Black History Month Black History's Future: Graphic Designer Karla Moy
Black History's Future: Graphic Designer Karla Moy
By Timothy Cornwall
Posted Feb 28th 2011 8:18PM
There aren't many teenagers that can say they've worked with for Lil' Wayne, designed a birthday cake for Nicki Minaj or toured with Drake. But Karla Moy can.
Editor's Note: For Black History Month, we've chosen to not only remind readers of African Americans' rich past, but to also spotlight some of the young people who're poised to make history in the coming years -- our "black future."
Moy is an 18-year old Canadian graphic designer based in Toronto, that goes by the name, hustleGRL. Self-taught, and just barely out of high school, Moy already has a solid amount of experience to boast about. Her work runs the gamut, from designing the cover of Lil Wayne's last mixtape before he went into the slammer and running Drake's fan site.
Moy has been designing since she was 10-years-old--it didn't hurt that her father was a computer technician--but she mostly educated herself through research and asking questions. But, maybe the most impressive part about Moy, is not that she taught herself how to use Adobe Suite programs, but her natural ability to network and make things happen.
But despite all her accomplishments, Moy hasn't been blinded by the lights and cameras. Moy understands the importance of a solid education and has applied for post-secondary school in the fall.
You've already seen some success, what's important to you about going to school now?
Both of my parents are teachers, so for me to not to be in school, is not an option. But I think school is important because you can never really stop learning. I just felt like I still have some things to learn and if I want to work in this business I have to know more than just graphic design-I have to know the business behind it and how managing a company works.
You're self-taught, what was the hardest thing to teach yourself how to do?
There's nothing that's really hard to learn. If you want to learn how to do something like an illustration, you just have to put some time aside. It was more so finding the time to teach myself something new.
And you've been using computers to design since you were 10?
Yes, since I was 10. My father actually used to be a computer technician and when he would work, I would always watch over his shoulder. I think that's where I got my interest from.
How did the opportunity to work with Lil Wayne and Drake come about?
Well, for Lil' Wayne I got hooked up with him through a blogger named Karen Civil and it was around the time he was getting ready to go to jail and he wanted to release one last project before he actually went in. And it was his "No Ceilings" mixtape. I designed the cover and he ended up liking it and using it and that's just how our relationship started and I kept working with him and Karen Civil and Cortez [Bryant] and the whole Young Money crew.
And with Drake, I was actually a fan before the whole Young Money thing. I started listening to Drake when he was still on Degrassi. I went on the Internet to find more information about his career and there was nothing, so I was like, "Okay let's start a fan site." Months went by and he somehow found out about it and he gave me a shout out on his MySpace and we ended up having mutual friends from networking in Toronto. We exchanged Blackberry Messenger contacts and we became friends and started hanging out.
What sort of things are you doing while you're on tour with Drake?
He really just invited me to hang out but I have this big Canon [digital camera] and I want to practice my photography skills, so I took it upon myself to start taking behind the scenes photos-you know on the tour bus or in the green room or rehearsing performing.
Who would be the ultimate person for you to work with?
I'd like to step it up to Jay-Z, when it comes to artists and when it comes to entertainment I'd say someone like Oprah.
Why is Black History Month important to you?
It's important to me because obviously as Black Americans we came a long way. And for us to come from Africa and go all the way to America in such a, I'd say, painful way, I think it's good that we recognize all the people that fought for our freedom. It doesn't have to be something that's brought up just during one month but should be brought up during the whole year.
Who are other black professionals that you admire?
Well, the whole presidential thing in the United States. I'm not American, so it doesn't really affect me as an individual, but us as people I'm happy we have a black president. So I'd say barrack Obama is one of them.
How do you see yourself fitting into the continuum of black achievement?
Well, I'm hoping that one day I can become the Creative Director of a huge corporate company, whether it's in America or anywhere else in the world, Europe or Asia. I just want to really mark my territory in my field in a big corporate company.
What message would you want to get across to other young black women?
I'd say don't be limited to yourself, keep working hard don't let your race or your gender or your age, get in the way of anything. You know, I was young I was Black, well I am Black, [laughs] I'm a woman, and I still made it. I'm only 18 and I've accomplished a lot of stuff and it just proves that anything is possible. So don't let anyone bring you down. If someone says you can't do this because you're a female, use those words and show them that, "Yo check it out, I'm doing this and I'm going to make it." So really just be true to yourself. Don't ever stop working because the second that you fall asleep there's someone else that's working harder behind you to surpass you.
What's next for you?
I'm working on Cortez Bryant's website who is the CEO of Young Money, as well as the manager of Drake, Lil' Wayne and Lil' Twist. I'll be traveling a lot, with Drake you know like going to Grammy's. Whatever really comes.
It's so weird because a lot of the stuff that I do, like it was never really planned out, it sort of just happened. So I'm just preparing myself for whatever is next to come.
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