I first met KWEEN of Urban Kween Collekshun Jewelry in the summer of 2009 at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown African American Heritage Festival. I was supposed to have gone back to DC that weekend, but luckily for me, my friend Syene (the controversial A&T SGA President lol) convinced me to stay an extra day to check out the festival. Each day Kween is motivated by the environment around her, “those [things] that possess mass and matter, realistic and unconventional"
Kween has saved me on many occasions, she’s taught jewelry workshops for the Atelier Around the World Youth Program, she recruited artists for the 1st 25under25 at the gallery, she made door prizes for THE WRAP UP. She is just a breathe of fresh air always joyous and happy to be around! She loves what she does, and she loves helping other people!
The other day, I sat day with the lady behind UKC Jewelry to see why she thinks there is so much heART in Greensboro.
How long have you lived in Greensboro and what initially brought you here?
I initially moved to Greensboro in October of 2008 after starting my Masters Program for Art Therapy Psychology. Soon after I started, I was proposed to, and quit Grad School and moved never having been to NC ever before. It was well worth the risk!
Why did you decide to stay in Greensboro, as opposed to moving to a larger city, with a more prominent art scene?
I am born and raised a “city-girl” always living my life fast paced and on the go within the art scene. I basically ate, slept and taught art on a daily basis. When I made the choice to move to Greensboro and made it my birthplace for my company Urban Kween Collekshun Jewelry, I never thought the overnight support be come so quick.
If you can remember, what was the first thing you did when you got to Greensboro?
When I first got to Greensboro, I taught myself to drive with my Iphone on my dashboard gps-ing the Four Seasons Mall followed by applying for job at Wet Seal Clothing and got it. I definitely had to learn my way around quickly and the first place I found was the mall; every girls dream.
What is one thing that you can do in Greensboro, that you cannot do anywhere else?
In Greensboro, I can bring so much of what I know as an established artist to the public that hasn’t experienced what Greensboro has to offer artistically as well as making my mark in such a cultured town. As the art-circuit grows in Greensboro, being as small as it is, I continue to see the same amazing faces who are uplifting what Greensboro really needs to be a respectable art inclined city. I wouldn’t want to do what I do anywhere else being that Greensboro had a chance to experience who I am as well as myself experiencing Greensboro.
Where did the idea of Urban Kween Collekshun come?
The moniker “Kween” (myself) was given to me by a fellow poet in 2005 after I “spit” a spokenword piece titled “Katrina, Katrina” after the destructive hurricane in New Orleans. After that piece was broadcast on college radio, the name stuck and I have been known as Kween since that remarkable time. The “urban" concept for myself, is a way of living, a daily struggle with a story to tell but not allowing it to get the best of your inner strength. It also is about making the best of what you have and producing a positive outcome whether it be through art or another vessel of self expression. This ideology also reflects the spelling of certain titles within my company i.e. "collekshun" and "kween” (queen).
The orange peel earrings! I love them.Your Found Objects collection uses regular everyday materials that are no longer usable in their traditional form. What made you say, “I can create something from an object that most people considered used and obsolete?”
In that statement, I was basically referring to people limiting their creativity to just something found in an art store which also carries 50% or more of recycled items in raw form that can be locally found such as seashells or old costume jewelry. As an artist, and placing so much effort in recycling and in the Found Objects Project, nothing that I put my hands on is safe from recreation such as the orange peel earrings. We as inhabitants of earth have to learn to clean up our home and place creativity and new ideas within old things.
Outside of creating jewelry, what else can you be found doing?
Outside of jewelry, I have recently taught myself to crochet which is a task within itself, but I have started a Knit Collekshun. I am also a photographer specializing in perspective and filling the frame with adhering to the aesthetics of self. I am a painter whom focuses on cubist theory and abstract design working with bold lines and color palettes. I love gardening and interior design as well
What do you want to be remembered for? What is Kween’s legacy?
I want to be remembered initially as an ARTIST more than any other title that could ever exist. Art has performed a healing within me, allowing me to be able to rise to the occasion of creating for those who love what I do. I create for the people, to instill vibrancy and self-esteem in women, little girls, and men across the world. I want to be remembered as the instructor that a child can spot 100 feet away knowing that "Ms. Kween taught me to make a denim scarf out of out jeans.” I want to be remembered for the jewelry designer who has given plenty of jewelry away at her own expense for countless events in Greensboro and even given it off her body. I want to simply possess the legacy of a girl who came to Greensboro who grew into a successful business woman with the support of the community and most of all, will-power, strength and love for what she does. I simply want to be remembered for being Kween Lee Moore.
Visit Kween online at www.ukcjewelry.com