If you are looking for some funky, politically-explicit, and witty art, look no further. Allow me to introduce you to Devon Blow, the mastermind behind Purple Pineapple Co. She creates incredible art pieces, including enamel pins. I know we’ve all been looking for the perfect Selena Quintanilla pin for a while and let me tell you, she has it. Not only does she include Selena in her selection, she gives us the beloved Aaliyah, Sade, and even some Cardi B. You can see all of that in her Instagram account as well. She even incorporates mental health into her art and enamel pins.
Devon grew up in Los Angeles, California and went to a two-year college for writing. After she graduated, she went to work at a nine to five job in banking, but eventually left. Her next pursuit was the world of make-up, so she became a make-up artist. In fact, she was a make-up artist for eight years. This meant she was way up there within the beauty industry. So much so that she was part of a pro-team for a popular brand. However, she started realizing that the beauty industry was too negative, especially at the level she was in. At some point, the beauty industry even started making her bad and putting unnecessary pressure on her. That’s when she decided to leave and pursue a career that was laced with passion — a career that focused on her art.
Now, this is really just touching the surface on Devon. So, let’s find out more about her from this exclusive interview she gave BELatina.
Okay, let’s break the ice here. Tell me a little bit more about yourself?
All my life art has been important to me. At first, I was too shy to put my art out there. However, I will say that in the last few years, I started getting braver. I suppose I started getting more into my art when I started using it as a way to satisfy self-care for myself. This also helped me with my mental health. My art and creations served as a kind of an outlet for me.
Do you feel that your upbringing impacted enough to start your business?
Yes, definitely. I’m fortunate enough to have had supportive parents. My family has always been a huge support system for me. Whenever I decided to try out a new venture, they would tell me to go for it and I can appreciate that.
It’s so wonderful to hear that you’ve had support from your parents. I think it’s important to have any type of support whenever you’re doing anything. But tell me, what are some things that inspired you to get into creating your enamel pins and all your other art pieces?
One of the more important reasons I got into creating art is to promote mental health awareness and being able to create art that reflects positively on people of color — more specifically, black and brown people. These things hold a special part in my heart.
Another reason for taking the leap into art was due to colorism. Because of colorism, I decided to create black and brown art. Unfortunately, colorism is still prevalent in our present world and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to show the world that people with dark skin is also beautiful. I’ve also noticed that there is a lot of correlation between Afro-Latinas and the African-Americans and how they too can be divisive within their own communities. I feel that is such a waste of time. It just doesn’t make sense to fight racism within your own people. I just wanted to let everyone know that their skin is enough.
I saw that you wrote on one of your pieces “Anxiety = basura, Self-care = horchata.” I just want to say how much that resonated so much with me. Lord knows I’ve had too many horchatas in my lifetime in the name of self-care. I also realized that this another your pieces that shines light on mental health and I think that’s wonderful. So, I must ask: what advice do you have for our readers about mental health?
For me personally, it was getting professional help. It’s really important. This is especially depending on the state of your mental health. When I finally decided to go to a psychiatrist, I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. That diagnosis has helped me battle my own mental health because I understood that it’s a chemical imbalance that can be treated. I think getting help can help you cope with things better.
Yes, I agree with you. We must all take all the necessary measures to deal with our issues and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, there are some tough subjects that come through in your art. What helps keep you motivated to continue along with your art business?
I like working for myself! *laughs* It’s my hustle. It’s about being your own boss and I love that. But aside from that, I really just love making people happy. One of the biggest things that strike a chord with me is when I go to events and see the reaction from people when they see my art. I sometimes see them laughing or smiling at my art and the fact that I’m creating something that brings joy to someone means a lot to me.
It’s really nice to know that you get joy from what you do. I think that’s what it’s all about. I just want to know what you do on those days where you feel like you don’t have enough artistic juices running through your veins?
Honestly, I try to take breaks. Let me tell you, creative burnout is real. You feel like you’re blocked. At first, I used to think I wasn’t being productive enough. However, I learned to take that mindset out of myself. I decided to do what’s best for me in those moments. That means going out, being with friends, or whatever makes you disconnect for a while. After taking breaks my creative juices definitely come back. I just want to stress to people that there’s no need to feel guilty about taking breaks. You deserve them too.
Thank you for telling people they need breaks. I think sometimes there’s so much pressure from society that we forget to stop and enjoy our little moments. And thank goodness for your breaks because your creative juices are on point in your art. Now, I’ve noticed that many of your art pieces have some political background. Do you feel like the current political climate has influenced you?
It’s actually influenced me big time. It is really important to me to stand up for immigrants, indigenous people, POC, and any minority.
I’m a very political person but sometimes I have found myself trying to tone it down, but toning it down has become very difficult. Especially nowadays when it feels like they’re being attacked by the president. The way POC and minorities are sometimes treated in our nation do not reflect American values at all. So, I’ve decided to use the voice I have been able to create for myself and let people know that certain things are not okay. That’s why you see politically-charged art on my pages. It’s about empowering my people.
I must say that I admire how strong your art is. I do wonder, before giving us your art, did you have any artists that motivated you to take the leap towards art?
My brother influenced me a lot. Like me, he is also an artist. I originally struggled to express myself, but he’s always been open with his art. Maybe that helped me get out of my shell.
Also, Frida Kahlo. I almost didn’t want to mention her because she’s so mainstream at the moment, but she really was so dope. I loved how she was so proud and vocal, especially since this was something that didn’t happen often in her time period. I also admire her art a lot. It was very radical and progressive.
Another thing that I love about her is how she showcased culture and that’s something that influences me as well. I have two nieces who are half Cuban and half African-American, so I want them to see art that highlights their culture too. I just want to make sure they feel identified in art. At the end of the day, it is important for me to showcase the different types of complexions that can occur in any heritage.
Talking about dope women, what do the women featured in your art mean to you?
I just like depicting powerful women. A lot of them owned their own businesses and took control over their own careers. That’s big to me.
We definitely need you to continue making art. So, what can we expect from you in the coming years?
I’m hoping to just create as much as possible. I’m still trying to find my full voice, but I definitely want to expand. Also, right now I’m working on LA culture. It should be out in September, so stay on the lookout.
Thank you so much for today, Devon! Do you want to leave our readers with some inspiring words?
Always be true to yourself and be true to what you create. Don’t worry about what people might think. Just do what’s right for your art!
So, there you have it. A quick look into Devon Blow. She is not afraid to stand up for what’s right and honestly, we need more people like her. Now, go check her art out and treat yourselves! If you’re feeling generous, you can also send some pins my way.