Get to know the DC-based visual artist & illustrator + co-founder of the collective Girlaaa.
In a few words, who is Trap Bob aka Tenbeete Solomon?
I am an art obsessed, innovative artist and Gucci Mane stan.
How are you doing these days? What are you working on lately?
I’m just soaking everything in really, this year has been pretty crazy and I’m still processing all the amazing opportunities I’ve had. I’ve recently been working with Giphy on a project and made some artwork for a Ted Talk. I’m also trying to take time to get back into painting and learn some new animation skills.
If your art could speak, what would it say?
I think it would laugh and tell jokes, and have fun conversation with whoever is viewing. I love to use humor to bring lightness to different topics and things we all deal with in everyday life. I make art that’s colorful and bold and make you react right away, most likely with a laugh or smile.
What are the recurring themes in your work?
I’m very into hands, they help me relate with my audience and not alienate anyone, and they’re a great way to convey a message. I also am obsessed with outer space and aliens, so I like creating alien people, which also helps me relate with my audience. Here on Earth we may be different but in space we’re all the same.
Each year, Pabst Blue Ribbon give artists the opportunity to design their limited edition label with a National Art Can contest and you won their 2019 edition. Congrats! What are your thoughts on being one of the few women to have won this National Art Can contest?
It’s still so unbelievable, and I’m so proud to be one of few women to have won. Our representation is needed everywhere, but especially in art. I’m always striving to have my voice heard and a platform like this is life changing.
How does it feel to have your art featured on several million Pabst Blue Ribbon cans?
I cried when I saw the can in person! It looks even better than I could imagine and I get so excited seeing people enjoying it and tagging me on Instagram.
You cofounded GIRLAAA, a DC collective that supports creative women of color through multiple initiatives. Can you tell us a little bit more about this project and how it came to life?
GIRLAAA started as a party that provided a safe space for women of color and creative as creative director and displayed my work using different installations. We quickly evolved into an agency doing so much more than parties. We created an outlet and community for DC. We push to educate, engage, and uplift our creative community, and also provide resources and programming. We’ve grown fast, but our values haven’t changed, and we’re ready to spread our message nationwide.
Have you experienced challenges lately, if so, what were they related to?
It’s been challenging to find a balance between my own work and freelancing. I really enjoy freelancing because it provides me challenges and different projects, but I also want to make sure to spend time on my own work and learning new mediums and techniques. I’ve been focusing on meditation to help me stay focused on what I need to do, and trying out different schedules to see what works best for me. It’s a process but well worth it.
Any ongoing, or upcoming shows, or projects, that we can look forward to?
Coming up, I’ll be working with PBR on some cool stuff for Art Basel this year, and also a couple Murals in DC to celebrate my can design.
Trap Bob AKA Tenbeete Solomon is a DC-based visual artist and illustrator. She is the co-founder of Girlaaa, a DC collective that supports creative women of color. She has also just designed three giphy stickers for Elizabeth Warren’s nomination campaign and is working on a Giphy for Shia Labeouf’s new film “Honey Boy.”
She recently assisted on animation on Missy Elliot video for “Drip Demeanor.” She’s also created the look and feel of The Girls Who Code march for sisterhood, and currently has a sculpture piece in Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms show. Currently, her work is displayed on several million PBR cans, as she won the brand’s Art Can contest this year.