for myself I love just being able to control everything within it.
What message do you try to put out with your work?
The message I try to put out with my work is moreso words of encouragement, positivity, affirmations, or just putting people onto things that I think should be talked about. A lot of the time I feel inspired by words or music…
What kinds of artists do you look to when you feel stuck?
I don’t really look at graphic artists to get inspiration or anything like that, I listen to music. I listen to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire. They’re just so sick with the grooves, it doesn’t make any sense. I love being able to feel the music I’m listening to, and in me feeling the music, I don’t know what it does, but it jogs my creative memories and helps the process of me getting something done.
Style is a major thing for you, how do you piece your outfits together? How does style get incorporated into your design?
I love personal style so much, I really do. It’s so crazy how the human brain works, how you maneuver yourself and how that translates into the things that you do because I am very, very, very OCD with certain things, especially when it comes to things like socks. If I don’t have the right pair of socks, I’m not wearing this. If I don’t have the right color hat, I’m just thrown off and I don’t want to do it anymore. Same thing with design, if I cannot figure out which colors work together or which shapes are going to go, it’s over. I can’t do it. I’ll start all over.
How do you feel about being a woman in this field. Have you felt like you’ve had obstacles because of it? If so, how did you overcome them?
There was one point in time where I was getting emails from men asking me to do ads and stuff like that – very annoying. I didn’t feel like there was any challenge, so I had to put my foot down on what was okay and what wasn’t okay. And I have no problem with that because I’m very secure within myself but in the beginning of that – because I’ve seen friends of mine do freelance work get undercut or taken advantage of. When I first started I was so serious with everyone, because I needed everyone to know I was not the one to be played with. I’m not even going to give you the opportunity to think you can take advantage of me.
You can catch Chindo, her work, and her podcast You Don’t Gotta Listen to Me on OrdinaryChin.com. For more inspiring stories, be sure to check out our first #OutreWoman photographer Rochelle Brockington here, and stay tuned for the third installment of Year of the Outre Woman.