Rebekkah Williamson, The Graphic Artist Responsible For “New Phone, Who Dis” Talks Transition From Contemporary Art To Launching Her Own Streetwear Line
Miami born, Maryland raised Rebekkah Williamson broke into the art and closing design world and built on her experiences to become a self-made entrepreneur. 100 percent of her business is based on her success and ability to tap into her creativity to not only produce contemporary art but also launch two successful clothing brands. We recently sat down with Rebekkah aka “Hey Sweetz” to dive into her background to see just how she was able to make that breakthrough from the canvas to streetwear.
When did you decide you wanted to become an artist? And what about that experience made you want to make a career out of art?
I never really decided that I wanted to become an artist. I’ve always been creative and artistically driven my whole life I just switched paths from starting as wanting to be a fashion designer as a little girl, to dabbling in photography in high school, and throughout all of this I always knew how to draw and paint. I actually started painting when I was leaving an abusive relationship. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to and needed an outlet so I just started painting to relieve stress. Honestly I never thought it would become a career move, I just do it because it brings me peace. It’s a blessing to be able to do what you love and get paid for it at the same time.
Tell us about your technique/creative process. What inspires your work?
Honestly I don’t think I have a set technique or style yet. As an artist that takes time to develop and Im still figuring out who I am as a woman, which I feel like shows in my art. My art is constantly changing because its inspired by my life. Some days I’m happy and my art will be very bright and colorful. Other days are harder and you can definitely see it in my work.
Being a female artist, What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
Being a successful female in general is hard. I think the biggest challenge is when I act like a boss and demand the respect I deserve in a business profession, I’m considered a bitch. But if a man acts the way I act, he’s a Boss.
“I think my work has gotten more free over time. I’ve reached the point as an artist where I’m not here to explain my art. If you don’t like it thats fine, my goal is just to make people feel something. Good or bad.”
At what point did you decide to make clothing, and what made you make that transition?
I decided to do clothing I guess when I started with the “New Phone Who Dis?” dad hats. I mean as a kid up until high school I wanted to be a fashion designer. That was my dream but I was always told it would pay the bills so I put it on hold and got a real job. But the hats really just started because I wanted my own hat that nobody else had. So I hand stitched one and wore it around DC. The dad hats got really big, but I knew it wasn’t a forever thing. So I decided to take the money and create “Not For Everyone,” my streetwear line. It’s one thing to have a great product like the hat, it’s another to have a Brand. That was the goal.
Does living in the DMV area influence your work?
I don’t think living in the DMV influences my work honestly. I just design clothes that I want to wear, and for my 9 to 5 job I wear a full suit everyday. So when Im not working I want to be comfortable and cozy. Which is why not for everyone is a lot of comfortable, chill pieces.
How did you get yourself in the position where you are now and your work in the hands of certain celebrities? And how does it feel to see your work on your favorite celebrity?
I’d be a liar if I said my brand being on celebrities was luck. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that. I put in a lot of hardwork. I feel like if you work hard the right people will notice. Which is what happened. I just made calculated moves and gave away free hats not to celebrities, but the people who are around celebrities. Like photographers, barbers, DJs, etc. The people who usually don’t get the free shit. I showed them love, which made them show me love when the celebs were like “thats dope where do I get that?” Thats honestly how most of it happened, just making sure the right people notice your work. Seeing my work on celebs just reassures me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I was homeless sleeping in my car a month before I started the dad hat thing, 5 months later Chris Brown is wearing my hat. Anything is possible if you work for it.
When you’re not creating, what do you enjoy doing?
When Im not creating or working I like to spend time with my son Alexander. I work way too much being a single mother so my time with him is already limited that I try to spend as much free time as I can with him. Kids are fun, he’s one of my biggest inspirations he helps me paint too.
What’s your best piece of advice for anybody coming up in the art world right now?
My best piece of advice hmmm… Be you. Literally just be you.
So what’s coming next for Rebekkah?
Haha I can’t tell you guys my next move. Just know I’m always working. Quietly winning.