Lettering artist Chibia Ulinwa is promoting self-love in Target collaboration

Chibia Ulinwa was a part of Target’s Black History Month campaign

Chibia Ulinwa is a violinist, singer-songwriter, educator and lettering artist based in Portland, Oregon. Ulinwa creates energetic and vibrant, positive pieces to educate and amplify others. Lettering started off as a fun way to destress for Ulinwa and now has brought her many opportunities to design book dust jackets, notebook covers, sticker sheets and much more.

Ulinwa was one of the illustrators for the Target collection celebrating Black History Month, and brought her vision to life through several designs.

How did it feel to be a part of Target’s Black History Month campaign?

It’s incredibly surreal. The first time I saw it in the local store I completely gagged, that was just my natural response to being excited. It was surreal seeing my face on things, seeing things that I made on clothes that are nationwide. It was crazy because it was something I never thought would happen to me, so I feel blessed and honored.

How did you become a lettering artist and illustrator?

I don’t have a traditional story. I am actually a musician first. I’m a violinist and I’m also a music educator. I teach orchestra in public schools full time. I started just dabbling in lettering, and I recorded my journey on Instagram. It wasn’t the best journey at all but I committed to drawing every day and showing up every day. I started implementing the importance of mental health, empathy and self-love into my lettering and in my illustrations, and it took off from there in a very beautiful way that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for because I identified as a musician that did art on the side, and then eventually it became a part of my identity and something that I’ve claimed. It’s turning something that started out as just a hobby into a business, and that’s been something that was incredible. Now being in Target when I was just making silly little doodles every single day has been a beautiful journey for me. I feel really lucky and honored.

What do you want your work to do for people?

I think it allows people to recognize that they’re not alone, especially in times when we feel isolated, or we feel like our feelings are ugly, or that no one really cares. It’s nice to see that there is someone else that is also going through the same thing and it creates a sense of community and allows people to be vulnerable, and also share some of the things that they’re going through. It just makes it a little bit easier and that’s always the goal for me to ensure that whatever you’re feeling, and however you’re feeling is valid. That might be scary, but there are always going to be someone or people that feel the same things that you’re feeling. You’re not alone and there’s someone that cares about you, even if they’re miles away.

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