A native of Asheville, NC and now residing in Charlotte, Aja Cobbs is an artist who has successfully taken her passion for painting and has created a dope interactive event called, The Art Trap House. TATH began in Charlotte with the help of a few friends and since then Aja has taken it to Asheville, Washington D.C. and the next stop is Philly. She recently even had the opportunity to meet the OG, Cam’ron and pass over a custom Dipset jacket she made for him. This lady is literally going places and below we touch on her environment growing up, starting The Art Trap House, how she brings positivity to the term “trap” and more.
ToD: Where did your passion for painting begin?
Aja: I have been painting all of my life honestly. I grew up in a house with art because my mother was a painter. I would watch her do portraits of people; she can do anything really. She is very artistic and has played a huge part in my art career. I began to take painting seriously in 2013.
ToD: What inspired you to create The Art Trap House?
Aja: My inspiration for TATH curated as me being an artist relocating to a new city and wanting to pursue a career in art somehow. Since I didn’t know anyone it was hard for me to connect in person so I took to Instagram to network, promote and sell my artwork. From that, I got asked to do a few shows in the Charlotte area. I only had my work in five shows prior, all of which were local and one in Atlanta that inspired me the most. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for young African-Americans or people of color to present their work, learn how to network and help them to become a boss. My goal is to create a dope art show with local artists in different cities across America, while delivering the message of growth, unity and empowerment for our culture.
ToD: What was the first ATH like and what plans do you have for 2017?
Aja: The first show was in July 2016 and I joined up with my friends Devonne, Ashley and Sam to put it together. TATH at that time was very new and no one had heard about it. With the use of social media we were able to get the word out and that’s actually been my best show! My plans for 2017 are really big. I’m planning a Trap House in London for the summer and will continue to tour America as well.
ToD: How will you use TATH to give back to the community?
Aja: The Art Trap House is all about giving back and making a change. Music, poetry, dance and art have played a role in African-American culture for thousands of years to help deliver messages and heal people. I love to reach out to those who may be less fortunate but have an amazing talent and yearn to change. I also participate in volunteer community work such as feeding the homeless.
ToD: Do you feel like you are taking away a negative connotation that is linked with the term “trap”?
Aja: It’s a possibility that people do take it in a negative way but they shouldn’t. That’s what being creative is all about. It’s a play on words. To me, everyone traps (or hustles) to get their money-mine just so happens to be art that I sell from my home.
ToD: How can visual artists be a voice in our society and stand up for our community and issues?
Aja: The world today is very visual-all we look at is pictures. Visual artists can stand up by showing the people what is real and what is right! Once we start feeding more of that into the world we live in, we could all be a lot better.
ToD: Beyond throwing your event in venues, what would your very own Art Trap House look like?
Aja: An amazing collection of other people’s art work. I would make it a gallery!
ToD: Any advice for anyone wanting to throw their own art event?
Aja: If you are interested in throwing your own art show, make sure you have a plan in action, stay organized, ask for help and so much more. The biggest thing is to not give up. Make it happen!
Follow Aja Cobbs on Instagram.