“Post your work no matter how many likes you get.”
Written by Don.
Being from Chicago is being from one of the greatest cities in the world. The creativity that this city harnesses is unmatched. Unfortunately, many people perfect their craft and then leave the city, not realizing how much this city truly has to offer. I got to sit down and talk with the beautiful and talented Armani, the creator of Armni Media and owner of AM Studio who’s trying to give local artists a space to grow and create while staying in Chicago.
Who is Mahni?
Armani: I am Armani, I’m 22. I like to call myself a creative, it just really has a real meaning to it because I do all kinds of things. My favorite thing to say is “I’m all over the place” because I really am all over the place, I get a new idea everyday. I’m pretty chill laid back. I do have an attitude problem, but that’s only if something doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t make sense I get really irritated. If my boyfriend was here he would be like “yeah”.
What kind of influence does Chicago have on you or your art?
Armani: I grew up Downtown in the South Loop. I went to South Loop Elementary (shoutout to all them). Chicago the place doesn’t necessarily inspire me. I get inspiration from what I see outside. All the buildings inspire me, I used to be really into interior design I was really really messing with the architecture in the city. As far as my art these days what inspires me is bold designs. I’m very minimal, and I think you get that from Chicago a little. This is a little weird but, Target ads inspire me, they’re really bold but at the end of the day it’s still just white.
What do you do?
Armani: Well, I say we because Armni Media is me and my friends, but for the most part it’s me. We started a year ago in May. I do photography, videography, graphic design, really anything you can think of that’s creative. I mostly work with entrepreneurs so I’m usually making logos, doing business cards, making websites, ads they can put on Instagram, business cards and if I’m not doing that I’m shooting a birthday party or a music video or I’m in the studio. We also just added the music component to our studio so now artists can come in and record. Armni Media is really a one stop shop.
Out of all the things you do which is your favorite thing and you feel you could pursue long-term if everything else doesn’t work?
Armani: Ok well see, I have a plan for AM, I need 7 sources of income in my life and I’m doing at least 4 different categories with AM. I want to keep doing this until it gets off its feet and then I’m gonna go do other things I’ve always wanted to do. I always joke around and say when I turn 50 I’m gonna become a homicide detective, because I feel like at 50 I’m gonna be done doing this. I feel like Armni Media is a money maker, somebody is always gonna need something whether it be pictures, or videos, or recording a song. I don’t think it’s going to fail. But, when I get tired of this like I said I might be a homicide detective or open a bakery. I don’t think it’s gonna stop anytime soon, I don’t think it’s gonna stop here. Even if I stop personally coming here I plan on building Armni Media up with people who will continue to work for me.
Are there any people who you have been inspired by?
Armani: I’m inspired by my friends. My best friend Davey Hines inspires me. He’s really good at drawing people or like anything that’s real and I’m always like “I gotta get like you Dave”. I had a friend named Troi back in highschool she was more into photography at the moment so I can definitely say back then she inspired me. My dad also inspires me, he owns a record label (Chine Music), and I’ve lived with him my whole life. That’s why I really wanted to do interior design. He’s in a wheelchair and we always wanted a house but houses aren’t accommodating for people in wheelchairs so we always had to live in a condo. There’s nothing wrong with condos or apartments but I know there are people who are disabled who want to live comfortably so I would like to be able to make houses that are accommodating for them. I also get a lot of my inspiration from music honestly. I really like driving so I’ll go get in the car and listen to music. I listen to old Kanye, that’s Chicago. I listen to Late Registration, sometimes College Dropout, but mostly Late Registration because I can really relate to some of those songs.
Were there any setbacks you faced that either derailed you from your art or made you push harder to get where you’re going?
Armani: Oh my god, everyday man. Running a versatile business I run into a lot of different people. It really is the people that make me think like “do I really want to keep doing this?” Do not come to me if you don’t have that money or that idea! That’s the thing that’s really hard about being an entrepreneur, especially an artist because people don’t really want to pay you for your work because you’re not like a big company. It’s really discouraging because it’s like when am I gonna run into people who have some money? People who don’t understand professionalism kill me. Once every blue moon I do get those people that are like money is no issue, and it’s a smooth process. At one point I found myself lowering my prices and I was barely getting my bills paid and then I had to think about who my audience was. It was taking a toll on me, I started Armni Media in May and by November I was like “I don’t know if this is gonna work, do I really wanna do this?”
Do you have any goals, any specific people you wish to work with etc.?
Armani: My goal is to eventually turn this studio into a storefront so you can really come in to “one stop shop”. Outside of Armni Media, as far as my goals with Starmni (my personal business) I kinda wanna be like Vashtie but better than Vashtie because I do more stuff than Vashtie. A better Vashtie, because I’m Armani.
How do you incorporate your own style into your work?
Armani: As far as graphic design goes when people come to me with their ideas I kind of just make it mine. Like if a customer comes in with “oh I need a logo, I want it to be a girl” I go with what the customer says but I just make it mine. I give it a lil’ sauce.
When you first started off did you see yourself having so many business ventures?
Armani: I thought it was just going to be photography. But, one or two months in I was broke. I watched Youtube and taught myself how to do photoshop and stuff like that. I definitely didn’t expect it to be like this. I want to be able to take people under my wing. It’s always new artists coming up so I feel like Armni Media will grow because people always need something.
Who are some people that you have worked with?
Armani: I worked with Bump J, Saint Millie, Neno Calvin (he’s signed to Cash Money), I did Queen Key’s third mixtape cover, worked with a restaurant called Surf’s Up, and my dad’s record label.
If you could give some advice to people thinking about pursuing a career in art, what would it be?
Armani: My advice would be post it. A lot of people I talk to are always worried about posting their work. Post your work no matter how many likes you get. Make sure you hashtag it so that people who are actually looking for it will find it. Don’t ever lower your prices, if you feel like someone needs to give you $300 for your painting then be set on that. I guess all together just “fuck people” the people who like your selfies, all that will stop once you post your work. Also, don’t give your friends a discount, even if they don’t ask for it don’t feel obligated to lower prices because you know them.
Any last things you want to say to your supporters?
Armani: I’ll just say be on the lookout because you know I got big plans. Whether it be for AM or one of my other businesses just be on the lookout. My latest business venture is actually going to be stickers. They’re gonna be called “Pretty Bitch Stickers” and you can buy a whole pack of pretty bitches to decorate your laptop or anything with!
Be sure to visit Armani’s website to see more of her work as well as book her if you’re interested in her talents! Below is a small list of her contact information and studio location. We hope you enjoyed!
Stop by AM Studio:
345 North Loomis #504
Check out Armni Media’s work: