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Jamilla Okubo – Local Artist in Action

Born and raised in Washington D.C, artist Jamilla Okubo credits the city for shaping both her creative identity and informing her work today. A multidisciplinary artist, Jamilla’s creates pieces across collage, painting, design, and textiles, all with a consistent theme of addressing her multi-national identity, and her experience growing up as a Black woman in D.C.

Jamilla’s D.C. roots and influences, alongside her use of bold colors, vibrant patterns, and eye-catching silhouettes, were what drew us to select her as our next Local Artist in Action for Common Clifton. Members at our latest D.C. home will get to enjoy two of her prints, ‘‘I only get one call, who the fuck do I call?’ and ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way #2” in their home.

Read our interview with Jamilla below, and check out her Instagram to stay up to date on her latest projects.

Get to know Jamilla Okubo

First things first, introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Jamilla Okubo and I am a mixed media artist, illustrator, and surface pattern designer based in Washington, D.C.

How does living in D.C. inspire or inform your work?

My experiences growing up in D.C. really inform and inspire my work because I’ve always been interested in capturing the culture, archiving expressions, and my lived experiences as a black woman who grew up in D.C., formerly known as Chocolate City.

Also, I was lucky enough to be brought up within the arts community of D.C. and that really inspired me to pursue the arts as a career.

What’s the one place every new D.C. resident needs to visit?

The Anacostia Community Museum. I think it’s really important to educate yourself on the history and culture of any new place that you move to.

“I think it’s really important to educate yourself on the history and culture of any new place that you move to.”

D.C’s best kept secret is: __________

For me that’s a tough decision between Maydan and Bad Saint (restaurants)

Can you tell us more about the prints featured at Common Clifton? What was the inspiration behind them?

‘I only get one call, who the fuck do I call?’ was inspired by Erykah Badu’s song “I been going thru it all”. I wanted to create a painting that embodied the mood of that song, and how you can always count on your girlfriends to call when you’re going through something. “When There’s A Will, There’s a Way #2”was inspired by the Cherry Blossoms festival.

What advice do you have for someone who’s new to living in D.C.?

Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures that make D.C. Explore U street/Shaw area, Little Ethiopia, Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights, and Chinatown.

“Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures that make D.C.”

What does your dream apartment look like?

Having natural sunlight, windows, and plants is a must. Minimalist decor with a pop of color accents and a lot of art on the walls. My dream apartment would definitely be furnished with pieces made from local/small businesses. And most importantly a spacious kitchen for me to cook in and host potlucks with my friends.

What’s your favorite place?

Calabash Tea & Tonic! Located in the Shaw neighborhood.

Explore Common Clifton

Jamilla’s work is featured in Common Clifton, a gorgeous coliving home in the heart of D.C. Members at Common Clifton get a private bedroom in a fully furnished shared space, all the household essentials, WiFi, utilities, and access to incredible amenities like a rooftop and gym. Want to see more of Common Clifton? Head to our website to explore virtually, or book a tour today!

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