TalkingWithTami: Tell us about your company, MyJunkyTrunk™?
MyJunkyTrunk™ was actually birthed out of my childhood insecurities about my rather prominent “trunk”! Growing up, I was one of only a few African American students at my junior high and high school, so I stood out already, whether I wanted to or not. Whenever the school was missing basketballs, the guys would accuse me of “smuggling” them out of the gym underneath my sweatpants!!! It seemed as though I had become the butt of all of their jokes (no pun intended!). Years later, as an adult, I wondered how I could take something that I had such insecurity about for much of my life and turn it into something really positive. In other words…I wanted to use my “junky trunk powers” for good and not for evil! LOL!
I’ve been drawing since I was about 4 or 5 years old, and I can still remember my mom handing me a pencil and pad in church to keep me from squirming around. “Here….draw the ladies with the pretty hats,” she told me. Then one day in 2005, God gave me a gift that changed my life forever. He taught me how to paint. He then gave me the idea for MyJunkyTrunk. I would use my art, along with light-hearted Christian principles to encourage women. My tagline became, “Girl, it’s time you made peace with your butt!”™ and I would focus on self esteem, confidence, a positive body-image, a healthy lifestyle, and gratitude to God for His many gifts and blessings. This is more than just art to me….this is ministry, and it is what I was born to do.
TalkingWithTami: I love all your artwork; tell us about some of the girls?
The MyJunkyTrunk Girlz™ came about one day while I was looking at some photos of myself and recalling some of the silly names for a butt that I’ve heard both as a child and an adult. These images are of gorgeous, smart, sassy, and of course, insanely CURVY young women! They each have their own unique, funky style and are accompanied by a humorous, two-word title describing what she does or a character trait, followed by a funny name for a butt. They have their own inspirational messages to inspire the viewer/reader as well. Some of their names are Pretty Posterior (who believes that a beautiful inside is more important than just an attractive outside), Brainy Bottom (who loves to read- especially the Word of God- instead of constantly watching reality TV), Spoiled Stack (who values her body enough to wait for the wedding ring), and Weight Loss Wagon (who takes care of her “temple” by eating right and exercising regularly instead going on trendy diet after trendy diet).
To say the least, MyJunkyTrunk™ is definitely unconventional…..I mean, who shares the love of Jesus Christ using girls with big ‘ole booties? LOL!!! It’s all in good, tasteful fun, however, and it allows me to use my imagination and off-beat sense of humor to inspire, encourage, and empower women whether they are born with a “junky trunk”, they purchased one from a plastic surgeon, or they take it off at night, wash it in Woolite, and hang it on a clothesline to dry!
TalkingWithTami: I was so happy when you designed a Junky trunk after me, “Brainy Bottom”. Where does the inspiration come from?
Without a doubt, God gives me all of my inspiration. I’ll be sitting doing whatever, and suddenly He sends an idea for a new image and message to me. Because MyJunkyTrunk™ is ministry first, every painting starts with a message that I’d like to share. I’m always getting emails from women who have been touched by something that they’ve read, and what’s so exciting is that they are contacting me from many different parts of the world! You gotta love the internet, and it provides the perfect opportunity to shine light in a world that can oftentimes be very dark. MyJunkyTrunk™ is making an impact, and I’m very grateful and humbled to be able to do what I do!
TalkingWithTami: How long have you been an artist, why do you love it so much?
Again, I have been drawing since I was very, very young, but God taught me to paint just a few years ago. The way I look at it, I have ALWAYS been an artist, and I love it so much because art has no rules, no boundaries, and no limitations. When I’m creating, it makes me feel connected to my Father, the Creator. When I’m able to conceive something in my mind, and then witness it coming to life on the canvas, it’s such an awesome thing to experience!
TalkingWithTami: What steps are you taking to get your product out there?
I rely greatly on social networks like Twitter and Face book for exposure. I also believe that “word of mouth” is huge when it comes to getting your brand recognized. Art exhibits and juried shows are also very good venues to get your product noticed, and if you ever get the opportunity to be featured and interviewed by Talking with Tami for her amazing blog, consider yourself very blessed!!! LOL!
Unessalyn Sweet, Founder/Artist, MyJunkyTrunk™, LLC.
www.myjunkytrunk.etsy.com to view my art and inspiration!