Sheleah “Sunchild” Parks always had art in her blood.
One of her earliest childhood memories is watching her father draw. By the time she was six-years-old, Parks was picking up her own pencil and paper to practice her artistry.
She further developed her skills at the magnet art program at Norland Middle School. Parks has never forgotten the importance of an art education. To pay it forward, the 20-year-old artist completed a large mural at North Dade Middle School this past December.
The colorful mural features three kids—African-American, Hispanic and Indian—who are all connected through colorful shapes and lines. In the center, there is a globe with the flags of various nationalities budding from it like a flower.
The idea for the piece came to hrt after one of her former teachers at Miami Carol City High School asked her to do a small paper mural for the teacher’s new classroom at North Dade Middle. When the principal at the school saw it, he asked Parks to do a larger one on a portable at the school.
“The inspiration for the mural came with incorporating the expression of unifying all people, no matter where we come from,” Parks said. “Also, the theme of the school involves an awareness of international relations, cultural heritage and unity.”
Parks, who is studying architecture at North Campus, juggled working on the mural, her job as a tattoo artist and her school work. The project took five months to complete. First, she sketched out the outline and then filled in the lines and colors. Parks even spent some days working on the project while it was raining.
Art is in everything Parks does. She has showcased her work and done live painting sessions at many local shows throughout Miami, including Art Basel events, Creative District 4 and VIVE 2k15.
Parks said she finds happiness in creating art, feeling it’s what she was created to do. She describes her art as “meditative,” reflecting the joy and beauty of life. Most of her creations are inspired by people such as musicians, artists and poets, along with her love for nature, which also helped her find her identity.
“The name ‘Sunchild’ came about due to being on the journey of finding myself and studying about my heritage,” Parks said. ”I feel as though the sun is the giver of life and we humans, are made of the same components as the sun, so I am a child of that essence.”
Parks, a spiritual person, hopes that others can connect with her art and be brought to a sense of peace, draw inspiration and be enlightened by it. Her main interest, she says, is to help the world be more eco-friendly to the environment while maintaining sustainable living.
“I plan to one day build a community and network of innovators who will help preserve nature and bring awareness to the issues that plague the planet through art of all forms,” Parks said.
To see more from Sunchild, visit www.artofsunchild.com