We recently chatted with the creative and encouraging Brianna about everything from the teachers that inspired her in elementary school to wanting to become an English teacher and author in the future. As a sixteen year old arts advocate who focuses on writing and graphic design, Brianna has founded her own global art organization and magazine, @thecleverlycreatives, that allows youth to share their artistic work and seeks to continue giving back to the next generation of students.
Thank you for reaching out, Brianna! As someone who has founded a global art organization, The Cleverly Creatives, did your own passion for writing or graphic designing come first?
Writing is the passion that came first and fun fact, it’s the first passion of mine from anything! I found my love for creative writing when I was just five years old. Little me was just so fascinated with picture books and how it tells a story just through words and pages. I would go to the art station just to create my own picture books, even though it was just a sentence for each page with badly-drawn photos. As the years go by, I’ve grown from small picture books to writing full-length short stories. My interest in genres changed but the genre I’ve always adored writing was fantasy since I love the way I could just create different worlds that are impossible to happen in real life. When I was in the sixth grade, I grew to love poetry and the way I could express myself creatively through it. My love for graphic designing came in just two years ago in my graphic designing class and I’ve loved it ever since as I continue to grow in that field.
When did you start seeing a need for more accessibility in the art space?
It started when I noticed a newsletter was released from my school more than a year ago during virtual learning, showcasing the sciences and culinary. I reached out, wondering if they have one for the arts (as I’m in the art academy) and if there’s a way that we could publish our art creatively. The answer I received stated that it was on pause due to the pandemic. I was a bit surprised by this answer, especially when there are so many art students in the school even if they weren’t in the art academy. With that, I decided to propose the return of the literary magazine club, however, I was too late to start it as it was the middle of the year and I had to wait for the following year. I decided that I didn’t want to wait so I took initiative into my own hands. If one high school had to pause their own creative outlet for their students to share with their peers, then how many others had to do the same? How many other schools just didn’t have any of that at all? The majority of publication sites don’t always accept every art and writing piece that has been submitted. With that, The Cleverly Creatives was born! To be able to let any youth around the world submit their art/writing, no matter what level or experience they have. They deserve to have their creative pieces exposed to the world to admire and be inspired.
Through The Cleverly Creatives, you share resources, opportunities and events for artists to share their creative work and have even begun a magazine, The Cleverly Collective. You are also the editor in chief for your school’s literary magazine. How do you balance schoolwork and organizational work?
The way I balance schoolwork and organizational work is by following a schedule every day. Each timestamp or hour has its own focus. For example, 1 PM - 3 PM is focused on The Cleverly Creatives work while 5 PM - 7 PM is focusing on Student Council work, and so on and so forth. Not only does this let me have a balance between the two, but it also lets me balance my own hobbies such as writing and crocheting. Another way is completing work as soon as I’m given it. I don’t push it to the side, I get straight to work on it or add it to my to-do list. It does help a ton as it gives me extra time for other work or time for just relaxing as well!
Do you plan to make arts advocacy a part of your career?
I plan on including arts advocacy as a part of my career. I want to be an English teacher, as well as an author. These two career paths hold such importance as they are used to impact youths' lives in either the education aspect or creative aspect. As a teacher, I want to encourage creativity not only in classes but in the school as a whole. To open opportunities for students to share their creativity or think outside of the box. Now as an author, no matter what level of “fame” or “well-known” I have, I will use my writing to hopefully be a form of inspiration for students to do the same. Just like how many authors have done for me. I do want to write a book on tips and advice on writing + poetry as a whole, to help others with being inspired.
Who are your personal icons?
In terms of gaining a love for creative writing and wanting to inspire others, I’d say my third-grade and fifth-grade teacher. My third-grade teacher made everything in terms of learning and creating a fun experience. Whether it’d be hand-made projects or creating a book to read to second-graders, she made the entire year an impactful memory. She encouraged creativity and encouraged learning to be fun and it inspired little me to potentially get into the education field as a career. My fifth-grade teacher increased my love for creative writing. During those few years, I lost my love for writing due to writer’s block. However, my fifth-grade teacher came up with plenty of creative writing assignments that pushed me to my fullest potential. She helped me with improving my writing as well as giving me pointers on ways I could make my stories interesting not only for the readers but for myself. Through that specific school year, I began writing even more and all it did was grow on from there.
What type of writing do you most enjoy?
I enjoy doing all types of writing but my favorite is fiction-writing. I like to do genres that touch upon romance, mystery, fantasy, and dystopia. Creating worlds, characters, personalities and storylines is my favorite part of it all. It feels like I’m taking a picture or a movie in my head and transporting it through written work and trying to make it all real. It could be complex stories or simple ones and the end product always makes me filled with joy. Seeing that all that work was definitely worth it and it exceeded my expectations.
Have you ever encountered people who value the arts and humanities less than STEM? What would you say to them?
What’s interesting enough, I haven’t encountered people who value the arts less than STEM. Everyone that I’ve met or bumped into gives the two fields an equal amount of respect. Both of them are incredibly useful for our world and I do consider STEM as an art form as it does revolve with creating and imagination. If I ever do encounter someone like that, I would simply say that the arts and humanities hold the same importance as STEM. Without the arts, the world would just be colorless. We need imagination, we need creativity, and we need art to give life all the colors it needs. To have people express themselves in a way that they could be proud of and a way that others can be inspired to do the same.
I’d love to thank you for sharing! Was there anything else you’d like to share or promote before we wrap up?
One last thing I’d like to say is that creativity is honestly the best thing that ever exists. Baffles me that amazing things can be made by so many people just because of what comes from their imagination. No matter the art form, creativity truly is important and essential in our lives, just like how it became for me. Even through dark or good times, creating and expressing myself is what keeps me happy. I know for sure expressing oneself makes so many people happy as well.