Believe. Faith. Love.
Bold, white letters stand out against a dark wood panel. These words define the way 24-year-old Aisja Robinson, graphic design major, lives her life. Confident in her purpose on this Earth and faith in God’s plans for her, Aisja is pursuing her dream of being a professional graphic designer.
Currently self-isolating in her home in Compton with her mother, stepfather and younger sister, due to the coronavirus, Aisja follows a daily routine to keep herself focused on her business and creative goals.
Out of bed by 8 a.m, Aisja skims through YouTube videos while enjoying a veggie omelette with a side of fruit and a cup of green tea, a must have in the morning. She then goes to her room to begin her work day. Sitting at her desk, Aisja pushes her long dark braids away from her face, causing her gold hoop earrings to bounce against her cheek. Her pink acrylic nails slide across the mouse pad of her PC as she works on her latest commission.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic cost Aisja her sales associate job at Nordstrom Rack in Redondo Beach, her freelance graphic design business, iAm Creates, keeps her busy designing logos, business cards and marketing videos for small businesses. Aisja is also using her time at home to begin launching her second business, A. Monet Designs, which specializes in designing graphic T-shirts.
One of Aisja’s goals for A. Monet Designs is to open an online store and expand it in the next two to three years into a boutique.
Though a career in the arts makes some parents nervous, Aisja’s mother, known as C Key, is happy her daughter has found something she loves.
“It brings me great joy to see her excitement and watch her flourish,” C Key says.
Simple beauty, enhanced with bright pastel colors, play a large part in Aisja’s work. She uses the graphic design program, Canva, to create a colorful aesthetic that will clearly convey her artistic vision. Aisja’s artistic style clearly reflects the light and joy she emits in her personal life.
Starting off designing logos for her mother’s jewelry business, C Key Beauty, Aisja was able to expand her skill set and grow creatively. Though she enjoyed the creative side, it wasn’t until her uncle, Russell Robinson, a professional graphic designer, saw her working on a book cover for her pastor that he encouraged her to design professionally.
Balancing school and two budding businesses is not easy, but Aisja’s optimistic and cheerful personality keeps her going and shines through for others to see. Joyce Dallal, digital arts fundamental professor at El Camino College, recalls Aisja as “bright, lovely, and fun,” when she was in her Tuesday and Thursday morning classes.
Though Aisja has no problem promoting herself, the guarantee of paid work is a familiar struggle for many artists.
“I worry about students being exploited…by clients who are trying to get professional level work for little money,” Dallal says.
Finding clients willing to pay what the artist is worth is a common problem many artists face. According to the entrepreneurial website, Business 2 Community, beginning designers can charge anywhere between $65 and $150 per hour. But faced with clients who repeatedly ask for professional work for little to no money, Aisja has had to lower her rates well below minimum wage standards, sometimes to a flat fee of $50, just to get many of her jobs.
Now that she has gained more confidence as a professional designer Aisja is firm in her prices. People need to “understand the value of people’s art,” Aisja says.
While, at the moment, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel for many people, Aisja’s passion for what she does shines through in her life and her work. Seeing the creative potential in everyone, Aisja hopes to encourage others to share their gifts with the world.
“God gave you a gift. Don’t sit on it,” Aisja says.