October 26, 2022
Shop MCA Denver 2022 Call for Artists Winner: Meet S. Monèt
Every year, we put out a call for artists to design an exclusive and limited edition MCA Denver branded t-shirt. Our mission with this project is to create opportunities for local and underrepresented artists in our community, establishing a new vision for our branded apparel that is more inclusive, accessible, and community-centric. And every year, we literally and figuratively jump out of our chairs with excitement over all the incredible submissions the call generates. This year is no different!
The 2022 winner is S. Monét! Shakerra Monét is a “contemporary artist based out of Denver, but a St. Louis native. As an artist, Monét creates colorful and expressive portraits. Monét wants her work to capture the essence of body positivity, representation of the LGBTQIA+ community, and most of all, highlight Black and Brown communities.”
We caught up with S. Monèt over email to learn more about her practice, this year’s winning design, and her hope for the Denver art scene.
Hey S. Monèt! We are beyond excited that your design is the winner of this year’s MCA Denver Call for Artists t-shirt collaboration! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative practice?
Hi, so my name is Shakerra Monét and I go by S.Monét. I am a contemporary artist from St. Louis, but based in Denver.
All I have ever known was art and it always came naturally. As a fashion design and merchandising graduate, fashion illustration was my first introduction to me wanting to take art seriously. It wasn’t until my senior year that I was strongly encouraged to pick up the skill of learning digital illustration. So, over the next decade, I have perfected the craft of digital artistry.
I have explored different types of mediums that express how I feel. Now I use many different things, such as paint, oil pastels, and, of course, digital art. I gain inspiration from many things. I really like to focus on highlighting Black and Brown bodies and faces. Black and Brown skin is very multi-facetted and I showcase that by using many colors.
Your t-shirt design is seriously so, so cool. We want to wear it everyday. Can you tell us more about how you came up with the design for the t-shirt?
Thank you so much!! Yes, the design is inspired by the saying “Know Your Roots,” which is on a shirt that I purchased during Junetheenth in L.A. from this shop called Nice Plant.
As a Black Contemporary Artist, I like to display my culture because that is my way of being self-aware of my “roots.” So I highlight things that are normally deemed as not “acceptable” outside of the Black community, such as the exposure of the grill. I added the flowers to show the softness that we as individuals are not able to display because we are viewed as hardened and often are not given room to have emotion. I wanted the flowers to come out of the body to signify that we are “rooted” in beauty + softness.
I am from St. Louis, MO, specifically North County. I was a new college graduate returning home when I witnessed my neighborhood in turmoil over the killing of Mike Brown. The movement of Black Lives Matter was born during that time. I remember the energy and the feeling of expressing BLM, so I wanted to incorporate that in my design. I have lived in Denver for 6 years and understand the importance of Five Points to the community. I wanted to make sure I mentioned Five Points because it is very much Denver and I want anyone who wears my shirt to know it is here and holds so much weight for the city of Denver.
The overall layout of the image in general is on brand for my entire personality and aesthetic, from the swirl detail on the head and how the flowers flow through the image.
Our mission with this project is to establish a new vision for our branded apparel that is more inclusive, accessible, and community-centric. What role does the community play for you in both your creative pursuits and personal life?
The community plays a role, indirectly + directly, by providing inspiration, motivation and support.
Especially the Black community because it is not big in Denver, but we are all making big moves and waves. Being a part of a community like that gives you another level of drive that I cannot explain.
How have you evolved as an artist in the last few years—years that have been incredibly challenging?
As an artist, I try to find new ways of how to express the thoughts in my head. For a long time, I thought I was going to digital art and digital art only. But now, I am finding a new love of expressing my work through painting portraits with oil paint. I never would have thought in a million years that I would be painting murals + canvas outside of my ipad, but here we are.
However, my art will always, in some form, reflect my love of black and brown bodies and faces.
What is your hope for the Denver art scene? What is giving you hope in general right now?
My hope for the Denver art scene is to have more Black artists, specifically women + nonbinary, to have a larger platform. There are so many of us that get overlooked and we need more representation.
We seriously wish we could pick more than one winning design! Thank you to all those that submitted. And thank you for letting us share and celebrate your designs below!