I love interviewing Independent Artists and recently one of my talented grandchildren, Allie Gilbert, fashion designer and owner of LooniloliDesigns told me about a very talent artist and author that she became friends with.
Granny: My granddaughter raved about your art, Osman. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Osman Karriem: Thank you. Ever since I was five years old, I’ve always had an active imagination and before I could even talk I was drawing and marking things up things that I wasn’t supposed to mark up; drawing on things that I wasn’t supposed to draw on, but I guess my parents saw something in what I was doing and didn’t get upset.
I think the breakthrough came when I was watching a cartoon and, I think it was a Speed Racer cartoon. There was this car and I had to have it and nobody told me that I couldn’t make this things so I’m looking all over the house, and mind you, I’m only five or six at the time. I went searching for supplies in our cabinets, under the bed, inside my dad’s closets, looking for anything I could use to make this car and finally I came across some aluminum foil. As they say, the rest is history.
With my hands, I’m just squishing and squeezing, bending and twisting and after time it started to look more and more like the car. After that, I started making animals and soon I had the attention of the adults and the other kids and they were saying, “Wow, this is pretty good.”
I continued with my drawing and sculpturing until I became pretty popular as the kid who could make things out of aluminum foil. My artist side didn’t stop there and I got into music at a young age and finally film. When I was thirteen, I tried to do an ad campaign for Reynolds Aluminum Foil Company. I came up with the character, Sir Foil-a-Lot and made the horse from the logo they had which was a Knight and made a couple of other characters; wrote the script; made the jingle and I submitted it to the company.
Granny: That is so exciting. What happened?
Osman Karriem: They loved it and said that they never seen anything like this and that they would talk to some of their people. I got a few letters from them saying they would try to work something out, but after a year, the final letter said that they couldn’t do anything with this because it would be a breach of contract because they already had an advertising company. I was very disappointed.
Granny: How old were you when you were receiving these letters?
Osman Karriem: I think I was around twelve at the time and not knowing better, I submitted the actual sculptures. I didn’t take pictures and just thought you could trust people. After a while, I stopped doing sculptures and concentrated on my illustrations and a comic book that is the inspiration for the novel that I’m working on now.
I went to LA to pursue my acting, my film work and my music. I figured if I couldn’t make it in LA, I would forget it. I found a roommate and started Illuminations, the name for my aluminum foil business. I was also a freelance artist while I was out there. My girlfriend at the time, it was her birthday and I knew she liked the Ninja Turtles because they had just come out, so I sculptured my turtles and painted the turtles. Friends at work suggested that I try selling the sculptures on Venus Beach and I sold everything within minutes.
Granny: Where can I see the sculptures?
Osman Karriem: On Facebook.
Granny: These are amazing. I love the Michael Jackson and President Obama. I love that man. You even have the scene from 911.
Osman Karriem: I’ve done at lot of work for the NFL and for the Eagles Team. Check out my illustrations.
Marie Gilbert: These illustrations are amazing. Did you go to art school?
Osman Karriem: No, but I have a natural talent for art.
Granny: Tell me the name of your novel.
Osman Karriem: The God Wraith: Prophecy
Granny: What is the book about?
Osman Karriem: It’s an epic story about a prophecy about the person who is supposed to be God’s physical wraith incarnate. The story starts with an incident that happens in the fifteenth century where a woman was accused of witchcraft and she gives birth to a child that will determine the fate of the world. I wrote the novel in 2006, but I updated the book and gave it a new title.
Granny: Have you shown your art in a studio?
Osman Karriem: I returned back to the east coast when my brother died and I figured I would move my business here and promote it here. Right now, my sculptures have taken a back seat in order for me to focus on my writing, but I will return to the foil art. The revised book should be out within a few weeks.
Granny: If people want to buy your book, where can they find it?
Osman Karriem: They will be able to buy the book as an e-book on any popular platforms, but the hardcover will be out soon.
Granny: Maybe, I can do a review of your book when it comes out. Can people purchase your foil art from your Facebook page?
Osman Karriem: Yes, they can contact me there. I wanted to let you know that I am also involved in a web series called Beyond Desperation. Damon Darrell is the writer, producer and director of the series. I am the assistant director and I play the character Isaiah Turner.
Granny: Are you on YouTube?
Osman Karriem: Yes, I am.
Granny: I will make sure to share this with my readers.
Osman Karriem: Pull up episode thirteen and you can see me. Damon Darrell is a brilliant director.
Beyond Desperation, Episode 13
Granny: It was a pleasure speaking with you and I’ll have to thank my granddaughter, Allie, for introducing us. I will make sure to share your site with everyone and when you get your webpage updated, send it to me. You said you would also display your music on your website and I’ll be looking forward to checking it out. Thank you so much, Osman.
Osman Karriem: Thank you.